One of the things I struggle with as a suicide loss survivor is people assessing that Tristan was an inferior Christian in some way because he chose to take his life. Most people might not even be aware that they hold that belief.   But if they think —  “my kid would never do that” — the attitude is there. I know this because I used to be one of them, naive about suicide and thinking it only happened in other families.

I’ll fight that stigma for as long as there is ignorance about suicide. But I don’t have to fight alone because I have God on my side. The God who Authored Tristan’s life understands the depths of depression and uses the same words about it that Tristan used.

 

…my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints. 

You hold my eyelids open;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

“Will the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

4b …there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.

This is the language of the depressed: forever, never again, forever-ceased, for all time, none, forgotten, shut up, no one.

David felt it. God recorded it. And God called David “a man after His own heart.”

God understands depression, but what about the sin of taking your own life? That is not mentioned here. Did you know that Job, “the most righteous man on earth” talked about taking his own life?

15 so that I would choose strangling
    and death rather than my bones.
16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever.

God shows us in His word that even the most righteous man on earth contemplated suicide in his weakened state. Tristan fought with mental illness just like someone would fight with cancer. In the end, the illness won. Yes, it was a sin to commit self-murder but given Job, how can any of us hold ourselves being above that sin?

God knew Tristan’s way. He understood him. Our world, the Church, and some in my community may never understand suicide. But I take comfort in the fact that God does and God forgives. 

Psalm 77, 142, 143, Job 7