Why do people commit suicide? This is a very relevant question, especially in the wake of the tragic death of a popular young Bollywood star about a month ago1. Many people might say that pain, desperation, rejection, and depression might be the reasons that drive a person to take such an extreme step. But I have always thought there must be something deeper which is the root of all such situations. And I think all these problems can create circumstances that can lead to hopelessness and purposelessness, which are seemingly endless. A person overcome by these can come to the unfortunate conclusion that there is no point in living given the current circumstances.
Sad it is, but it seems that that’s the reality!
My heart breaks every time I hear that somebody has taken their own life. I think to myself, “Why is it that they think that this would be the answer to their problems?” I guess if they had sought the right answers at the right places, then things could have been different. How I wish they had found hope and purpose before it was too late!
But the big question is where can we find hope and purpose? By this I mean the purpose of life in its wholeness, the very reason why we exist—not just a few isolated day to day actions. As I said earlier, a lack of purpose can cause people to lose hope. It is easy for those who are not in that situation to think and respond like this: “Oh! If only they understand the reason for the existence of everything around them.” But, this is easier said than done for the person who is actually struggling with hopelessness.
Yet, I would want to urge folks in such situations: even though it seems impossible, please gather all the remaining strength that you have and please think about the grand scheme of things. Please draw strength and hope and find purpose in knowing the fact that you are a part of God’s creation. You are not an accident. God has created you lovingly and purposefully. Think about the sun, the moon and the stars that perform their daily actions, the earth and all the fullness in it speak out daily that it is God who created them for a purpose, and it is that same Creator God, who created everyone of us for a reason (Ps. 19:1-4).
We exist because He exists, and He is the One who defines why we exist. The purpose of our lives is fully bound up in our relation to Him. When we recognise that we have been created for God’s glory (Is. 43:7), and that we exist to honour him and worship him, it is then and only then that things start to make sense. I believe that being aware of this truth is the first step to overcome a sense of purposelessness in life.
If this was so simple, then why is that so many people live seemingly purposeless lives? I think the answer to this takes us to the first book of the Bible i.e. Genesis. If we can go back to the beginning of human history, we see that man and woman brought sin and curse into this world through their disobedience towards God, who had created them with all good intention. As a result of that we see people wandering away from God and thereby losing their purpose in life. Now, because it is God who gives meaning and purpose to life, rejecting Him or going away from Him only invites purposelessness into life. It may sound simplistic and reductionistic but this is the Truth. It is sin that separates us from God and no person who is born in this world is without sin. That’s the ultimate problem that has to be dealt with. As long as there is sin, purposelessness is bound to set in.
But then can we fix this problem? Can we make right what we have wronged? No! It is like bringing a dead person to life again. We cannot do it. This brings us back to the precarious situation we started with: we are without hope! Well, that would be true if we remove God out of the equation. We must remember and we must remind others that the Creator God can bring a dead person to life.
God, being gracious and compassionate, chose not to leave us in our sins but willed to save us from our sins and restore us and our purpose of life through Christ Jesus. That’s one of the reasons why Jesus came into this world. His life on this earth was short, but He lived it to the fullest of its purpose as God intended it to be, for the glory of His Name. We have failed to live so, but He lived it on our behalf. Then, he paid that ultimate price on the cross. He took on Himself the death-punishment that we deserve because of our sins, and He died in our place. After three days, He rose from the grave and went back to where He came from (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Now, He calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and put their trust in Him and live a purposeful life that God intended for us to live (Acts 17:30). Through faith in Christ, it is possible to fix that problem and make things right again. It is only in and through Christ we can live lives that truly bring glory to God. It is possible that we might struggle to fully live it out even after knowing and embracing these truths because of existing sin in this world. However, we will definitely fully experience that life in eternity to come. What a glorious experience it would be. It is worth the wait! Can you see, clearly, that taking our own life is not a solution to end purposelessness in life, but faith in the Saviour is?
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash
Charles P. Thaluri serves as the pastor at Symrna Bible Church. Hyderabad, Telangana.