Suicide and Faith: A Preacher Finds Peace. Miracle 11

By Nancy Virden (c)2023 The Miracle Series

Losing over half your blood supply is not healthy. I know, because that is what the worried faces of doctors told me. Eight transfusions, over a dozen surgical endoscopies, and six years later, I am still praying for complete healing from this chronic anemia. The good news is that thanks to an anemia clinic my blood count is the closest to normal it has been in years. To me, that is a miracle.

I highly doubt if anyone thinks I should feel shame for going to the emergency room when I could barely walk. In fact, I was avidly supported by friends and family with visits, meals, and well-wishes. Yet when our brain misfires or is lacking the necessary chemicals in correct amounts, sometimes there is skepticism or judgment based on stigma. (Stigma is a false belief based on too few or zero facts). Although Christian believers are growing in this matter, old ideas can linger. Support may be a few mumbled words and prayers, but usually quickly dies out.

One common misconception is that Paul was referring to mental health issues when he wrote to the young pastor Timothy, that he need not be shy or hesitant to preach because the spirit in Timothy and in Paul gives them power and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:6-8, see below). Because the English term for self-discipline was “sound mind” in early translations, it was assigned the more modern connotation of “not unreasonable” or “not mentally ill.” Combined with a general fear of mental illness, the inference became that outside of likable and comfortable social behavior, one is not in step with the Holy Spirit and not right with God.

I met a pastor who confided that he had lost a friend- a fellow pastor- to suicide many years earlier. All this time later, the surviving man was still struggling with “why” and what he should have done to prevent the tragedy. Mostly he was afraid for the eternal state of his friend.

Not all-knowing, I will not assume to know anything more about his friend’s spiritual situation. However, I was able to share with that pastor my own experience as a Christian who attempted suicide. My faith had not disappeared. I had not turned my back on my Savior. Nonetheless, my thinking (reasoning) was a mess due to mental illness.

Upon hearing this, a cloud of doubt lifted from this pastor’s eyes and he seemed to feel peace for the first time. Sometimes our bodies need a little help. That is why we use medications, surgeries, and transfusions. Just as God is not holding an axe over my head for having anemia, he is compassionate with those who love him and are in a mental health struggle.

The miracle is the unexpected peace the surviving pastor received from God (and the truth) that day.


Today’s Helpful Word

2 Timothy 1:6-8

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

The Miracle Series

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.


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