Last week two Princeton University researchers released a report to the Brookings Institute, tracking the startling mortality rates of middle-class, white Americans. Among both men and women, deaths by suicide, alcohol or drug use have risen alarmingly.
These “deaths of despair,” the researchers named it, claim thousands of lives each year. And the number is rising at a staggering rate.
Let’s translate the language and the terminology. First, this report is studying our mission field… where we live… right in the middle of white, middle-class suburbia and affecting the second-largest, age demographic in our community. In other words folks, THIS IS US.
Secondly, no economic strata are immune. These are people WITH JOBS, WITH INCOME, WITH HOMES IN SUBURBIA we’re talking about. And they are, according to this report, dying “deaths of despair.”
In the last couple of weeks, we have been startled by headline stories of an airline pilot and his wife… living comfortable lives in a suburban home with two, teenaged children… found lying cold and dead on the floor of that home, victims of a drug overdose.
A death of despair.
That’s the name of the disease. People are living in despair. We are the people with the cure if you know and love the Savior. We have HOPE. The answer they need. The answer they are desperate for.
How can we keep this cure to ourselves? How can we be silent and watch our neighbors die deaths of despair… deaths by hopelessness? We have the greatest message… the needed cure… the HOPE that can inoculate them from despair.
As you think about your neighborhood, your community… ask God to help you see behind the walls. There’s hopelessness there.
And we must do something about it.
FOR MEDITATION: And we have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
FOR REFLECTION: Ask God to give you His eyes to see and His heart to care for the people living next door to you… perhaps in despair.