8 To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?t
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
Suicide. It still pinches part of me inside when I hear that word. It’s taboo. We’re not supposed to talk about it. And if we do, all kinds of bells and whistles go off and people start suspecting who has had those thoughts. For those who’ve known what it means to be hopeless, the thought has been real that everyone else’s life going on without yours would be best for everyone, including yourself. It is a viable option in those moments and the thinking continues down a dramatic spiral that seems to almost take over one’s mind. It’s all in the mind. Even when pain is the cause of Kavorkian-type thoughts, the mind is what justifies it.
When I’ve been down, I get upset when people “make a big deal about it.” But thinking in my right mind right now, it IS a big deal. A huge deal. Maybe the hugest for someone’s life. It is not to be taken lightly. If you have thoughts that you should be gone, and especially if you have ideas of how to eliminate yourself, call the number in this graphic or 800-525-5683 (my work has pastors who can help).
I’ve been blasted with conversations, people’s stories and more in the last month surrounding suicide. As part of my job listening to calls to our radio stations, I’ve heard at least 30 stories of people who were ready to “pull the plug” only to hear a song that pulled them from the pit (as the psalmist phrases). You might think that one story might impact you when you hear it, but to hear tens of stories from “normal” people who you’d never expect to think that way, to me it’s been both emotionally draining and filling while affirming what God lit my path with in the passage above.
Psalm 30:9 has been a huge “snap” for me to get out of any suicidal thoughts. It simply asks what profit there is if I die. Whether King David, his servant or whoever would write this – it’s true. There is no profit when we die. We might argue one particular aspect of life breeds a profit, but overall you don’t end up “in the black.” There just isn’t surplus when you do a full cost-benefit analysis. You can rationalize yourself until your mind has taken over and you are hopeless in the full extent of the word, but there is no gain. I believe that. There’s been times for me (too many to admit, but three I remember clearly) when I was of the mindset that me not being alive was a viable option. For me, this passage jumped out at me and demonstrated that the Bible does mention suicide, even if in a poetic form.
One story I heard featured a lady taking a bath with her cell phone playing music from our radio station’s app. While listening in her bathroom, the gal in the apartment below her could hear the music. As she listened, she turned her life about and did not kill herself as she planned to do in the bathroom at that moment.
Wow. The story sounded very real and true. And yet even if it wasn’t, I learn what I’ve known before: music changes lives. Just like this music Psalm 130 that changed me, so do so many other songs touch our hearts and minds in ways that only music can. And I don’t think it’s just for the abstract artsy-type person, either. Music does something in us.
Certainly music isn’t the answer to prevent every suicide cry or attempt, but as I’ve been blasted with lives and others’ thoughts of it recently, it again strikes me as real Truth. Jesus used music constantly. Upon skimming through the gospels I count him quoting music (Psalms) at least 10 verses verbatim (and these aren’t counting verses quoted in all four gospels, but four different occasions). As I scanned I also saw numerous inferences. Psalms/songs speak both to and from the heart. And just as I saw in Jesus’ references and inferences they often do so in difficult times.
Music speaks. Suicide is never overall profitable. And in Jesus there’s so much hope.