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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The suicide next door

We had a party in our house a week ago last Tuesday!  We had cause to celebrate as a book Paul wrote was just back from the printers and it is his prettiest book yet, with lots of pictures.  It's called In His Service and Loving It and you can see it and read it on our website at under "Paul's Books".   One of our kids sat right down and tallied up which child in the family got the most pictures of him or herself in the book.  We were leaving for a trip shortly afterward, so we just invited everyone for a drop-in that Tuesday and had at least one free book per family. 
Our guest list was long and our house is small so guests, especially of the teenage variety, were spilling over into the outdoors and the park down the street.  Tim and Josh and a bunch of boys had gone to try out their friend Oliver's new bow and arrows.  After awhile, Evangel and three teenage girls went to join them.  As they were leaving, they heard a terrible scream next door.  Evangel's friend Feylin, a good friend to have around in an emergency, stuck her head over the wall to see what was wrong. 
"My daughter hanged herself!"   
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2
Did you ever ponder that?  Why is it better to go to the house of mourning?  I believe we have to have close contact with death before we really start to face our own death in the future.  I wonder how many deaths we hear of each day.  We hear of them in the news, on TV, and through friends on Facebook, but it usually takes getting quite close to us before we begin to feel it. 
There were 2 houses in Muizenberg that day, our happy party, right beside a house of mourning.  Our party kind of moved next door for awhile with coffee, blankets, and prayers and hugs.  When the emergency people got there, we had to get out of the way, and we kind of drifted back to our "party".  It was a very quiet group.  Feylin and Aquilla were the only two who actually saw the body hanging there, and it was rough on them.  Feylin helped cut it down. 
I suspect no one who was there will ever forget the Youngs' book signing party.  I don't think I ever will.  Jamie's death continues to weigh heavy on my mind.  She was only 21, but sounded like she had enough hurts for a long, long life.  Her own dad had hung himself, her grandmother was murdered, and Jamie herself had been kidnapped a few months ago and used as a sex slave in Soweto.  I wish I had helped her.  We talked twice that I can remember, but I didn't hold out the Lord Jesus.  Why do we think we have to wait?  Why do we waste time "building relationships" when people are desperate for help now?  Who knows when a person is on the brink of eternity.  We all are.  Our lives are merely vapors, floating away. 
This morning Paul preached on Psalm 90, and drew this picture (above).  "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." v.12
I hope if anyone else I know wants to commit suicide, the Lord will nudge me hard to help them, or they will just be blunt and tell me, "I need help!"   One time a girl in Pretoria told Paul, and we were able to help from afar.  I don't know how she's doing now, but she didn't kill herself then.  
Our souls don't quit being when we die.  After death there are Heaven and Hell.  The Bible says all murderers shall have their part in the lake of fire. Rev. 21:8   I don't know if taking your own life counts as murder, but I wouldn't risk it.
Jesus Christ died to save us from that lake of fire.  He holds out that gift of salvation, but we must move to take that gift, to go His way, to walk in His commandments.  "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the ends there of are the ways of death."Pr.14:12.

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