Prior to 2007, the suicide rate among young Americans had been “declining” for two decades. But between 2007 and 2017, suicides among 10-to-24-year-olds “jumped” 56 percent, according to the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Over the same time period, teen depression “spiked” 63 percent.
Suicide is now the second leading “cause of death” among young Americans. These tragic statistics should be a clarion “call to action,” yet nothing has changed. Every year the latest statistics come out, the numbers are “worse” than ever. Why?
Reporting on these statistics, the New York Times ignores the cause behind these surging numbers and focuses on treating the effect, writing, “We know that various psychotherapies and medication are highly effective in treating depression.” This is why the suicide rate continues to rise.
Instead of trying to find the cause for these tragedies, they wait until a child exhibits mental health problems and then they treat them with psychotherapies and medication. If this is as effective as they claim, then why are we still losing so many young Americans to suicide every year?
The New York Times asks this exact question. “How is it possible that so many of our young people are suffering from depression and killing themselves when we know perfectly well how to treat this illness?” And the solution it gives is more education, more funding, more resources and greater awareness.
But mental health awareness and acceptance has never been more widespread.
How much more money do we need to throw into this before the scholars admit that they do not have the solution? Every day in America, “16 young people die from suicide.” Worldwide, “one person commits suicide every 40 seconds.” How many more lives will be lost unnecessarily before we admit that we do not have the answer?
“Pouring money into suicide education and prevention programs will not stop this tragedy. Expensive prevention programs have not stopped alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, crime, illiteracy, poverty, spousal abuse or violence. Even with our intellectual and creative abilities, we have proved incapable of solving our really tough problems. We need the truth.”
This is the great paradox. The 20th century witnessed incredible advancement, yet simultaneously it saw a dramatic rise in world evils and conditions. That has continued in this 21st century. “Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness? The modern scientific concept denies the invisible and the spiritual as having existence. Yet all our seemingly unsolvable problems and the evils in this world are spiritual in nature.”
The same is true of suicide. “The truth is this: Suicide is a spiritual problem. To eradicate suicide, we must confront it spiritually.”
Why do people become depressed and suicidal? Because they have no “hope.” If people knew the truth about their incredible human potential, such horrific “self-harm, mental illness and suicide rates” would not exist. We cannot ignore the rising numbers.
But there is “hope” and a way out of the void. True and lasting hope can only come from the great Creator God. And the Bible is full of passages that can fill us with this “hope” and get us through any trial or tragedy.
In Romans 8:18 NIV, the Apostle Paul wrote, “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Paul suffered incredibly. He was “persecuted, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stoned and left for dead, beaten, left for the wild beasts,” among other things. Yet he believed that despite all this suffering, it was nothing compared to what God was offering him. How was he filled with so much hope? Because he had a clear vision of his incredible human potential.
“When we know God’s purpose for us, we become willing to work through anything life throws at us.” So what is God preparing for mankind?
In Psalm 8, King David asked, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
Here God says “all things,” nothing excluded, will be put under man’s feet in the world to come.
Mankind’s destiny is to “inherit” the universe! Romans 8 NIV reveals even more about our potential. Verse 29 says that Christ is “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Christ is only the first to be born into the Family of God, which means there are more to come. God is offering you a place in His Family!
Other verses in Romans 8 NIV verify this: “ For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (verse 14). Verses 16-18 remind us “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Continuing verses 19-23 “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to son ship, the redemption of our bodies.”
Put together all these scriptures … and you begin to grasp the incredible human potential. Our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power! We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe! What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs. We shall rule through all eternity!
Revelation 21 and 22 show there will then be no pain, no suffering, no evil, because we shall have learned to choose God’s way of good. It will be an eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in super joyous anticipation to new creative projects, and still looking back also on accomplishments with happiness and joy over what shall have been already accomplished. We shall never grow tired and weary. Always alive, full of joyous energy, vitality, exuberant life and strength and power! What a potential!
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
Understanding this potential shows us why suicide is so evil. Knowing your incredible potential should fill your life with “meaning, happiness and hope.” This is the way to finding the “strength” to get through life’s tough times. There is so much to look forward to.
“The most necessary of all knowledge is the knowledge of what man is; the knowledge of why he is, the purpose for which humanity was put on Earth; the knowledge of the way to achieve that purpose, of the way to world peace, peace between individuals, groups and nations; the knowledge of the cause of all the world’s troubles and evils; the knowledge of the solution to all these problems; the knowledge of the true values, what is important and what is worthless.”