The Arts, The Struggles, and The Hope

The music world has been in mourning since news of Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington’s suicide became public knowledge. It’s only been two short months since Soundgarden/Audioslave singer, also Chris Cornell took his own life. It has been reported that both of these men have struggled with depression their entire lives and Cornell struggled with substance abuse as well. In a strange coincidence, Bennington actually sang at Cornell’s funeral and was the godfather of his son.

It is always a tragedy to hear about someone taking their own life. Not that a celebrity death is anymore significant than an average person, but there is something to say about an artist, musician, actor, or comedian who spent their life entertaining others and bringing joy to millions, only to succumb to dark thoughts and feelings they wrestled with their entire lives. Internal struggles have always plagued the artistic/creative types. Some of the most brilliant musicians and songwriters were tormented with depression, substance abuse, and suicide. I don’t really know why there is a connection between artists and internal struggles. That would be a question to ask someone who is trained and educated in psychology and mental health issues. One thing I do know, is that this isn’t new for musicians, songwriters, and artists. We can look to the Psalms at David, who was one of the greatest songwriters in history. He was a man who expressed his deep, personal struggles. He provided many of what are called “Psalms of Lament.” These kinds of Psalms were given to us with specific reasons. We are given Psalms of Lament so that we can know that we aren’t alone in the struggle. We are also shown that we can be honest with God about our struggles. Take Psalm 22 for example. In verses 1 and 2, David writes: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” We are also given Lamenting Psalms to show us that there is hope beyond the struggle. Check out what he says in verses 3 and 4: “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.”

David acknowledges his struggles, but he also acknowledges the character and works of God. Though our flesh may be weak, though dark times may come, God is still good, merciful, gracious, sovereign, and holy. Rest in that. Find comfort in that. If you are one that has these internal, and maybe even secret struggles, please don’t become another tragic story. Look to the example of David. Be honest and open with others and especially with God, and trust that there is hope and healing. Look to Christ, who conquered our greatest struggle, which is our sin. And if you have thoughts of suicide, please seek help. Suicide is never the best option. It will not solve the problems, it will only create more problems...worse problems. Also, know this: it is not un-spiritual to seek counseling or medication. One of God’s graces is that he gave certain people the passion and the intelligence to study mental health issues and to try to create ways to help people overcome them. Bottom line: God has a purpose for you, so be a blessing, not a tragedy. God bless.

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