Jonah 4:3, 8: Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” … When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah was definitely feeling suicidal with what he was saying above: “Take my life from me; it is better for me to die than to live.” Note that the person talking was not an ordinary man but a prophet of God. But he wished he were dead, his life was loathsome to him.
Understanding his suicidal feeling will help us to understand him and by extension ourselves. Jonah felt he had a good reason to feel like dying since what he didn’t want happened: he didn’t want God having mercy on the Nineveans. He felt used (refer to Jonah1-4). He seems to be so obsessed with seeing from his own point of view even if that point of view is making him feel rotten.
Whatever the perspective from which you are seeing a situation, that is not uplifting for you (I am not talking about a sin situation where the only remedy is genuine repentance), it is the wrong perspective. You need to see things from the point of view of what God says. What He says is that His thoughts for you are not for evil but for good (Jeremiah 29:11). His word says that for you who love God, all things (emotionally pleasant or otherwise) are working together for your good (Romans 8:28).
God went a long way to illustrate the error of Jonah’s perspective to him (John 4:6-11). Those who feel suicidal like Jonah are excessively involved with their own emotion. They are fixated, their emotions locked in on an event or a series of events that destroyed their views of themselves or the image they have worked to maintain.
What is required is a wholesale abandonment of a person’s view of things, to embrace another’s- God’s. When someone who is feeling suicidal is recommended for counselling or therapy, all the therapist can do is to help the client gain a new way of viewing the same set of circumstances they are surrounded with, in the past and present.
What better therapist than God who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)? Abandon your own calculation and embrace God’s, it is then that things will add up. In God’s calculation, there is no hopeless case, because his conclusion is, “to him that is joined to the living there is hope (Ecclesiastes 9:4).” In God’s calculation, difficult time passes. He can bring roses out of the thorn-bushes of our lives.
Rather than becoming a dope-addict because of the feeling of suicide, making it worse, become a hope-addict. You will not be arrested for it because it is the God of the universe who says hope will not disappoint, it will always deliver (Romans 5:5).
One cause of the feeling of suicide is being brokenhearted and Jesus came to heal broken hearts (Luke 4:18). He can reach where the knife of the surgeon or the words of a therapist cannot reach. It is interesting that the word of God is described as being sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to division of the soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12), thereby causing you to gain the divine perspective of any situation.
Your journey does not end where you fell (Micah 7:8); there is still a distance before you. Elijah was in a similar situation like Jonah (see 1Kings 19) when after a thunderous victory on Mount Carmel against false prophets, Jezebel threatened his life and he fled. He thought his journey had ended, that all he had worked for had gone down the drain because Jezebel was still powerful.
He walked to Horeb, the Mount of the Lord, asking that God should kill him. (It was hinted that a feeling of loneliness added to Elijah’s suicidal bent and God gave him a new perspective on that too, a different way of seeing his loneliness [verses 10,14 and18]). At the end of his encounter with God, He gave him a still-small-voice perspective of Himself and sent him on further journeys.
God refused to jaw-jaw with Elijah on all the burning issues in his heart. Instead, he told him to get on with life, quit sulking, and get some assignments done for Him. God rekindled Elijah’s sense of purpose, making him see that his life was still worth something to God, even if not to Elijah himself, who thereafter carried out further assignments for God.
Feeling suicidal? What you need is to gain a new perspective and have a renewed sense of purpose.
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