I once heard a preacher tell of being relatively new to ministry and having to go to a hospital because a lady and her child had been in a car wreck. The child died. The preacher did not know what to say. He tried to find the words. As he began to speak, the lady’s best friend came into the room, climbed into bed with her best friend, hugged her, and they cried together.
It is often the case that when events like a public suicide happen, we all want to chime in. It’s what the internet is made for. One of our contributors at RedState noted yesterday how he recently sat down and got his news from the printed page of a paper. There was no rush and flood of information. The news had sat and marinated for a while in most cases before being set to print.
There is a time to preach God’s grace and will and “all things work for the good of those called according to his purpose” after the loss of a child. But that time is rarely in the immediate aftermath of death. The family just wants their child, not a sermon of what will sound like empty words in the immediate time and emotion.
In the same way, there is a time to talk about the theological ramifications of suicide, the selfish nature of the act, and the need for Christ and conversations on not just chemicals, but souls. That time too is rarely after the person so dearly loved has succumbed to his inner demons.
Depression is a sound and fury that looks out in a void. It crashes down often over genius and we all lose their greatness at their death. It is tragic because though a choice, the person at calamity’s frontier sees no choice, only a void.
We can spend all day talking about mental health, suicide, and theology, but in the immediate aftermath of such an event, the best theology is often just the quiet act of holding your friend and crying. There is a time for most everything. There is also often a time for reflection and silence and prayer.
You can hear my thoughts from my radio show on this here.