Psalm 51:1Posted: January 13, 2012
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love.”
“Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. Think with me: who of us could lie in our bet during the last hours of our life and look back and say to ourselves that we havent been as good as a person could be? Wouldn’t all of us look back and have regrets about things we have chosen, said, and done? None of us is able to commend ourselves to God on the basis of our performance. In this way, the person who has committed suicide and the person who hasn’t are exactly the same. Both of them are completely dependent on the forgiveness of a God of grace, in order to have any hope for eternity.”
-Paul Tripp on suicide from “Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy”
Why talk about suicide? Because I think every sane person has at least briefly considered it, or will briefly consider it in the future, if only in a moment of temporary insanity. Let’s admit it. There are times that when things are going poorly (and perhaps poorly is a poorly chosen word…more like when you are seriously *insert expletive of choice*), there is nothing more that i would like to do than curl up in a ball and wish I didn’t exist. Or maybe even wish that I didn’t have to go on living.
The interesting thing about this blurb from Dr. Tripp is that he likens thoughts of suicide to thoughts of regret. And when you think about it, they are very similar trains of thought. Suicidal thoughts come from a burning desire to change your outer circumstance. It is the desire to become lord of your surroundings and ultimately to be god of your own life. Although regret is a feeling that pretty much everyone harbors over something (“Dang I wish I studied more”, “Dang I wish I ate less”, “Dang I wish I kept on playing piano when I was younger”), and although in most cases most of us aren’t willing to kill ourselves over it, its the same idea isn’t it? Even in the simple act of regretting we are desiring to be god over our own lives instead of trusting in God’s grace and his perfect plan for every single one of us.
Approaching the end of college I have been reflecting on my time at the U of I and facing deep regret in the choices I’ve made. “Dang I wish I studied more…Dang I wish I ate less….Dang I wish I kept on playing piano when I was younger”, just to highlight a few. But as lighthearted and typical these regrets are, the end result was that I would lie in bed many mornings, and curl up in a ball, wishing that I didn’t exist. Perhaps suicidal, perhaps not, I was discontent with myself, with my life, and most importantly, discontent with God’s grace. Over this past winter break, especially at OIL, God has been showing me that there is nothing I regret, nothing that I could have changed from the past to make my life perfect now. Because lets face it – I am sinful and selfish. And changing one mistake doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t make it a hundred times over again. Changing one little thing from the past to make my life just a little bit easier now, or to give myself a little peace of mind doesn’t really change anything. However, the astounding reality of God’s grace is, that despite a myriad of mistakes and far-too-frequent failure, God redeems our flawed choices into his perfect plan. And though that doesn’t physically change anything about the past, in my mind, that changes everything about the future. Because of God’s grace, no matter what I do or how much I mess up, my life is part of his perfect plan. Thats definitely something to give me some peace of mind.
There is this wedding video that has been floating around, produced by Paperback films, about a Christian couple named Amanda and Jacob. (*SPOILER ALERT* You might want to watch this first cause its so good that I would hate to ruin it for you…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)
In his wedding vow Jacob says to Amanda,
“I dont need you. Amanda, I hope you see strength in that statement. I need Christ and him alone. He is my sustenance, and my portion and my provider and my father and my friend. But I choose you. Because God loved me I have a choice. And because he gave me his wisdom I chose absolutely flawlessly. I am imperfect Mandy. But I am commited to the process of learning to become a better husband by God’s spirit.”
Firstly I just have to say, WHAT A BOSS. What kind of husband says that to his wife on his wedding day? A FREAKIN’ HOLY ONE. I am going to admit…I teared up a little on that one… I always wonder what happens to couples after I watch their wedding videos…but I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this one, though flawed like any other marriage, will be living for his kingdom. Now thats out of the way…
This man Jacob, though speaking specifically to his wife, captures the attitude we should have by God’s grace towards all of our life – not just marriage. May this be the vow of our own lives:
“Lord, I need you alone to be my portion in my life. I know I don’t need to fear about making the wrong decision in my life, because through Jesus I know that I can choose absolutely flawlessly. Though I am imperfect, I commit to living and learning by grace and by your spirit. Lord God, work in me and through me.”
Hope you can say amen to that.