Suicide Never Ends Pain

Does the dark choice truly work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those who know me know that I am hardcore into Christian apologetics. Others also know that I am a hardcore gamer. I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. Growing up hasn’t changed that. My wife and I are both gamers and when we turn on YouTube on the TV here, we often like to watch a channel like Game Theory, where we look at video games from a very intellectual perspective examining theories.

Yet yesterday I came home from picking up some prescriptions for her to see her depressed. One of the theorists had killed himself. MatPat who is the main mind behind the channel has a very sad video up about what happened. There are also numerous references at the bottom for people wanting help.

It’s hard to think of people in history of whom people will say “Life is so much better since they killed themselves.” If you think of someone, it would have to be someone like Hitler or some other evil tyrant. Usually, the pain never really ends. It just goes on to everyone else. Years later, people still having gaping holes in their heart and try to think about what they could have done.

The thing is that when we do evil, evil seems to increase. Like a cancer, introduce some evil into a good system, and the evil just multiplies. The same is true of goodness. Share some goodness with those around you, and there will be more goodness spread.

This is a terribly evil choice. Those who do this are sadly caught in their own world and it can be hard to get out and no one’s denying that, but it’s at the same time saying that no one else is worth it or nothing else in all of creation is good enough. It is the ultimate insult to all that is and ultimately then, to God Himself.

Perhaps that’s why in Romans 1 not being thankful is one of the great wrongs listed. Could it be all that is really needed is to sit down and write out the things that someone is thankful for? To really sit and think about them? Each one of those is a great might not have been. None of those were required to exist. That belongs only to God.

Moving back to what Matt describes in the video, he talks about how this was around the birth of his first child. No doubt, that is to be a happy event, but will there always be a shadow hanging over it? Will there be a shadow every time a new video is made?

I don’t believe Matt ever told how his friend killed himself, which is another good thing. Saying how it is done often only leads to copycat crimes. Unfortunately, every case of someone doing it only makes it more likely for those listening to consider the same thing. As said, it multiplies.

What about those of us who aren’t like this? Watch yourself, especially around people who have that tendency. Little things you say could have serious repercussions. Pause to consider how that thought could affect the person. Try to show your love for them intensely. Sometimes all they need is to know that you love them. Never assume that they do know it. Always act as if they didn’t and seek to build that up.

Especially for those of us who are Christians, show Jesus to them. Let the love of Christ penetrate them. If they see people who they believe to be strong Christians living in a way that is not Christian, then what will they think of Christ? Seek to show Him best.

Please if you are considering this, reach out and get help.

If you are in need of help, please reach out: US: 1-800-784-2433, 1-800-273-8255, 1-866-4-U-TREVOR Canada: +1 416-408-4357, +1 514-723-4000 UK: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90, +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 International List: https://bit.ly/Ka8gdC

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Tribute To Steve

What difference can a life make? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some of you might have wondered where Deeper Waters has been. I did not do the podcasts these past two weeks due to emergencies that came up and took a break from the blog. On Monday, we received word that our friend Steve who we knew had terminal cancer was on his last legs. We had planned to go back to Knoxville on Thursday, but we went Monday instead. We got back just last Saturday, the longest we’d been away from our home like that.

Let me tell you a bit about Steve first. I met him and his wife Mickey at our church in Knoxville, The Point. We were part of a couples group and in came this couple I’d never seen. This small blond woman and this big guy who looked like a barroom bouncer covered in tattoos.

Okay. This is new.

Now I grew up in a culture where this didn’t fit with me, but I have learned to unthink some things and so I decided to have an open mind. We slowly got to know this couple. At one point, they said they like politics, but they don’t talk about it because it becomes such a heated subject then. I figured “Well we’re in the South and most of us are conservative, so these must be some liberals.”

And as time went on, I found out I was wrong. These two were just as conservative as I am. They are great Reagan conservatives. We formed a good friendship with them. They even came to our house. Steve told us about his story growing up and when Mickey and Allie did some cooking together, we put our time to more beneficial matters.

That’s right. We watched Smallville together!

Some time later, we learned that Steve had stage 4 esophagus cancer. Now I have to tell you Steve is quite likely the toughest guy I know. I was sure if anyone could beat cancer, it would be Steve. We would see him go to the hospital going in and out of chemo. They would try to bring cats for him as well because this big tough guy had a kitten fetish. Even if it was a stuffed kitten, he loved it.

Steve was also a selfless guy. Allie had been going through a hard time before we knew how bad Steve was this month and she called to talk to Mickey and Steve even with his cancer was just asking “Is Allie okay?” She was amazed that he was still focused on helping her with her by comparison small problems. That’s Steve for you.

When we went back a couple of weeks ago, the big tough guy I knew was unrecognizable. I don’t know if he heard anything that I said to him. It was like there was just a shell there at this point and we spent our time with Mickey offering her our comfort and support. At times I would go out to the car alone such as when I had to deliver some clothes to the church for her and just cry a bit on my own before I drove on.

In fact, Mickey wanted to see if Steve’s shoes he’d got would fit me. They didn’t, but honestly, I was kind of relieved they didn’t. I did not think that I was at all worthy to wear Steve’s shoes. I still do not.

In Knoxville, we waited. We knew the time would be soon, and it put us in an odd situation. You see, you always hope that a miracle will take place, while still knowing that the person is in great pain and maybe the best thing to do is to just let it all come to a close.

On August 12th, it did.

We were some of the first to receive the call early in the morning. I was saddened, but at the same time relieved that the battle was over. Still, there was a sense about it that it was unreal. There was a part of me that was always wanting to say “Surely the story is not supposed to be like this.”

C.S. Lewis has written that in the face of evil, it’s not the case that the great fear is that God does not exist. It is the great fear that God exists and you are about to see what He is really like. Why Steve of all people? Why? As I told my pastor that week, there are times I hate being in ministry. Especially since I have to go out and still defend the goodness of God. Don’t take me wrong. I definitely believe that God is good, but sometimes the emotions can seem to overtake the reason.

At the funeral, I was one who came up to speak in the sharing section sharing briefly some things that I’ve shared here. I sat down and from time to time I’d lose it a bit when I saw a picture and had to pull myself together. I remember at one point during a meal time that I went into the room where the body had been and saw nothing there.

It was then that I practically could imagine in my mind a sort of battle taking place. As if I wanted to take on death itself saying that it had come for the wrong person. Is it ridiculous to think one could fight death like that? Yes, but I think we can all understand where I’m coming from with that.

I was also an honorary pallbearer and so I was at the graveside service. Even there, I had to hold things in. I was thankful for the bishop who spoke there in mentioning the resurrection. That is the fact that changes everything. It is a fact also all too often not mentioned at funerals. We talk about Heaven, but we don’t talk about the resurrection. Guess which one Paul talked about the most.

There is an emptiness here always. We still keep in touch with Mickey and plan to do so always. Mickey is still a great encouragement to my wife, but I think the greatest honor we could give Steve would be to live our lives accordingly in honor of the Christ He loves. I’m also often trying to speak of Steve not in past tense but in present tense, because it’s not as if Steve no longer exists. He exists in a different way now. He and Mickey may be separated now, but it is a temporal separation.

If you would like to see Steve and sign his guestbook, for the time being you can go here. On the show, I had meant to do a call for donations if that came up. Since I was not able to do the show, I would ask per request of Mickey that if anyone wanted to send something to help, they would prefer to have something done in Steve’s name for the Disabled Veterans of America.

Steve. We miss you greatly. Even as I write this, there is a great sadness. I hope my life is lived in such a way to honor the Christ you always seek to honor.

(For all interested, my wife Allie’s blog on Steve can be found here.)

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Was Jesus Scared?

Did our Lord have fear? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my wife wrote an excellent blog about fear. In it, she raised the question about Jesus in the garden. Did Jesus have fear as he knelt and asked that the cup pass through Him? I think she handled it well from a practical perspective in that she did make sure to emphasize that Jesus was fully human. One of the great dangers of our modern age is that we have so emphasized the deity of Christ that we have often forgotten His humanity.

Still, what was going on in the Garden? Did Jesus have fear? If we look at the account in Matthew, we can see that Jesus had sorrow. Sorrow itself is not a sin to have. There are some things that should make us sad. We can know how sorrowful Jesus was since He was sorrowful to the point of death. This is the lowest despair you can be in.

And what was it that Jesus was not wanting to experience at this time? Now some might say the crucifixion, and of course we can certainly all agree that “Being crucified” is not on our bucket lists. Still, was Jesus wanting to avoid strong physical pain, even intense physical pain like a crucifixion, and that sorrow of undergoing that was what was ripping His soul apart?

I don’t think so.

I think what Jesus was not wanting to undergo at the time was in some sense a separation from the Father. Jesus did not want to have to experience bearing the sins of the world on Him. It’s a lesson to us that Jesus considered His relationship with the Father so serious that He did not want to in any way bear anything that would be contrary to that relationship. Now what exactly happened when that took place? That is for another blog and something I still think about, but today we are talking about the garden.

The difference in Jesus’s action was that He said not what He willed, but what the Father willed. Jesus wanted to avoid the cross and that was certainly not a wrong desire, but if it had to be that way, He was willing to go through with it. That is what makes the difference. It’s okay to not want to go through some things, but ultimately, what shows Jesus’s character in the face of all of this was that He chose the will of God over His own will.

Keep in mind also that Jesus is to be our example in the New Testament and we are to walk as He walked. That means that we are to choose the desires of the Father over our desires. Now that might be something we consider if we have to face something like being willing to die for Christ, but could it be the greatest challenge in the world is not dying for Christ but living for Him? If you are willing to say that you will not recant and be killed, your struggle ends pretty quickly. What about the struggle of today?

What about the struggle to be a good spouse to the person you’re married to? What about the struggle to raise your children in the fear of the Lord? What about the struggle to live within your financial means? What about the struggle to trust God in all things? What about the struggle to remove evil from your own heart?

Jesus in all of His life gave to the will of the Father every time and lived accordingly. Now to be sure, He did not face everything that we faced, but He is no stranger to temptation either and He knew what it meant. He also knew what it meant to succeed and calls us to do the same.

Jesus was willing to die for the will of God. The question for us today is if we’re willing to live for the same.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Is Required For Happiness?

Do we have what we need to be happy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We could say that happiness is a modern fixation in some ways. If we just say it like that, we would be wrong. Aristotle said that happiness was what we were all seeking. What is different is what was meant by happiness. For Aristotle, it largely consisted of your reputation and how you were seen by others. Aristotle did not believe in an afterlife and yet said the happiness of a person could be changed after they died. Why? You could have descendants that are horrible people and ruin your reputation. This is a happiness that is really based on the way others perceive you and if you’re spoken well of in society.

Fast forward about 2,300-2,400 years.

Today, we have the self-esteem movement. You have to feel good in yourself. You have to be able to look at yourself and think you are a good person. We are all raised being taught that we are special and we have this idea that life should work out a certain way for us. Note also that the emphasis is on how we feel. How we feel is really one of the most fluid and changing things about us, and yet we base so much on it. You can go from feeling miserable to feeling happy very quickly and vice-versa. We often say that we should not care what other people think about us, but in reality, we all care, and to some extent we should.

Now if we’re talking about that stranger on the internet who doesn’t know you from Adam and makes one statement to you, yeah. You might not want to take that too seriously. If we’re talking about people who are close to you, yeah. You might want to take that seriously. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these people are always right, but you should heed them more. It’s one reason I’ve surrounded myself with some people who I know will shoot me straight and when they say something, I work to take what they say seriously. Number one of course is that if my wife says something to me about me, I try to take it seriously.

To get back to self-esteem again, if what we are going to do is to look at how we feel at the time to determine our happiness, we’re going to be in trouble. Now there is nothing wrong with feeling happy, just as there is nothing wrong with feeling love. There is also at times nothing wrong with feeling sorrow. If there are times that we do not feel sorrow, we have to ask if there is something wrong with us.

In fact, I needed to take a little break at this point so I went to scroll Facebook some and saw a news story about a reporter and a photographer who were in a live news broadcast when shots rang out. The story does not end well. Both of them were killed. I saw their pictures up there and a message that they are loved. You know what? That leaves me with sorrow. These people were robbed from their families and other loved ones through no fault of their own. This day will be a tragedy for many people until the day that they die. I have sorrow there and I rightly should. Unfortunately, most likely I’ll just have sorrow but won’t do much about it to help, although perhaps just writing this can raise awareness.

So yes, we should feel sorrow at times, but we can’t always control that we’ll feel happy. If our feelings were so under our control, we would just make ourselves feel happy. What is more under control is our thinking and rarely do we do anything with that. Our feelings should follow our thoughts. Usually it’s the other way around. As long as we do that, we are always living in reactionary mode. What do we do when the feelings are too intense? At times, just let them run their course. If you encounter someone who has lost a loved one to death recently, don’t try to reason them out of their feeling. They should feel it now. Let them cry it out of themselves or whatever they need to do since people grieve in different ways. Of course, they should not be allowed any self-harm of any sort, but let them just feel.

Now when we’re ready to think about these matters, let’s start thinking about that happiness. As Christians, we should take this extremely seriously. We are supposed to bring a message to the world that we in fact call “Good news.” Is it really good? Do we really believe it to be good? What do we need to be happy? There are many things that we want, but what is a necessity? What is it that without this thing, we absolutely cannot be happy.

Let me start with my own self as an example. When it comes to loves in my life outside of Christ, my wife comes to mind first. Do I love her? Absolutely. Do I want to grow old with her? You bet. Does she make me happy? Yep. However, I have to ask “Is my wife absolutely necessary for my happiness?” No. She’s not. If I say she is, I’ve in fact made her an idol. In fact, she and I have talked about this. We’ve talked about people who say Heaven would not be Heaven unless their spouse was there with them. There’s no problem in wanting them there with you. You should. What the problem is is in making them a necessity.

How about knowledge and books? Yeah. I really enjoy what I do with apologetics. I would never want in my old age to lose my thinking capacity. I remember telling my father-in-law that I figure in our position, we never retire. We could never stop doing apologetics. It’s just what we love. Indeed it is, but is it necessary for our happiness? No. After all, when we’re around the throne of Jesus in eternity, we will not be debating with atheists I think on apologetics. We will not have room for doubt. Now there will still be knowledge and learning, but knowledge for the sake of knowledge is not what we need.

How about family and friends? These are great, but they fall under the same rubric as the spouse. You should celebrate all the ones that you have, but you must realize that your happiness cannot be dependent on them. To do so is still idolatry.

So what is the one foundation whereby a man can rest and have happiness? It would need to be something that can last, let’s go with eternal. Something that is consistent. This would be something that would not change. It would need to be something without limits because all other joys we have in this life get exhausted after awhile. What could that be? Only one fits the bill. God.

And since God is best revealed in Jesus, Jesus is essential to that. We have the whole of the blessed Trinity to keep us happy and if we cannot find happiness in God, we will not find it anywhere else. There is no other place that can give that kind of happiness. We can find all manner of little joys to keep us going from time to time, but nothing that will truly last. We will be wandering without a foundation.

So if we have that happiness, what do we do with everything else? We celebrate it. Your spouse is not necessary for your happiness, but God gave them to you. Celebrate them. Your passions and interests are not necessary, but celebrate them. Your family and friends are not necessary, but God gave them. Celebrate them. This gets us into thankfulness again. Be thankful realizing that every good thing in your life is a sign of the grace of God.

What happens when suffering comes? It’s okay to mourn. Just don’t stay there. Realize even your mourning and sorrow is to be different. When we lose a loved one to death, we mourn, but we do keep in mind the resurrection. When suffering comes in our life, we have sorrow, but we realize God is in control of all and that He is working all for our good. We place ourselves and our future not in our hands but in the hands of God. We look to Him and we can even be angry with Him and say we don’t understand what is going on and why it is allowed to happen, but that we are going to trust Him.

Happiness is what we all want, and it will not come easy. We will have to work at it. We will have to continually die to old ways of thinking and come back with new ways of thinking if we’re going to find the joy that we want. Joy must be worked for. It is given from God, but it is given to those who will receive it. Our God is working to make us holy and not happy in the worldly sense. If we are holy, we will have the true happiness we want.

So today, celebrate all that you have that is not necessary for your happiness as a gift, and when you think of what is most needed for your happiness, cling to that. Hold tight to it fiercely and don’t let it go. Let it show in your own life. You will not tell people the Good News well if they have no reason to think that you really show it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters