Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Recently I sat visiting with a long time friend of mine. He is 79 years old and one of my dearest friends and a wise counselor. He has become part of our family as we invite him to all our family gatherings. He and I have had many engaging conversations and I felt, before our last visit, that I knew him fairly well. Turns out there was a difficult period of his life that he had not disclosed to me. A time when he was so distraught he attempted suicide by trying to asphyxiate himself. His plan went awry and he took that as a sign that God wanted him to live and he never attempted that again.
I wish I could describe the feelings I felt as my dear friend sat revealing the deepest wounds of his soul to me? I felt honored and privileged to have won his respect and trust. He is not a man who is frivolous with his affections and he is not someone who whines about his difficulties, even now as his health ebbs. We have laughed and we have argued and we have debated because he has many differing opinions about the world but we both agree that Jesus is the Way. Often I have vented to him when I had no one else, or at least that I trust as much as I do this man with the secrets of the weight of my responsibilities. He has given me wise counsel and always he makes time for me. He is one of the many treasured friends I have made along the way and I truly cannot imagine my journey without him?
As I sat listening I could not but help from thinking ‘What if?’ What if he had been successful? How different the landscape of my reality would look? So many blessings gone and never to be experienced and suddenly I realized how grateful I was that God intervened in his life and I was filled with overflowing appreciation that my friend has gone on to live a long and meaningful life!
I remembered a time in my own life when I had also attempted suicide and here the two of us shared the sorrow and the hope we have in spite of our past disappointments. I never imagined in that desperate moment that I would be where I am today nor did I believe life could be so full of beauty and grace. I am here today having survived insurmountable odds and I know it is because God is a merciful Savior who replaced all that pain with friends and an expectation I could not see through the veil of tears I once cried. God had a plan all along and I am so glad my friend is still here as we share so many things in common and the greatest is that we both once despaired of life itself and we survived to find life and life abundantly. Not in wealth or fame but in two old friends whose journey was not cut short by a desperate act in a fleeting moment but rather we were mercifully spared to find new promise and new hopes that neither of us could see or have imagined at the time, but it was all still there just waiting to be revealed, one day and one step at a time.
I am writing to someone tonight and I do not know who you are, BUT GOD DOES! He sees you in your brokenness and He knows the thoughts your thinking and tonight He wants me to tell you to live. Live to find love and friendship. Live to serve others and live to laugh and feel and dream. Don’t let one moment of one experience in one small portion of your life be the end because ITS NOT! There is more and life comes in seasons and its never always winter anymore then its always Spring and it takes all the seasons to validate the whole gift of life. Finally, there is help and you just never know how your story and the willingness and courage you display telling someone else your struggles, might just be all the reason they need to try again. And that makes it all worth enduring when we live to help others live too, there is no greater feeling in all the world! So, if your contemplating hurting yourself, please don’t! God has a plan and its a GOOD ONE! From one weary heart to another, live! You will be glad you did!