I just read that gun deaths in the US reached a record high last year. Almost 40,000 people died in gun violence in 2017, according to data analyzed by the CDC. That’s the most gun-related deaths in almost 40 years (dating back to 1979, the year firearm deaths started to be tracked).
analysis also showed that 23,854 people died from suicide by guns in 2017, the highest number in 18 years. That’s a difference of more than 7,000 deaths compared with 16,599 suicide deaths by guns in 1999.
When the data are analyzed by race and gender, they show that white men made up 23,927 of the total 39,773 firearm deaths last year, including suicides.
What do they classify is the main reason for those suicide deaths? “Deaths of Despair”.
Deaths of D E S P A I R …..
Everyone has bad times they will be going through. Health concerns, deaths, job loss, marriage and relationship loss, addiction, bullying in school…they are all main things in your life that may have affected you in the past or the future.
If they say a great percentage of these deaths were due to despair, I started thinking, “where to people turn with such despair?”. Where do they turn if they don’t have friends and family they can turn to, or what if they refuse to turn to those people. There are plenty of suicides, gun related or otherwise, that even the closest people to the victims,had no idea what they were thinking until it was too late.
Then I started wondering, since the greatest percentage of these gun suicide deaths were due to despair, would the number be as high if people went back to the church. If they had that true faith in God that he will take care of us all, and making it through hard times in life only makes us stronger, Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”.
Everyone knows numbers for all churches are down, down, down. Churches are closing left and right, not only because there is not enough money to keep them open, but there is not enough people to make services worthwhile. So, the challenge abounds…how to keep spiritual growth thriving in your church, and how to keep the doors open in these non-religious times.
I know for me, if something bad happens, I turn to my religious beliefs, and they comfort me knowing all things are meant to happen the way they do, and that God is right by my side all the way. But what do non believers do, when something bad happens? Where do they turn? What if they don’t have any family or friends to turn to? Do they bear the worry all alone? For some there is no other way to go, but to end their life. Imagine being that lonely and in despair, you actually end your own life? That is despair.
And then there are those instances where an individual was in so much despair, they got their hands on a gun one way or another, and decided to take a whole bunch of people with them when they die? In some cases, they had no idea who those people were, they just apparently wanted someone else to be just as miserable as they were. It makes you wonder, if that person would have been in so much despair if they had the love of God by their side? Really believed in God. Believed that God puts you in these positions to make you stronger. Your belief in God would tell you to have a conscience, and know that doing something like that, killing an innocent person is wrong. I think another main issue is, they have no conscience, no belief, no direction in life.
The trend today is, families do not attend church anymore, throughout the entire US. In the Northeast, it even worse than other parts of the country. Peoples lives are too busy with other stuff. Sports for the kids, traveling, yard work, working, or just plain relaxing. Years ago, church was forefront and center. Nothing took the place of going to church. Today, if anyone asks me to do anything on Sunday, I say sure, after church. The world if full of trends. I’m just afraid that pretty soon there wont be any church to go to in times of despair. And there will be much fewer pastors to assist us with our spiritual needs. And that the “trend” for going to church takes too long to come back around.
Isaiah 35:4 – Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”