Most of the time, the media is chock-a-block with bad news. We’ve become inured to the barrage of negativity that passes for truth in our world. This week however, news came down that cut deeply. Two reasonably famous people committed suicide right out of the blue. Both were successful celebrities in their own milieu, which made the news doubly disturbing. Kate Spade was a world class fashion designer, renown for turning the world of couture handbags on its ear with her colorful, whimsical, pop-culture inspired designs. Anthony Bourdain, famous chef, author, philosopher and television personality was also found dead, stunning the foodie culture he had so large a part in developing. Both had children and family, projects and home to live for. Everywhere, people are asking why two such massive success stories should end on this tragic note. It would seem from the outside looking in, that they had it all. They had achieved the American dream.
The suicide of anyone, intimate or removed, sends people in a tailspin of agonizing questions, often haunting them for years. Sometimes, it just seems inexplicable. Let’s not forget one key thing though. Suicide is a spirit…there is real demonic entity with a seductive voice behind this thing. Of course, a baseline of depression, addiction or deep trauma opens the soul to a visitation more readily, but mere physical, mental or psychological factors are not sufficient to explain why it happens. The soul is prone in its weakness to dark influences pulling it down to drowned it in a pit of anguish and misery. This is true, and the reason Scripture is at such pains to teach us how to position ourselves properly in the attitude of joy, gratitude and hope.
But let’s backtrack a bit, because this is really about the soul. It’s about what we think of ourselves and the value we hold in the world. At some point, a suicidal person decides that their life is not worth living…that the weight of it is more than they can bear. Interestingly enough, part of that equation is true. Life has weight, because God has given the soul glory, honor and majesty, and these spiritual substances are heavy. Psalm 8 tells us clearly
“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.”
The simple truth is that we were never created to bear the weight of our own lives. We always meant to partner that burden with God. As radical as it sounds, we were not created to be self-sufficient. God created the soul to be sustained by His Spirit flowing through our own spirit man. The realm of the spirit is far more powerful than the soul, which was never meant to stand alone. It simply cannot. Psalm 49 tells us that the sheer value of a soul in God’s sight (He who sets the ultimate valuation on everything) is incomprehensible to us; not something we are able to fathom. It is priceless…not able to be bartered, bought, traded nor ransomed with any worldly collateral. Only the blood of Jesus is sufficient to that monumental task. When we look to transient, dazzling things such as fame, wealth, achievement or status, we are fooled for a moment into thinking that they can satisfy our soul. They cannot. It is utter folly to trust wealth to save you, period. Do it, and you are being shepherded by, and to, Death (Psalm 49:14).
In rare flashes of honesty, we can all admit to paralyzing moments of deep terror, hopelessness or desolation that we’ve experienced. There are the times we did actually entertain the thoughts of suicide. It’s not that we can’t comprehend that dialog of darkness; the enemy of our soul made sure of it. But faith is the statement that there is something in our lives greater than ourselves. Someone is carrying us despite the crushing weight we often feel; it’s the Lord…and He is here. The simple truth is we need a Savior, and not just from threatening agents, hostile environments or unexpectedly perilous circumstances. At times the most imminent threat we face is the sinister darkness within ourselves. We require Yeshuah.
The word Savior (Yeshuah) comes from the Hebrew concept of walking out of dark, narrow, constriction into a wide open, large, moist, wealthy place. Who doesn’t want that? If you examine at it closely, you will see that this is exactly the journey the twenty-third psalm is describing. Psalm 23 is the antithesis of Psalm 49. There is a way out. Jesus is taking us down paths that will redeem and restore our much-beleaguered soul. We can trust Him, entrust ourselves to Him, and sweetly enjoy the scenery as He leads us to the land of our desire.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you art with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: thou anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23 NKJV
Life was never meant to be a complicated tangle of passion and peril, desire and dejection, but rather, an intimate walk in simplicity. The great American dream is smoke and mirrors: a fallacy of diseased desire. Even those who achieve it fail to be satisfied. Yeshuah is waiting; friend and guardian, to show you the exquisite landscape of your own soul. guar guardian, to show you the exquisite landscape of your own soul.