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  1. The desire for death may mask God’s loving purpose for us. Most readers probably know of someone who has either died by suicide, or was deeply hurt by someone else who had. Here are some 2013 facts from the CDC: There were over 41,000 suicides in the U.S. Just over one-third of them test positive for alcohol, 24% for antidepressants, and 20% for opiates and prescription pain medications. Sobriety may be the most underrated mental health goal there is! 4% of adults had thoughts of suicide—with the highest rate being the 18-24 year-olds, at 7.4%. Over 1% made a suicide plan, and again, that rate was much higher—2.5%--in the 18-24 year-old group. Among 9th-12th-graders the rates of suicidal thoughts are much worse—at 17%. The horror of suicide is all too common. So, what does the Bible say about it? The two main examples of suicide in scripture are men who had turned away from God. In the Old Testament, King Saul had disobeyed God by sacrificing animals and taking bounty that He had declared off-limits. He furthered his treachery by repeatedly trying to kill God’s choice to replace him—David. Saul was wounded in battle, and asked his armor-bearer to kill him. Ironically, the servant knre this was wrong and would not do it. So, Saul fell on his own sword. In the New Testament, Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. While he shows he regretted his betrayal by returning the money, his final act is also one of defiance against God. He hanged himself. Suffering and hurt are real, but isolation and abandonment are lies from the pit of Hell. Like Saul and Judas, Elijah was afraid. He had just called down fire from heaven, and destroyed 400 of Baal’s prophets. The queen, rather than repenting, issued a death warrant for Elijah. This proved to be the sucker-punch that drove the prophet to suicidal ideation. He asks God to take his life. What happens next is insightful. God sends an angel to feed the prophet, and assure he gets plenty of rest. After a few days of this, Elijah’s perspective and faith are restored. We must never feel shame about taking time to care for our physical and emotional needs. Self-care is not selfish. It allows us the restoration we need to serve God and our loved ones well! Even after Elijah’s restoration, he remains downcast. He believes he is the only one left, who is faithful. We must not underestimate the suffering, the frustration, and the sense of hopelessness people feel! On the other hand, if we are the ones discouraged, let us not forget that God is never dormant, and we never see the full picture of what He is doing. Elijah learns that there are 7,000 who remain faithful, and that God plans to use his successors to destroy his enemies. In fact, these conquerors are already prepared to exact the Lord’s vengeance. What if King Saul had trusted God, and obeyed his command to kill the animals and enemy king? What if Judas had kept faith, & seen Jesus’ resurrection? What if we believed that all things work together for good to us, who love God? Jesus says He is the Life. We who love Him must live. Faith destroys depression, defeat, and death. Suicide is defiance against God. Life,and yes suffering, will gain us the victor’s crown! To see on linked in and access a link to a podcast of all 4-parts of my death series see: