Ten years ago, on July 20, 2008, my dad died from cancer. It is hard to believe he has been gone that long. He was not just my dad. He was my hero and friend. The longer I go without my dad, the more I realize how blessed I was. My father was a man who truly loved God and his family. He never harmed me in any way, other than the spankings I deserved. I remember one time I had a spanking coming, and I put encyclopedias in my shorts to cushion the pain!
Some of you were blessed to have a father like mine. If so, make sure you thank God for it. It is rare to have a good and godly dad. Many of you weren’t blessed with a “good” dad. Maybe your father abandoned your mom. Maybe he abandoned you or even harmed you. Maybe he never left but was anything but a loving example. Some of you might not even know who your father is and/or have never met him.
When you became a Christian, you were adopted into the family of God. Now you have a Heavenly Father. Regardless of who your earthly father is, you have an awesome Dad. As Psalm 68:5 reminds us, God “is a father to the fatherless.” God cares for you. God loves you. God never does harm to you. God never leaves or forsakes you. Turn to your Heavenly Father now and embrace His love. Even though my dad was spectacular, he cannot compare to the great love and care of my Father in Heaven.
Suicide has dominated the headlines of late with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Suicide is a sensitive subject but I feel I must write about it because:
- I understand the torment of depression accompanied by many
- I have helped people struggling with suicidal tendencies
- Close friends of mine have been affected by it
The deaths of these two successful individuals remind us that you can seem to have everything in the world but be empty. Also, you can pretend that all is well, yet be hurting deeply. What does Vacation Bible School have to do with this? These two deaths happened the very same week my church had our annual VBS. The lessons pointed to the truth that Jesus gives us everything we need. One lesson was on Lazarus, the one Jesus called out of the tomb and resurrected from the dead. It is a reminder that Jesus has power over all things. Because Jesus is alive, there is always reason for hope.
If you are struggling with depression, or contemplating suicide, don’t lose hope. Jesus is alive. He has the power to deliver you from your torments. He can give you what you need: Hope, joy, worth and value, something to believe in, and deep, unconditional love. If you are depressed or discouraged, tell someone. Get help. Ask God to get you through another day. If you know someone struggling, don’t be judgmental. Respond to them with the love of Christ. No one has a perfect life. Let’s not pretend that all is great. Let’s be real, honest, and open. Let’s hold one another up in this often difficult journey called life.