Pray for someone.

Pray for someone today whom you know struggles with depression. ~ Terry Powell

Thoughts of Suicide

I pleaded with him.

To no avail, as it turned out.

Ronnie * (not his real name) and I were on the patio behind my house. He was a 31-year-old divorcee with two young girls who adored him. Chronically depressed, he had tried a couple times to take his own life.

“Next time you think of suicide,” I said, “consider the consequences. Think of your girls and how your death would cause them grief. Don’t just think of how to end your own pain and despair. If you love them—and I know you do—don’t take the easy way out, for their sake.”

I wasn’t glib in telling him that. Though I’ve never tried to take my own life, I’ve yearned for death many times during episodes of depression. I’ve even prayed for God to take my life while I slept.

What keeps me from following through on suicidal thoughts, I told Ronnie—other than the grace of God—is not only the pain I would cause my loved ones, but what I would be modeling for them about how to handle despair. You see, I explained, when my grown sons or only grandchild face future difficulty—a tragic loss, career setback, or severance of a special relationship—I don’t want my past suicide to increase the likelihood that they will choose that alternative. I don’t want them to think, “Dad (or “Papaw”) avoided more pain by killing himself. Maybe that’s a good option for me.”

“I’ll go through hell inside instead of making that tragic choice easier for them,” I assured Ronnie.

If only he had listened.

Two years later, his next attempt succeeded. I can’t begin to grasp the depth of his angst. But oh, how I’ve lamented his rash decision to take those pills after an argument with a girlfriend. Though I’ve shed my share of tears over Ronnie, my primary memory of the funeral is seeing the tears of his daughters, ages 14 and 11.

May God give those girls grace if they are ever tempted to handle their pain the same way.

This life isn’t about me or what would comfort me or end my pain. It’s about God, and His call for me to serve Him. Since I’m His property, He, not me, must decide when my life should end. And this life is also about those brave few who really love me.

But following this counsel is easier said than done, even for myself.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

*Originally published, February, 2015

Dr. Terry Powell

Dr. Terry Powell

Author and Professor

Terry is Faculty Emeritus at Columbia International University, and now Adjunct Professor in Church Ministries. Married 50 years, he has two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson. Terry writes about faith and depression at Penetrating the Darkness. His latest book, Oh God, I’m Dying! How God Redeems Pain for Our Good and for His Glory tells of God's sustaining grace in the life of co-author, Dr. Mark Smith, an effective Christian university president despite suffering daily pain from a near-fatal accident.

More Posts From Terry

Thermometer of the Heart and Grace-Filled Speech

THERMOMETER OF THE HEART   What factors fight against our grace-motivated effort to tame our tongues and use grace-filled speech during our conversations?   An escalation of pain, fatigue, or depression can result in a greater vulnerability to complain or display an edgy tone of voice...


Thermometer of the Heart


Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression

Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression

Zack Eswine

Fresh insights about Charles Spurgeon’s recurring battles with depression and the remedies that sustained the great 19th century British preacher.

Spurgeon is quoted concerning the nature and complexity of depression, and strategies for relieving it that he found helpful. The author uses Spurgeon to show how God’s Word sustains in the midst of depression.


DISCOVERING HOPE: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

Cindee Snider Re

This 10-chapter study invites participants to experience radical hope and compassionate change in a life with chronic illness.

No matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, deep the valley, or how long the winter, there is hope.

There is always hope.


Depression • Longing for light in the darkness.


Longing for light in the darkness. 

Depression isn’t a surprise to God and doesn’t disqualify us from making an impact for the Kingdom. Hold onto hope. God is here.


Hold Onto Possibility Everyday - Ask. Listen. Love. Prevent Suicide One Precious Life at a Time.

Suicide Prevention

Hold Onto Possibility Everyday

Are you thinking about ending your life? Reach out for support. Are you concerned about a friend or loved one ending his or her life? Ask. Listen. Love.

Axe Head Prayer

Axe Head Prayer

Redeeming your spiritual edge.


As we open our hands in surrender, speaking honestly with God about where we lost our edge, what feels like loss actually draws us deeper into God.



Thank you for signing up!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This