A young man committed suicide on Sunday. This could be any Sunday in any place in America – I mean, this stuff happens, right – but there was a sad twist to the story.
The young man was a Pastor. His name was Teddy Parker, Jr.
As a pastor, myself, my heart goes out to his wife and children, his parents, his friends, and his church family. I am praying fervently for them all.
Here’s the thing that hurts so badly here – the preacher of the Gospel is supposed to be a messenger of hope.
I ask the question, where was his hope? I mean, we can respond with the Scripture that has become a religious cliché, “I look to the hills from where my hope comes from.”
According to a Barna survey, 70% of senior pastors say they have no close friends. A pastor friend of mine said that the Pastor is the only profession who is expected to suffer silently. And because religion has sold this false notion that suffering for Christ somehow equates to piety, suffer they do.
Apparently, this young man had no one he felt he could reach out to. He couldn’t see as far as the hills.
I make it a point, as part of my personal ministry, to reach out to pastors and leaders. I will pick up the phone and check on them. I will make myself available as a sounding board or a listening ear. Why? I do it because I believe someone needs to! I don’t do this for accolades and I don’t take a dime for it. I do it because I, myself, have friends. Good friends. My friends tell me when they think I’m spot-on about something or if I’ve gotten completely sideways. I thank God for their camaraderie and counsel.
I don’t care who you are, how anointed you think you are, or how powerful people perceive you to be, you need friends!
I’ve also heard pastors say, today – in the aftermath of this tragedy – that pastors suffer unduly from mistreatment by congregants. This is true but it is only one lane of the proverbial two-way street – there is a lot of browbeating emanating from the pulpit, today, as well.
Here’s the problem: For centuries, religion has taught that God will depart from you – that the Holy Spirit would leave you as David feared. But the truth is, God will never leave nor forsake you. Jesus gave us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for this express purpose.
There’s an old religious cliché that says “You can trust God even when you cannot trace him.”
If you are born-again, you don’t have to trace or track the Holy Spirit any more than you have to track or trace your own liver. He’s in there and He will never leave nor forsake you.
When I read the following quote, I realize this young man bought into a horrific religious lie and it cost him his life.
“You know a lot of times, we feel like when we are going through stuff and it’s a lot that there’s nobody there with us. And guess what? God intends for you to feel that way. I know y’all been saved a long time. I know you super spiritual and you know you real holy but there are times in your life, not y’all but me. There are times in my life when I’m going through some stuff where I can’t feel God there,” he confessed.
“I try to pray but I don’t feel like God is hearing me. I try to serve but I don’t feel like God is using me. And there are times in your life when God purposely withdraws from you, he doesn’t withdraw for the sake of leaving you but he withdraws so you can grow and mature,” he added, in a show of encouragement.
When I read this, I had to fight to keep my breakfast down. If you’re inclined, you can read the article I got this from, here.
It is not the will of God for anyone to be alone, much less suffer that way. The Kingdom of God is in us to connect us that we may be equipped, encouraged, and edified.
Time to send this notion that God will leave or forsake you, and all other similar religious lies, down hell’s toilet – before they cost another precious life.
© 2013 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)