Monday, May 25, 2009


About a week and a half ago I saw some sobering statistics on the news. The Japanese national police agency has released their suicide statistics for the year. I had just turned on the TV and was preparing to watch a movie with a friend. We were talking about other things so I didn't catch the whole story-plus it was in Japanese. But, last week as I was preparing to talk about hope in church on Sunday I remembered that news story and started hunting for the information on line.

Hunting for information in Japanese takes me a while so I started by searching in English. But, since these statistics have just been released, I couldn't find them in English. So, I did a search in Japanese and found exactly what they had shown on the news.

Here are just some of the basic statistics:
Number of suicides in Japan in 2008
percent male
top age group
top two reasons
health (which includes depression)
number of children

I talked with my Japanese Christian friend about these statistics and hope. She said something that really stuck in my heart. "We cannot exist without hope." As I look at this list, the last number, especially, hurts my heart. What could happen to a child, to that many children, that would cause him/her, them, to lose hope? Aren't the children our future? If children are losing hope, what does that say about our future?

There is hope! Jesus is our hope. Paul says in Hebrews that 'we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.' A ship in a storm is safe when it has a good anchor. Just like a ship in a storm, when we go through storms in our lives, if Jesus is our anchor, we are safe. This doesn't mean that because we have an anchor we will never go through storms, but that when we are in the storms, if we trust in Jesus we can be firm and secure. We have hope.
If our anchors are things like money, family, work, material possessions, then what happens when we lose them?

We closed, yesterday, with the hymn "The Solid Rock."
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' Name

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my sould gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

The challenge is, how do we share this hope?
How do we share this hope before more people take their lives?
How do we let children know they are loved and give them hope?
These are the questions in my mind today, and, hopefully, always.


Brandize said...

those are very sad statistics. I have thought the same about Hope before... how do people survive without it!

Mommy Missionary said...

I've been thinking about Hope a lot too. It's such a buzz word in the US right now. But most people think we need to fin hope in what is within us - not so! We can only hope in Him. I am so sad for people who live through all the trials and troubles of this world with no hope beyond the here and now. I've got a hope blog brewing too. Thanks for the good thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Very well written.Your grandfather lived the Hope of Jesus Christ without shame. I remember him leading the song My Hope is Built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I hear his voice especially when I try to handle things myself. Your grandma said her prayers for her family with the Hope and trust in Jesus. Hope on in the right "lane" in life. mom