New Zealand-born evangelist and best-selling author Ray Comfort, who's best known for his street evangelism, has released a new two-part book to help Christians gain a biblical perspective to help those in despair.
Comfort is hoping to aid readers in addressing chronic depression and suicidal thoughts in his new book, The Final Curtain: Fame, Fortune, and Futile Lives. The book aims to explain why wealthy and famous people live with debilitating depression that sometimes leads to suicide.
"Suicide rarely makes national news, unless it is a celebrity who takes his or her life. Then it becomes international news — because it's hard to reconcile the thought that someone who is rich and famous would take their own life," Comfort told The Christian Post in a recent interview.
"Experts are also mystified as to why so many are becoming depressed. They have no idea of the cause, neither do they know the cure. I'm not an expert, [but] I know the reason why the World Health Organization says that 350 million people are depressed. There's a common sense explanation for this, and it's not because they have a mental disease. I expand what the Scriptures say, in this book — using celebrities as a tragic springboard," he said.
According to the book's description, "The Final Curtain documents the experiences of celebrities who publicly revealed a battle with depression or chose suicide. He brilliantly identifies and addresses their underlying fear with the Gospel. The conversations presented by Comfort can awaken those in despair and equip Christians to intervene effectively."
Celebrities mentioned in The Final Curtain include: Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Robin Williams, Naomi Judd, Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Fry, Amy Winehouse, Rita Ora, Jane Fonda, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, and Steve Jobs, among many others.
Paired with The Final Curtain is From the Ledge, a second "bonus" book which tells the fictional story of a man's encounter as he's on the brink of jumping to his death. The street minister centered the two-book release around Isaiah 61, and equips Christians to continue Jesus' work of setting the captives free.
According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 800,000 people die by suicide every year. That amounts to one death by suicide occurring every 40 seconds or 2,000 lives lost every day.
"The subject of suicide is extremely depressing in itself, however, this book looks at the issue in a unique way, explaining why we have such a massive epidemic on our hands, and how to cure it. Ruth C who expected to become depressed while reading the bonus book (there are two books in one) said, 'I was completely riveted. I was preparing myself for a rather boring, maybe a bit morbid book, and instead it cheered my heart so greatly! Thank you so much for this wonderful book,'" Comfort added.
In 2017, Comfort released the film "EXIT" that likewise aimed to combat increasing suicide rates worldwide by offering a life-saving solution to the millions of people battling depression and suicidal ideation.
"This compelling movie shines a powerful light in the darkness and offers true hope to those who think they have none. Someone you know may be secretly considering their exit," the description for "Exit: The Appeal of Suicide," says. The film was created to reach those who suffer from deep sadness and despair, and direct people to a "better way."
Comfort, a Christian apologist and founder of the Living Waters ministry whose list of film projects includes "180," "Audacity," "Evolution vs. God," "Noah and the Last Days" and "Genius," is the executive producer of "EXIT."
Below is a list of four things this ministry encourages people battling suicidal thoughts to remember:
1. YOU HAVE WORTH. You are not a cosmic accident; you are not here by chance. The Bible says God formed you in your mother's womb. You are special, unique, and handcrafted by the Creator; and because of that your life has meaning. No matter where you've been, what's happened, or what you've done, nothing can ever erase the incredible value God has placed on you as His creation.
2. YOU ARE LOVED. The Bible says, "God is love." He not only knows your turmoil and pain, He cares deeply and promises that if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. You can be adopted into His family as His beloved child.
3. THERE IS HOPE. The Bible tells us that by trusting in Jesus we have a "living hope," a hope that is an anchor for the soul. If you don't know God personally, you can, through genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Your sins will be washed away. His Spirit will come to live within you and will never leave you, and you'll be given a new heart with new desires. The meaning and purpose of your life is to truly love God and walk with Him. You can find healing, forgiveness, and hope in Christ.
4. HELP IS AVAILABLE. Like a mold of the soul, severe depression grows in the cold dampness of isolation. Please, open up and reach out for support.
For more information about The Final Curtain: Fame, Fortune, and Futile Lives or resources, visit livingwaters.com