by Rob Cook
Hey friends, let’s get serious for a moment. Five-and-a-half years ago my brother killed himself. On the third anniversary of his death, my 19-year-old son, Robbie, killed himself. We were not aware how much my brother’s death troubled him, because Robbie held it all in. My son, Austin, turned to alcohol to numb the pain, and 23 months to the day Robbie died, my son, Austin died from a fentanyl-laced marijuana cigarette. Yesterday, I learned that a good friend found his wife hanging. And just moments ago I found out another friend’s best friend took his own life. This is an epidemic that will only get worse.
I’m a pastor and after losing a brother and two sons, I suffer from depression. People who believe in Jesus suffer from depression. I wear a mask of happiness, but truthfully, I’m always sad. The thing that keeps me going that prevents me from giving up and ending my life? The strength and peace beyond all understanding that God gives me.
So while I suffer from depression, it doesn’t mean I have no faith or joy. Serving God is not an exemption from suffering, trials, and depression. In my depression I have hope. We need to release hope in a hopeless world. That is what I want to bring to others who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts… hope.
Yo listen up, suicide has become a real epidemic
Don’t matter the color of your skin or your academic
People losing hope has totally gone pandemic
Sick of turning on the news and hearing the statistics
People saying it’s a selfish act,
but that line of thinking’s just too simplistic
It’s not as easy as rattling off logistics
Enemy’s plan is to kill off a whole generation
He’s been spreading lies across the nation
People taking their own lives out of desperation
When we gonna shine the one and only light
When we gonna talk about the one who can set all things right
It’s about having faith in what’s out of sight
Don’t know about you but I can’t hear anymore
I’m gonna tell em bout the one who’s knocking at the door
They need to let Him in cause there’s so much more
The enemy of their soul is a lion a thief and a liar
He wants to pull them down with him into eternal fire
But your Father’s gotta different plan and desire
Gotta keep fighting the good fight, don’t give in
Don’t listen to the voices of division
Look to the one who gave his life and trust him
If Jesus isn’t your friend or you don’t believe in God, if you’re depressed or feeling suicidal—call a friend and ask for help.
This article first appeared in The Havok Journal on July 8, 2018.
Rob Cook founded 252 Underground Youth Ministry and has worked with teens since 1996. Rob believes, “Jesus called us to be fishers of men, not cleaners of fish.” Robert’s debut book, REGENER8 earned him a writer of the year award in 2012 and REGENER8 remained in the top 100 on Amazon for 9 months in 2015. His second book ILLUMIN8, earned him a writer of the year 2016 award. Check out Rob’s not-just-for-teens books: Regener8: Straight Talk for Teens, Illumin8: Straight Talk for Teens, Youthanize: The Death of Traditional Youth Ministry.