In 18 months, three pastors I was connected with in some way died from suicide. Those I didn’t personally know were close to friends of mine. Much has already been written on the pressures of pastoral ministry and I am sure we here at Am I Called will add to that over the coming years, but right now I am just sad. Sad for these men, their families, churches, and friends.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned for myself too – am I at risk? Am I doing something right now that I don’t realize to trigger such a deep despair? What made these men who killed themselves different from those who endured their journey in ministry?
No answers to these questions can I find.
But I can, will, and am lamenting the fact that I have to ask them. I lament the state of the world that sadly makes suicide too common amongst pastors.
For permission and instruction for lament, I turn to the comfort of the psalms and the comfort that our loving Lord sovereignly wanted the psalms of lament to be in his unfading and powerful Word.
Would you join me in a collective lament before the Lord? Read this out loud and join your heart in harmony with all the pastors, ministry leaders, friends, family, and Christian brothers and sisters in the Lord who read this.
My disgrace is before me all day long,
and shame has covered my face,
because of the taunts of the scorner and reviler,
because of the enemy and avenger.
All this has happened to us,
but we have not forgotten you
or betrayed your covenant.
Our hearts have not turned back;
our steps have not strayed from your path.
But you have crushed us in a haunt of jackals
and have covered us with deepest darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
and spread out our hands to a foreign god,
wouldn’t God have found this out,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Because of you we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
Wake up, Lord! Why are you sleeping?
Get up! Don’t reject us forever!
Why do you hide
and forget our affliction and oppression?
For we have sunk down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up! Help us!
Redeem us because of your faithful love.
– Psalm 44:15-26 (CSB)
Redeem us, Lord, because of your faithful love.