There are multiple reasons to live and many motivations to choose life over suicide. If I’d had a chance to counsel Hannah, the young girl and principle character who chose to take her life on the final episode of Netflix’s surprisingly popular 13 Reasons Why, I would have told her:
How much God loves her (my first blog in response to this series).
How God knows her and calls her by her name (my second blog in response to this series).
And here’s the third reason I’d have given Hannah to choose life over death: God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). You are not a random accident, a person formed from primordial sludge. To the contrary! You are beautifully and wondrously made (Psalm 139:14). You were created by God, to be loved by him, and to share his love with others.
But that’s not all. When God created you, there were good works he prepared for only you to do (Ephesians 2:10). No one else in the entire world can do them! No one else throughout all human history can do them! These good works are solely God’s assignment for you to do. If you don’t do them, they don’t get done.
Yes, God will still accomplish his will and purpose. He is sovereign and all-powerful. But he’d much prefer to do so with you doing your part in the plan. Doesn’t that idea excite your heart?
What are the good works God has created you to do?
Only God specifically knows them all, but he will reveal them to you as you seek him. Your job is simply to open your heart each morning of each day and pray, “Here I am, Lord. I’m yours. I belong to you. I want to live for you and love like you. Now lead me today to someone who needs a touch from you. I commit that I will be your instrument of love to that person.”
Please remember: You must have your spiritual antenna extended high throughout the day. Be especially sensitive to feel God’s signals, nudges, and promptings to you as you interact with people. Listen to his whisper that says, “Love him. Pray for her. Be generous to that person. Go visit him. Care for her.”
Then make sure you obey. Do what you know God is telling you to do as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate. Remember that delayed obedience is disobedience.
Guess what will happen? Your own depression will gradually start to lift. Your own sadness will slowly start to melt away---like the noonday sun drying up the dew on the grass (Isaiah 58:10). You’ll discover the eternal truth that when you try to protect your life, you start to lose it. But when you start giving your life away, especially for Jesus’ sake and the sake of the gospel, you will start to gain it (Matthew 10:39).
It’s an irrefutable law of the universe: You find your life when you lose your life in something greater than yourself.
Do you know what else will start to happen? You’ll start to discover God’s larger plan for your life. You’ll begin to realize God’s specific purpose for you. You’ll know that this life is about life, not death. It’s about giving, not receiving. It’s about serving, not being a superstar. It’s about sharing, not being a celebrity. It’s about enjoying being uniquely me, not comparing myself with others and feeling jealousy. It’s about helping others be better, not about bullying.
You may then be led to become a doctor or a nurse. Or a missionary. Or a social worker. Or a school teacher. Or a coach. Your profession becomes an obsession to serve others. You know that’s his plan.
You also become a part of a larger team of people who fight for life locally and globally. Death is the enemy’s plan. You want no part of it. You choose to work with people who have a similar call to your call---to give life to others and give it to them abundantly.
You choose to use your pain, and the new life you’ve discovered in Jesus, to help others who may be contemplating death. You take the way that God has comforted you to comfort others who are experiencing the despair and hopelessness you once had (2 Corinthians 1:4).
That’s God’s purpose for your life. That’s his plan for you in creation.
And it’s an extremely important reason to live for God’s glory and not to take your life.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)