Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why I Want to Live

        A surge of pride is pointing people to suicide. “I can do what I want, when I want. No one is going to tell me what to do.” This terrible solution to life’s problems bypasses the stigma of depression.  To justify such a drastic action some are telling themselves, “Assert yourself. Take charge.” 
        Here’s a thoughtful piece written by Peter Hardt. Maybe you know someone who needs to read this:
        In conversations with a few members of the younger “I-want-it-all-now!” generation, it’s been suggested to me that I don’t actually have to plan and prepare for the crisis just ahead. They think I should go on with my life – business as usual – and just commit suicide when things become unbearable. An “Eat! Drink! For tomorrow we die!” philosophy...
        I strongly disagree. This is why I want to live:

1. To be sure, the potential for misery in the months and years ahead is pretty high. But I embrace that potential and want to understand all of the possibilities because I know that I can minimize that misery with proper planning. If a poor family such as ours can make significant preparations, then ANYone can make useful preparations. Planning to kill yourself instead of diverting surplus resources into wise preparation is just abhorrent laziness and greed – wanting to have EVERYthing, now, and to heck with the future.

2. Preparation does not necessarily spoil daily living. A person could easily let it get to them without the right perspective, and it has gotten me down from time to time. But a realistic assessment of the future (as much as we are able) means I improve the likelihood that my future will be livable too, as well as the present. I do still enjoy beauty, still surround myself with family and God’s marvelous animals, still learn and create and help others. I have a well-rounded life and I’m very prepared.

3. There is no virtue in taking a lazy / greedy “play now, suicide later” approach. There is no honor, no wisdom, no love, no joy, no challenge, no sacrifice in it. The only thing this “plan” has to commend it is that it’s “easy” and convenient and doesn’t cut into your fun now. It doesn’t require any thought or planning or effort or sacrifice. “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere,” someone said. It is a cop-out, a capitulation, and failure to fulfill human obligations. It is the path of least resistance, forfeiting the game because it’s “too hard” to play. Sorry, I’ll take satisfaction and joy and accomplishment over empty “fun” and shallow self-indulgence any day!

4. This suicide plan proposes to destroy something that does not belong to us: our life. God gave us this life, it’s a gift from him, it is not for us to decide when to end it. I understand that a tormented person in a horrible situation may be driven to suicide, and only our merciful God knows our state of mind. But suicide as a deliberate “strategy” – in place of planning for survival – is foolish and wrong. It is the path of weakness and inaction. We are accountable to God for our lives and this suicide suggestion will ultimately lead only to shame and regret and loss.

5. I view the dangers ahead as a challenge, a tremendous once-in-a-lifetime adventure through misery and struggle, intermixed with joy and God’s peace. “We MUST, as it were, climb Mount Everest – what will we need to do that? Let’s prepare now.” Rather than, “We must climb Mount Everest, and once we’re on the verge of freezing to death because we took no provisions and we can’t take it any longer we’ll just shoot ourselves.” I’m not looking forward to it. I’m not “excited” about having these terrible times come upon us. But if I MUST go through it then I will rise to the challenge!

6. I believe that WE have been born in the sovereign will of God for this time. I believe that God knows who we are, knows our weaknesses, knows His own strengths, and has called us to follow him in this, one of the greatest trials and struggles in all of human history! He has a plan. He wants to use us to bring a message of hope (real hope!), strength, peace, courage, honor, and love to the lost sheep in this generation. I don’t doubt that tens of thousands WILL commit suicide in despair and fear and loneliness. Their pointless deaths will be a tragic waste that we may help prevent with the message of the limitless love of God. We can and must be a light in the darkness…
        We have a daily choice between doing the easy thing and doing the right thing. “Taking the hard path often makes life easier and taking the “easy” path often makes life harder!” But the fact that God is not in this “play now / suicide later” plan is its greatest folly.
        Death is coming for all of us. Let us meet it with courage and joy and peace and trust that God will be merciful and will meet us on the other side to welcome us into life everlasting. We will not die until it is our time, but that is not for us to decide.

        This is how I ended my recent letter to family and friends on “Getting Ready”:

        Get started today to seek God earnestly, to provide for your family wisely, and to have compassion on your neighbors who only know what the evening news and the newspaper tells them to believe. They’re going to need your help.
        Read the Bible with “fresh eyes” and learn how to meet as a church like the FIRST churches did. The way most churches are “doing church” is about to change, radically.
        Don’t resort to hate. Don’t give in to fear. Put God first. Be a light in the darkness – you may be the only one where you are. Don’t lose hope. Never stop trusting God. We’re going to get through this WITH Him. You are in His hands…
        The history of our fallen and rebellious planet must now play itself out. Regardless of all our technology and civilization and advancements we’re still humans deeply in need of a Savior, and that has never been clearer than right now. No matter how dark the day, however, never forget that God’s love has already won. It’s already a done deal:
        The truth is, what God accomplished in Jesus at the Cross has implications far beyond what we know or can even imagine. It was a stupendous accomplishment, a savvy and incredible move, an unbelievably good and wonderful thing, a stunning universe-shaking victory!
        We only get hints of the scope of it all in the Bible, but there is much more going on than meets the eye. One day – and you’ll be there to see it with your own eyes - He will make everything well that is not well, and we shall all marvel and rejoice in Him forever. And “every knee shall bow in joyful submission to Him.” That’s what it says - we have his Word on it!
        Perspective is everything…
               Be Prepared. Trust God. We can do both!
by Peter Hardt ©2010