I met Mike years ago at one the many forgetful places of employment I’ve had. We both worked the graveyard shift along with a cast of other characters like I had never seen before or since. When I met Mike he had been sober for a couple of years after many years of dedicated hardcore drinking. Mike was kind of like an airplane flying too close to the ground, the threat of a crash was almost inevitable. In one such incident, he had been in a relationship with a woman that racked up over 20 thousand dollars on credit cards in his name. She disappeared and he was left to deal with the financial mess. I understood he had several less than successful relationships with women. It all added to his demeanor and outlook on life and worst of all his return to drinking. Mike tended to be depressed with fits of anger mixed in. After the last relationship he was worse, more depressed and had more violent outbursts of anger. His drinking made what was bad even worse. We would play golf and fish together so I got a good view of how it was with Mike.
Like many times in life things changed and I moved on to another forgetful place of employment, so I no longer worked with Mike. We continued to get together to play a round of golf; go fishing along with some long conversations about work and Life. As the years went on Mike got more and more depressed about work and life. I tried to be a voice of encouragement to him. I tried to turn the conversation to a spiritual point, and he would tell me he didn’t want to hear any of it. Eventually, we started to lose contact with each other, which happens more often than it should. I occasionally got updates about him through other friends. His drinking was increasing and he wasn’t moving in a good direction. The last conversation I had with him I could tell he had been drinking, a lot. He wanted me to go fishing with him. I gave him some excuse that I couldn’t go and that was the last time I spoke with Mike.
Sometime later, while I was at work, I heard the news that Mike hung himself in his garage. I remember basically doing nothing the rest of that shift at work. Very difficult to be productive with tears running down my face. I couldn’t get the image of Mike hanging in his garage out of my mind. I kept thinking about what had brought him to do such a thing. It was very difficult time for me for a long while after his suicide. All the typical thoughts raced through my mind. I wondered if I would have been a better friend to Mike if that would have prevented his suicide. I thought a lot about the epic failure to better convey the message of hope and salvation in Christ.
Mike’s life certainly wasn’t a fairy tale. His death just blended into the mundane tasks of the day. It was tragic! Mike didn’t have a glimmer of hope to prevent him from the decision to take his life. I regret not being a better friend to help provide that glimmer of hope to someone who desperately needed it. Are there people in your life, similar to Mike, who desperately need the message of the Gospel and salvation? says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Regardless of our life situation, there is hope, that hope is Jesus Christ and the message needs to be shared! says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. says “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples”. I pray this year will be a year of declaring His glory and sharing the message of salvation!
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (ESV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples! (ESV)