I came into the cottage and asked the youth worker, “Is there any kid needing special spiritual attention?”
She looked at me and said, “_________ over there just tried to kill himself last night. He would have been successful if we hadn’t got to him. It’d be really nice if you could talk to him.”
I sat down with him playing with Lego’s as I gazed on the lacerations around his neck caused by the shoestring garrote. I said, “Hey man, what’s up?”
“Oh, not much. Well, I guess I did try to kill myself last night.” He seemed freakishly jovial.
“What made you feel that way?”
All happy expressions melted from his face immediately. “I really don’t want to talk about it at all. Can we just play Lego’s now? I’m sick of people trying to get me to talk. I just want to play right now!”
In my mind I was having a conversation with God that went like this: “What in the world do you want me to say, or ask to this kid right now? I have no idea what I need to do. Please help me God, I feel like I’m in uncharted and troubled waters here. This kid could die if he doesn’t get the right help.” I just felt God putting on my heart to spend time with this kid. We played Lego’s on the floor for an hour or so, and then he asked me if I could go get my guitar. I thought, “If this kid wants to play guitar, by golly, I’ll drive down to the chapel and bring my guitar up to him.” So we played guitar for the rest of the afternoon time I had with him.
After I got home, I expressed a request on our Days of Hope confidential prayer hotline about this kid, “Please pray for a suicidal kid in a residential facility.”
One lady replied, “He is in pain, and can’t stop the pain.” Immediately I felt the Holy Spirit take me back to a scene in a war movie. A tank was hit by an armor-piercing explosive. A soldier jumps out engulfed in flames. He’s screaming and fumbling around furiously for his gun, and then he shoots himself in the head.
It was like God saying, “That’s exactly how this boy feels because of all the abuse and trauma he’s been through. He’s not just in pain, he’s on fire. That’s why he’s reaching for a gun, the only gun he can find…a shoestring.”