Netflix’s astoundingly successful series on teen suicide has garnered a great deal of attention and debate. Does it glorify teen suicide? Or does it accurately describe a real issue in American culture? Or a bit of both?
What cannot be denied is the reality of the problem. Teen suicide is the second largest killer for American adolescents next to accidents. Many teens are feeling hopeless like never before and see suicide as their only way out.
Thus, the title of the show. The major character, Hannah, has 13 people who have deeply hurt her. Each one represents a reason to take her life. She eventually does.
I wish she hadn’t.
When I met Jesus years ago, he took me on a journey that led from hapless to hopeful, from pain to purpose, from meandering to meaning.
I’ve come to realize that Jesus’ will for all humanity is abundant life. The enemy to life, the prince of darkness, desires solely to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). When a teen (or anyone) commits suicide, the evil one wins.
I don’t want him to win anymore. Therefore, I offer in this blog (and the one beforehand, plus future installments on this subject) 13 Reasons Why…NOT to commit suicide.
In the last blog, I told you how much Jesus loves you. It’s evidenced on the cross---that God would send his Son to die an excruciatingly painful death to forgive us of our sins. I encouraged all to contemplate the cross.
When rightly done, I am certain that despair can become hope and life can have purpose anew.
Today, the second reason why not is this: God knows you by name. He knew it before you were ever created. He knew it in the expanses of eternity (Revelation 13:8). He knew it when you were in your mom’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows it now (Isaiah 43:1).
Everyone loves to go to places where people know and call out their names. It’s a way of feeling accepted, cared for, and loved.
God knows you by name. He personally cares for you. He desires you to have an abundant life, one filled with meaning and joy.
Our names are tattooed on God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16). He can’t ever forget them. In Isaiah 49:15, God asks if it’s ever possible for him to forget us? He compares it to a mother’s inability to ever forget a child’s name. Is this possible?
Yes, sadly, it is. My mom forgot my name---for several years! She was beset with the onslaught of dementia. For the last several years of her life, I’d enter her room and she would painfully squint to try and remember my name. She couldn’t. Her increasingly fragile and forgetful brain was no longer to recall the name of the son she carried, birthed, and loved.
God’s point in Isaiah 49 was simply this: Yes, sometimes a mom can forget her child’s name. It happens because of the way sin has shattered God’s once-perfect creation. But God never can. His mind is not demented. It never can be. It is perfect love. He remembers everything---especially our names. They are imprinted on the palm of his eternal hand.
If this is true, and it surely is, it’s a reason to live, not die!
Therefore, please don’t take your life. Don’t even think about it!
Why? Because God is thinking of you---at this very moment. He knows you personally---by your name.
Indeed, God’s Son, Jesus, is speaking to you right now. Listen carefully. Hear your name lovingly echoing from his lips to your ears. What is he saying?
Jesus is telling you to come to him if you are tired of carrying all your problems and he will give your weary soul rest.
Jesus is telling you not to let your heart be troubled. He wants you to trust him, that he knows everything that is happing to you.
Jesus is telling you to cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you.
Jesus is telling you that your name is tattooed on the palm of his hands. He doesn’t remember your sin but he can’t ever forget your name.
Please believe it’s true. It is true!
When you do, it’s a major reason why you will always choose life, not death.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...
Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV)