Having finished the series of posts on the Millennium, we are now going to visit a number–but only a fraction–of common deceptions within our current Laodicean Church. Please feel free to disagree with me. But I hope readers will search the Scriptures for themselves to discover the truth. The first of these deceptions concerns Purgatory, Perdition, and baptism of the dead. To launch these next posts, however, I have an experience in my life’s most recent chapter to relate.
Last week another friend of mine committed suicide. The soft version of this is ‘took his own life’. Like my other friend, Dave, featured in my post by that name: Dave. What did I say back then? That I never wanted it to happen again. Unlike Dave, this friend was a Christian. Also unlike Dave he had been threatening to commit suicide for some time, at least several weeks, if not many years. Furthermore, unlike Dave again, we–all his family, friends, and church–knew. It isn’t like we did nothing. We prayed, counselled him, visited him in hospital where he was having treatment. And I for one knew that if my friend persisted with his threats, Father would eventually remove His hand from this son of Adam and give him what he wanted. So when that happened we all chose to think, well, it was HIS choice. Wasn’t it?
As I contemplated the whys and wherefores of my friend’s suicide, I was reminded of another suicidal person I had met in my life. Wherein the outcome was very different indeed.
It was about two and a half years ago. My two teenage sons and I were rock climbing one night at our local area – cliffs on the riverbank opposite our city. My youngest was on the rock at the time, with me belaying him. We were surrounded by friends and members of our climbing club. Suddenly we all heard a loud THUMP! as something hit the ground nearby. My immediate thought was: I HOPE that is a backpack falling off the cliffs above, and not a person! Because, you see, being a nurse, I knew I would be one of two of us there that night legally responsible for the physical well-being of anyone injured in the vicinity. I DID NOT want to have to do mouth-to-mouth on someone. I did not wish to see someone crushed, broken, and twisted after plummeting 20 metres from the cliff top. And I most certainly didn’t want to meet a dead person that night.
After a few seconds during which we all held our breaths whilst craning our necks trying to peer through the darkness in the relevant direction, we heard someone say, “It’s a person!”
That’s when I started pleading with Father. “PLEASE, FATHER, DON’T LET THEM DIE! PLEASE DON’T LET THEM DIE!” As I do so often when I really, really, desperately WANT something from Him. I yelled up at Gabriel on the cliff face, “Sit back, Gabriel, you are coming down!” I lowered him in about 10 seconds flat, ripped off the rope and ran. Dave had got there first. He is a doctor. A member of my club, he had been belaying near me. The man was lying about seven metres away from the cliff, so we knew he had launched himself off, probably after a run up, and had not fallen or slipped from the top. He was drunk; we could smell it on his breath. He shouldn’t have been alive.
I kept pleading, “PLEASE DON’T LET HIM DIE.” Not the least because, as a Christian, I believe suicides go straight to Hell with little or no chance EVER of parole (that is, they will go to the Lake of Fire after it is formed in the future. Mind you, I also HOPE this is not true). Our cliff-jumper looked as white as a sheet. I suppose anybody WOULD who’d just landed on the ground after jumping off a 20 metre cliff! His pulse was so thready it was barely there. No movement. He was JUST breathing.
After a little while, me continuing to plead with Father for his life, the man’s pulse started to strengthen. And he started to moan. Then move just a little bit. We were talking to him. Ascertaining his injuries. He was surprisingly unscathed, with a head injury, a fractured ankle, but no blood or obvious deformities. He was on his back, and I couldn’t imagine how he landed in such a perfect position, so far out from the cliff and under the railing running along the roadway two inches from his head.
We put a warming sheet over him; someone’s ground-sheet for their rope. They never did reclaim that sheet. Said he didn’t want it anymore. After a little while another doctor arrived who had been riding past on his bicycle. An ICU registrar. The would-be suicide victim probably never knew how blessed he was that night.
While we awaited the ambulance which, as usual, seemed to take an eternity, I had a look at the man’s licence and mobile phone to try to find his name. My sons and others had gathered his belongings from the bottom of the cliff and brought them to me. It all must have tipped out of his pocket as the man fell. With this we were able to call him by his name.
There was an unread message on his phone. It too was a plea–not to jump. His previous message to its recipient was a threat to kill himself. I rang the number. A young woman answered. I knew her name from the contacts list. I asked her if she knew such-and-such, the jumper, and if she was alone. No, she wasn’t alone, her boyfriend was with her, but she was our patient’s ex-girlfriend. I told her what had happened. She started screaming hysterically and put her boyfriend on the line. The boyfriend was calm. Later I rang them back to tell them to which hospital the man was being taken by the ambulance. I couldn’t bring myself to ring his mother. Hopefully the ex-girlfriend would ring her, I thought.
We heard later he lived. I prayed earnestly for his soul, that he would be saved. There is little doubt in my mind that man would have died without my prayer. Maybe others’ prayers too. So why did this stranger live and my friend die?
At my friend’s memorial service last Friday, for his body was not released until some days later, some several hundred mourners gathered to remember him and honour his life. A bunch of people who had lost something precious. So many people, all sad. Why then didn’t he know how precious he was? Why is it often only at someone’s farewell from living we clearly see how loved a person is? Why didn’t I plead for him as I pleaded for the other that night? Why didn’t I go to him and plead to his face not to do such a dreadful thing?
I am so guilty of not loving others enough. Of loving myself too much. This morning I woke up while it was still dark. I had fallen asleep in my prayer chair as I pleaded for my friend’s soul, just as I had pleaded for the other man’s soul that night. After a short time of prayer and thinking, I jumped up and sent another very much alive friend an email to tell him how special something was we had shared the day before.
Later in the morning, after my youngest son–whom I call Warrior–had gone to work, I rang him to tell him how precious he is and to never forget it. That day I looked for every opportunity to talk to, build up, thank, compliment, or even just smile at everyone I met.
In the afternoon I texted my estranged prodigal daughter she is precious beyond imagination. In the early evening I visited my hospitalized elderly uncle, washed his dentures, and prayed for him. It was only the week before Father had answered a long-time prayer of mine by allowing me to lead him to his Saviour, Yahshua Messiah.
On my way home I stopped to ask the driver of a car broken down if he was okay. He was, and waved me on as he spoke to the breakdown service on his mobile phone. At home my other son rang from the cattle property in the remote far north on which he works, so I took the opportunity to ensure he too knows he is precious and loved beyond belief. His nickname is Fearless, and I call him by it all the time now.
Before Friday morning I would hardly have done any of these things. Mostly I rush through my days thinking about what I need or want. It has taken two people I know and love who have committed suicide and one whom I didn’t know to wake me up. And plead with YHWH who is Love personified to PLEASE make me as loving as Him. To also plead, “PLEASE, Father, KEEP me awake.” Oh, and to tell you, my precious readers, how priceless you are. And not just because you read my blog.