Monday, July 21, 2008

Holy Hope

Do ants have hope? What about birds?

After our class at church yesterday A comment made at our table started me thinking.

When China became a communist nation, one of Mao's plans was to erradicate all religious thought from the people. As the older population died out and the younger people grew up, thoroughly indoctrinated with the lie that there was no God, it looked as though he had succeeded. But Mao didn't count on what his lies would bring. Today China has 2.3 times the number of suicides as the global average. It's the leading cause of death for 15 to 34 year olds. I've heard the Soviet Union had the same statistics during the time it was under communist rule.

Why do people commit suicide--sane people? Life in China is difficult, although, so they tell us, times began changing in the seventies. Human rights still don't exist in that country, regardless of what kind of propaganda the world is told by China's press. People don't have much--common people. The wealthy class still exists. Oppression. Government edicts that control lives. Overcrowding. Pollution. Shoddy workmanship. Not a pleasant place in which to exist, much less live.

Many years ago I was living in a painful situation that had gone on for years, and I didn't see a way out of it. The stress was so intense that even today I have health issues that began during that time. I was depressed, but didn't know it. The pain of living was so great that all I wanted to do was escape. I believed in God and in Heaven, and I knew in my heart that I'd be there when I died, even if I took my own life. I knew this because He knew the pain I was in. The day I considered suicide I hesitated long enough to ask God to give me something to live for so I wouldn't carry it out.

Like a tiny flame I felt hope rise up in my heart. Life didn't get much better for a long time, but that hope kept me going. It was the last time I ever contemplated suicide.

But what if I hadn't known God, hadn't known I could ask for His help? What if I hadn't had that hope? Suicide is an immediate escape from a life that sees no hope. If all a person sees is a life of pain and suffering, why go on? At the moment hope is taken away from us, what is there to live for? We would be no better off than ants or birds.

Life is precious. If I had died in 1974, I would have missed seeing how God brought my family out of the pain and into good lives. I would have missed the love I've had and been able to give all these last thirty-four years. I would have missed God's purpose for my life--to tell people of His goodness and that, in Him, there is always hope.

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