Viral Violence

This week I watched an interview of a man whose son had committed suicide a few days earlier. Clearly heartbroken at his loss, this dad was convinced that the Corona Virus was to blame indirectly, because of the quarantine and its isolating effects.

Yes, loneliness and isolation often are contributing factors of suicide, which has increased among teens. But there is a larger picture: “. . . the death rate from suicide in the U.S. since 1950 has fluctuated throughout the years, but remains virtually unchanged. In 1950, the overall death rate for suicide per 100,000 residents was 13.2 and in 2017 was reported to be 14.” (

That does not downplay this senseless loss of life, but rather forces us to look deeper for its cause. We risk overestimating ever-changing short term factors, like unemployment and drug use, while underestimating the universality of hopelessness in any decade.

Hopelessness strikes the bullied teen and the unpublished author, the homeless mother-to-be and the recording artist who has everything he ever wanted and just now has realized that it means nothing.

Despair knows no cultural, ethnic, or social barriers and can strike at any point in time in any life. It can take very little to send our mood careening into an emotional black hole from which there is no return.

But Jesus, the Hope-Giver, likewise regards no barriers and will intercede for anyone who asks, at any point in life. But we must ask. Turning to Him changes nothing in our circumstances, but everything in our perspective. We begin worshiping Creator rather than creature.

Life is precious. Don’t miss out by valuing anything more than Him. “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promises is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). It is in His faithfulness we rest, not our health, conquests, net worth, skills, or popularity. And when we love Him above all else, we truly are loving ourselves.

“Father, we rejoice in your faithfulness and hope in your promises. We thank you for drawing us to love you because you first loved us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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