Do NOT Romans 8:28 the Survivors

Suicide Survivor's Top Ten Things To Do (or NOT Do):

DO NOT Romans 8:28 the Survivors. Unless you're prepared to get throat-punched. This goes under my "Top 10 Don'ts" for any death. 

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

I LOVE this verse. It's one of my favorite verses in the Bible. But in the frail moments surrounding the sudden and tragic suicide death of my 44-year-old Daddy, that verse felt like acid being poured on my open-wound-of-a-heart. 

Do you know why we feel we have to Romans 8:28 people? Because we're so uncomfortable with silence. 

We feel like we need to say something. Anything. And as Christians we often look for that "encouraging" word to give to a hurting person. So we throw out Romans 8:28. But that's like patching the Titanic with duct tape. 

And I didn't need to be reminded that God was working it out for good. I knew that. My grief, my hurt, my questions, even my doubt did not change the goodness of God. Because who He is is not dependent on my response. I will never add to or take away from the Truth of Who He Is. Because He is. Plain and simple, He Is. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life; He is Love and Hope; and yes, He is goodAnd all that Truth is in me. And the Truth did finally set me free. But in those moments, I didn't need a stinging reminder of His goodness, because that reminder felt like a back-handed rebuke of my questions, my hurt, my doubt. And Jesus Christ is big enough to handle all of my brokenness even when Christians aren't. 

Do you know what I needed in those awful moments? I needed people to sit with me and be quiet. 

There was nothing anyone could say that would make things any better or different. And I wasn't asking anyone to "fix" me or the situation. 

I just wanted people to be with me. Just be. Sit with me in my pain. Be with me in the quiet. Soak it in. Cry it out. Hold my hand. Repeat. 

No 'fixing' allowed. 

Jesus suffered personal loss in John 11 when his friend, Lazarus, died. Lazarus had two sisters, Martha & Mary, both of whom confronted Jesus with the, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." scenario. Or to put it in my words, "Why did you let him die?" 

Jesus did not revoke their eternity in Him. John 11:33 says that when Jesus saw Mary weeping, He was, "...deeply moved in spirit and troubled." And verse 35 says, "Jesus wept." In this chapter, even Jesus wrestled with anger and frustration surrounding death and people's response to death. It's hard to watch people you love suffer loss while you sit and do nothing. But sitting with them, praying for them, putting up food, taking out the trash, well, that's just about as close to being perfect as you can get during someone's grief. 

And eventually, when they've traveled a little further through the "valley of the shadow of death" you can send the hurting/grieving/HEALING person a card and you can Romans 8:28 them in the card. But in the early days and months, refrain from throwing the Bible at them...or they might just throw it back. 

He really is working it out for good. 

And if you don't believe that today, that's okay...KEEP GOING!


Jessica Phillips

Jessica is worshiper and follower of Jesus. He rescued her heart at age 6 but he rescued her calling, purpose and direction in her early 20's. Everyday God is still writing Jessica's story. It involves her husband, Brad, her daughter, Emery, their extended families. But the story is a tale of loss of life and dark grief. And the story ebs and weaves and the grief story is followed by weddings and laughter. And what comes next? A Baby! God sends us a baby to shape and teach and grow right in the midst of our loss and realizing that life actually moves forward. We didn't think it would again after he died. But life just did what it was supposed to do...and it went on. And hope is born again. Everything I write is based on this fact: I'm God's child, I'm alive today. So what do You want me to do for You? Because I want my contribution to matter. I want to leave a legacy.