Sunday Devotional: Relieve the troubles of my heart (suicide)

Psalms 25:1-2, 4-7, 16-17, 20-21

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust….
Make known to me your ways, LORD;
teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD,
for they are ages old.
Remember no more the sins of my youth;
remember me according to your mercy,
because of your goodness, LORD….
Look upon me, have pity on me,
for I am alone and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart;
bring me out of my distress….
Preserve my soul and rescue me;
do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me;
I wait for you, O LORD.

for I am alone and afflicted“….

I woke up this morning feeling blue.

A year and a month ago, I lost my husband, whom I had loved since I was 22. While most of my grieving is done, there are times when it still hurts. So when I came upon today’s first reading, from Psalms 25, I wept. But the tears were healing tears.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” -Lucius Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65), Stoic philosopher and statesman

Did you know that the rate of suicides in the United States is increasing — a sad phenomenon that, no doubt, is exacerbated by the government’s COVID-19 lockdown and social-isolation policies, and the attendant stress. (See DCG’s post: “Texas hospital sees “alarming” rate of juvenile suicide patients“)

Here are some statistics from the CDC, via the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • In the 20 years from 1999 to 2018, the total suicide rate in the United States increased 35% from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14.2 per 100,000 in 2018.
  • Over 44,965 Americans die from sucide every year. Approximately 123 Americans die by suicide every day. (SAVE)
  • In 2018, suicide was:
    • The 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people.
    • The 2nd leading cause of death among Americans ages 10-34.
    • The 4th leading cause of death among ages 35-54.
    • The 8th leading cause of death for ages 55-64.
    • Strangely, the CDC does not rank suicide for those ages 64 and older. But the suicide rates by age (see figure below) would suggest that suicide is the No. 1 leading cause of death among the elderly, especially those widowed or divorced.

Men commit more suicides: In 2018, the overall suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher (22.8 per 100,000) than among females (6.2 per 100,000), but disproportionately even higher for elderly men. As shown in the figure below, the suicide rate of men 75 and older was 39.9 per 100,000, whereas that of elderly women was 4.0.

The much higher suicide rate of elderly men accounts for why the elderly (75 and older) have the highest suicide rate of all age groups — of 43.9 per 100,000.

I added to the figure “Total rates by age”

Which racial group do you think have the highest suicide rate?

If you guess Black, you’re wrong.

In 2018, white Americans committed more suicides than other racial/ethnic groups because of the disproportionately high suicide rate of white males.

If you are “alone and afflicted” and in despair, look to our Lord.

Look to our Lord on the cross.

No man or woman has suffered as much as He had.

He understands your pain and your despair.

Tell Him:

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,


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27 days ago

Thank you Eowyn for posting this.

The scripture you shared and the words of kindness from your heart shine brightly.

May those who are contemplating suicide seek refuge in the Lord, and be comforted by his grace and the Word of God during these difficult times.

27 days ago

Thank you Dr. Eowyn: you are so gracious and selfless to others as you suffer with sorrow too. May all that need to hear this message find it. God Bless you and keep you.

27 days ago

This is such a blessing, Dr. Eowyn. You are in my prayers.🙏

Tom Wigand
26 days ago

As the news broke yesterday concerning Brad Parscale, this post could not have been more timely.

May he too receive the Lord’s peace in this time of travail.