2018-10-05 / Chaplain's News

The power of companionship, encouragement

Chaplain (Capt.) Ryan Lewis
297th Military Intelligence Battalion

1 Kings 19:4 - … and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.’

No one is immune to the shadow of suicide. That verse is Elijah giving up after his amazing victory over the priests of Baal.

Elijah’s sacrifice was consumed by flames, and the people fell upon the priests of Ball and killed them.

You would think that he would be doing a victory lap around Jerusalem. Instead, he had to go into hiding. Even though he won a battle, he didn’t win the war that day. He was depressed because he still had to run for his life from the wicked Queen Jezebel.

So he fled a day into the wilderness, sat down, and uttered the words we read from verse 4.

During his suicidal depression, the Lord sent an angel to boost him up. The angel fed him and encouraged him. Like Elijah, when we begin to walk down the road of suicide, we crave for someone to reach out to us, to show us that we matter, that someone does care about us.

Our “angels” can come in many forms. Family, friends, coworkers, and random people can reach out to us and breathe lifesaving words and encouragement into us.

Unlike the angel who appeared to Elijah, our “angels” may not understand everything going on with us, but they reach out nonetheless to display that they care and are present.

After many days, the angel sent Elijah to meet with Elisha. The angel handed off Elijah to Elisha who became his companion. Elijah now knew not only heaven was with him, but he had a living breathing human who traveled with him. He was not alone, but had a meaningful friend and companion.

Not only should we seek out someone to be our “traveling companion” when we are depressed and wrestling with suicide, but we can seek out those who are struggling.

I have heard many stories from Soldiers and others I have worked with, where one meaningful contact made the difference between life and death. We know not the power of encouragement and love that dwells within us sometimes.

Being mindful and aware, we can be hands of life to lift the spirits of another human. Don’t give up; reach out for help. Don’t walk by; reach out to help those in need. The only way we can combat suicide is by linking hands with each other.

We may not completely evade the specter of suicide every time, but by at least trying we can reach out and save those who are ready to be ministered too. Like Elijah.

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