So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you, as the Father has sent me, I also send you." John 20:10
This week my friend, Brad Singleton, or as some of you know him, Brad Lee Saint, took his own life. I don’t have answers as to why. But I do know he was loved, and he will be missed. You see, Brad was a very special young man who underwent hardship like many of us never endure. And the Brad I knew was always positive. He had a huge heart and always wanted to encourage others.
The other thing I know about Brad is he loved Jesus. How do I know? I was with him the night he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. And last night it was like God replayed that evening in my mind. We were at a youth event at a church in Stuart, maybe the Methodist church on Kanner Highway. The speaker (sorry I can't remember his name) talked about the story in Numbers where venomous snakes were everywhere biting the Israelites and killing them. The people were terrified. Moses prayed to the Lord who told him, “Make a snake and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.”
The speaker continued that he was sure there were those who doubted that looking up at the snake on the pole could heal them. Others would be telling them, begging them, please go to the pole. He said if his family had been bitten, he would do whatever he could to get his family to the pole so they could live. He would beg them, carry them, and hold them up to see the pole. But, in the end, they had to open their eyes and look up.
He went on to say, in the same way, the Israelites were dying from venomous snakes, we are also snake bitten. And the poisonous venom, which is sin, is running through our veins. The only way we can live is to make our way to the cross, look up, and believe. Others may beg us to believe but we have to make the decision for ourselves. Then he asked, “Will you believe? Will you believe that Jesus Christ bore your sins on the cross? Will you believe that He rose from the dead?”
And Brad said, "I believe." And not only did Brad say I believe, he jumped up and down, crying I believe. And I could see this transformation happening in him right before my eyes. Then we both cried. And we talked about Jesus and what it meant to be a follower of Christ for a really long time.
So, what do I do with all of this? I have so many questions. How do I deal with the conflict between Christianity and suicide? How can I tell if someone is at the point of suicide? How do I deal with the pain? I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t have a clue.
With that said, I do know that to get to the point of suicide someone has to be in a deep depression. I’ve struggled with depression before and know what it’s like. It’s like being in a hole and you can’t find your way out. You want to talk to someone, but you don’t know how. And you are afraid if you start to talk you will fall apart and lose control. Do you know that according to the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 people die to suicide every year? That’s one person every 40 seconds. Do you know that for approximately every adult who dies by suicide, there are more than 20 others attempting suicide?
All I can do with all of this is lay it at the feet of Jesus. And ask Him to ease the pain for me, for Brad’s family, and his friends. And thank Him that I know that Brad is with Him. And please, if you are struggling with depression, if you have thoughts of suicide running through your head, call someone. Call me. Ask for help. Know that there are people out there that love you and care about you. You are not alone.