The wind was knocked out of my sails today when I received news that one of my college buddies had taken his life Thursday night. We shared many fun and memorable times way back when. I well remember, he, me, and another friend meeting many nights in Bailey Dorm at Presbyterian College about 10:30 pm to get on our knees together for a few minutes, share a few Scriptures, encourage one another, and pray. He was a bright, winsome young man. Sadly, he battled depression and OCD the past 20 years.
In the past month, I have heard of three 40-something year old men committing suicide in the upstate. One was a Baptist pastor from the South Carolina upstate who hung himself in the church. The second was the son of one of my mom's good friends, who told my mom in between sobs, "This is not supposed to happen." And now the third was my friend. All three men leave wives and children behind.
Every Friday I receive an email from Dan Miller, popular Christian motivator, writer, and speaker. Today's email was called You always have another option. In it he shares a great story that reminds us that even when things look bleak, there are still other options.
Through the years I have appreciated people - particularly those in church leadership - who, when problems arise, act more like Tigger than Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh world. Eeyores get depressed by the problems and seem to give up. They stay defeated and overwhelmed. Tiggers, however, start figuring out "how do we fix this problem and move on" and come up with solutions. Sometimes those solutions seem hidden at first. But the creative mind keeps thinking, praying, and looking.
Sometimes this even shows up in praying. Eeyores will start their praying with the problems and seem to never get above the obstacles during their praying. They sigh and groan and stay in the dumps.
Tiggers are more likely to start their prayers with God - focusing their eyes on Him - and seeing God as larger than the problem. This is what Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:6-12 when faced with a tremendous problem - he starts his long prayer praising God and focusing on God's good qualities. He remembered that "it is God who looms large and not man."
Hudson Taylor, veteran missionary to China, was once told their treasury was down to ten cents. Taylor responded, "We have ten cents and all of the promises of God!"
Another time he learned they were almost out of money and food. His cook asked, "What shall we do when we run out?" Taylor aptly replied, "Well, ma'am, we shall 'Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness,' " which is a direct quotation from Psalm 37.
Suicide shows the ultimate Eeyore reasoning - "there is no way out of this mess. I may as well give up."
Remember, even when things look bleak, instead of giving into despair, you always have another option. Sometimes we just haven't seen it yet.