We should shout, "Don't harm yourself. We are ALL here." to someone who may be suicidal. We should pray and extend a helping hand. Each one can do the part that God wants done.
Lord, help us...so we don't regret and say, "If I had only known what would bring peace..." by helping us recognize when you come to help us. (prayer re:Luke 19:42, 44) Help us know that we can not be doing everyone's job, especially the WORK only YOU can do. Forgive us if we didn't recognize when you already came. Amen Praise God.
In jail in the darkness after midnight Paul shouted to the jailer, "Don't harm yourself. We are ALL here." Acts 16:(18) The outcome was that the jailer did not kill himself.
No one ever said:
...... died in vain. (adapted) Galatians 2:21
_____ bi za nas uzalud umro. - Croatian
_____ ziin vor niets gestorven. - Dutch
_____ est mort en vain. - French
_____ ist umsonst gestorben. - German
_____ la mouri pou gremesi. - Haitian
_____ è morto invano. - Italian
_____ morreu em vão. - Portuguese
_____ напрасно умер. - Russian
_____ habría muerto en vano. - Spanish
Si _____ ang namatay na walang-kabuluhan. Tagalog
The jailer's worst fears did not come about either--he did not face court martial. He was saved, he and his household. Even Paul and the men were released "with a semi-public honourable discharge". Paul knew the score. He knew jailers could be put to death for not doing "their duty". He knew others had taken their life, rather than face the death penalty. Paul was listening to even whimperings in the commotion of an earthquake. So he became aware of the jailer.
Paul asked himself:
Is he going to kill himself? (~John 8:22)
¿(Será porque) piensa matarse? - Spanish
Will er Selbstmord begehen? - German
Forse vuole uccidersi! - Italian
Va-t-il se tuer? - French
There was no clear cut answer.
He may do something desperate. - 2 Samuel 12:18
Il s'affligera bien davantage? - French
Wird er sich wehe tun? - German
Potrebbe procurarsi del male. - Italian
¿Cuánto más se afligirá? - Spanish
So he SHOUTED his encouraging words,... not only that, he gave concrete advice. IF he had NOT shouted and convinced the jailer, then that man who was just trying to do his work would have been "missing" by suicide. Paul's action is a death and suicide prevention story.
The job of a jailer is to make sure none of the prisoners escape. If any do, there are sure to be consequences.
Paul's jailer knew that he would certainly face court martial and would be executed if a prisoner was not found.
As example, this happened to all of Peter's jailers and guards in Acts 12:19. An angel of God had brought Peter out of prison past many fortifications. Herod, the uncompromising head of state, had a search made, interogated the guards and had them executed whether they were innocent or guilty. God was not mocked by this Herod however--You can read it in Acts 12: 21-23.
Paul's jailer had been ready to commit suicide, preferring that fate to what he thought would be certain prolonged physical and mental torture as well as death ahead. But he did not count on God yet.
In jail, Paul was not alone. He was with Silas. There were other prisoners, who had "listened" all night. Paul's jailer had found the prison doors open....and he feared the worst. Earlier he had listened with care when he was ordered to guard them carefully. He had done what was humanly possible. He had put them into the inner cells and had put them into stock. Events happened beyond his control, and he feared that he would be held responsible for the results of an earthquake!
But the good, bad and the worst people were still ALL there. There were there, even though their chains were loosened. Paul had shouted...and there had been much continuous singing too--prayerful hymns--since midnight! Prayers move "mountains" and they can move the earth and guards and fellow prisoners to ask, "How can I be saved?".
Then around the jailer there was light. There was a meal invitation to come to his home. There was washing of wounds. The jailer AND HIS WHOLE HOUSEHOLD were saved. THE JAILER WAS FILLED WITH JOY even though he did not know how the authorities would react to the aftermath of the earthquake and the events that happened. The jailer too had listened to Paul and Silas lead the singing....
Even though it appears, that the jailer had not sent a damage report yet, Paul and Silas were named and "released independently" by the authorities.
The jailer continued doing the same job with God's joy. Later in the morning, he even "faced" an "informal inspection" by the magistrates, because of Paul's insistence on his citizen's rights. The jailer was no longer afraid.
Believers are really free. The magistrates asked Paul and Silas to leave the city, but they ended up in Lydia's home, praying and encouraging before "leaving" of their own free will. Each one "did" what God wanted done.
Paul did his part including shouting, "Don't harm yourself. WE are ALL here." Silas did his part. The jailer did. Surely all the people in jail who listened and acted did.
The magistrates "just" had to release and even be an escort, because they saw "no" other way.
Do you know what do after "Don't harm yourself? We are all here!" has been shouted?
Whatever your station in life, one question you can ask is:
"What do you want me to do for you?"
Jesus asked that very question and when he received an answer as a request, miracles could happen. (Luke 18:20) Each one of us can ask that same question to fulfill true needs. If needs can not be put into words, we can ask, "What would I want done, if I were that person?"
You can ask that question in any station of life, including if you are the one that is suicidal.
All of us can look and see that "people are all around us". The good, the bad and the worst.
They are all "there". Neighbours, strangers, families, store clerks, librarians, children... Be friendly.
Plenty of people to help and to be helped by. Thank God for your purpose in life. Plenty of reasons to "Choose Life" today once again. So that there is LIFE in abundance.
Carry each others burdens and joy too!
God, Abba, is there. Jesus is there to ask of us, "What do you want me to do for you?" We can make requests when we pray. And if we don't have the words, THE Spirit is there, groaning with us.
Let us pray.
Lord, we put our dark hours before you. We put especially our darkest hour before you, so you can give us joy. Help us do our part. Help us choose wisely. Help us so NO ONE will die in vain. Amen