Suicide among young folks in America has been on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that from 2007 to 2017, the rate of Americans ages 10 to 24 who died by suicide rose by 56 percent, from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 persons to 10.6. (For all ages, see their overview here.)
Why is this? What causes a person in a first-world country to kill themselves? I believe that there are most likely numerous reasons. As the ability to communicate (superficially) has risen with the internet, the ability to judge oneself against the seemingly-glamorous lifestyles of others has also sprung up. You wouldn’t believe what a smoking pile of garbage my life is compared to the folks on instagram! I can quickly look and tell that I am less successful, less interesting, less attractive, and, to top it off, I get less time off from work. There’s zero doubt—I don’t have any followers, nor is there any reason for someone to want to follow a fellow with a life like mine.
But that’s just one aspect. With the “death of God,” postmodern anti-realism is really the only game in town. As Bertrand Russell aptly put it, on atheism it’s true that,
“Man…his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave…only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”
One is left with a worldview in which the only foundation is one of unyielding despair; where the exit sign is the only answer to the pain, because one’s hopes have no ultimate meaning, nor any actual payoff; in essence, they do not even exist. Dr. Richard Dawkins in, “River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life,” points out quite rightly that, if his worldview is correct,
“There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference…We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object’s sole reason for being.”
As society progresses and becomes post-God, it also becomes post-truth. It becomes post-objective, post-meaning, and post-hope.
I was thinking of the above in comparison with my worldview. Through my perceptual filters, you can’t do this on your own. You do need a recharge in order to kickstart your soul. At the same time, God calls you a vine—and He is the plant from which you grow, sustaining you, nourishing you, and providing you the needed energy to overcome this exhaustion. He wants you to know that you are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, and that He prepared you for this—He knew it was coming, before time began, He knew. He knew it would be tough. He knew that He’d be with you always, even unto to the end of the age. And He knew that you’d be able to do it. (John 15, Eph 2, Mt 28)
But He also knew that you’d need to be reminded, comforted, and assured that you not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. (Gal 6:9) Paul pointed out that as Christians, we need not embrace a worldview of “unyielding despair.
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.—1 Cor 15
Today, you may think of your failures, but you must realize that you overcome them. That the future is not as bleak as it may seem. You may look back on your past and despair, but look forward to a future where that despair is destroyed.
“Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.”—Elie Wiesel
God loves you, and He sees in you such incredible value that He has made the entirety of time to lead up to this very second in your life.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”— 1 Thessalonians 5:16
God loves you, and I love you. Nets with gaping holes don’t catch fish, but there are people to help mend you. If you ever need any help, please know that I’ll try to be a part of it, so reach out.
With love, always,