September is Suicide Prevention month … and with the recent death of Robin Williams, it’s a topic much on the minds of civilians and military members alike. Last week I spotted an article on pastors.com by Alan White that bears our consideration when we enter the pulpit to address the public health issue of suicide.
Those of us who have served in the armed forces know that life can sometimes feel overwhelming – and civilians are no different in that regard. The loss of a job or a relationship, trouble in school, a serious mental or physical illness, a divorce, or the death of a loved one can happen to anyone.
In such moments, it is important for us to remind the people in our spiritual care that there is help and hope. God loves them. God knows their struggles and failures as well as their joys, and triumphs. Even when we walk through the valleys of the shadows, God is with us. In the times when it feels like God is far away or doesn’t hear our prayers,
God still gives us people who can help – friends, loved ones, co-workers, clergy, therapists, counselors, and congregations. They can be God’s heart and God’s listening ear when we feel most alone.
If you, or someone close to you, are feeling suicidal, alone, or that your life doesn’t matter, reach out. Talk to someone. Let others help. Your life matters – to others, to this world, and to God.
I ask everyone to pray for those in mental and spiritual darkness … and teach them to reach out to be God’s healing hands.
V.A. Hospital Chaplain Corps & Texas Medical Center Hospices, Houston Tx. (D.J.Saker)