We carried heavy hearts.

This morning, Lindsay and I made our way up to North Carolina to say our last goodbyes to Danny.

At the funeral, they played the song “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin, said a prayer, and Pastor Jeff began speaking about Danny and his life and how he was positive Danny knew God and loved Him and is in heaven.
Then Danny’s mom and three brothers went up and shared memories of him.
Pastor Jeff spoke again, and this time he talked about Danny’s suicide and why he did it. Pastor Jeff read a little bit from one of Danny’s journals, and he said it was obvious that Danny was a deep thinker and loved theology. He also loved people so much and he wanted everyone to know Christ’s love, and for all the pain in the world to be gone. He said that Danny prayed all the time for Christ to return, and he was anxious for that to happen. Jeff equated Danny’s longing for Christ with Paul’s longing for Christ in Philippians 1:21 when Paul says, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In this passage, Paul is contemplating the benefit to both life and death because he desperately wants to see Christ. Danny felt the same way. However, Paul chose life and not death because, as it says in Philippians 1:23-26, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” Paul knew that God’s plan for his life wasn’t finished and that he needed to be alive in order to continue helping other people. Danny made a mistake by cutting his life short, because God still had things planned for him.

God has a plan for each of us, a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, a plan to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Don’t go one more day without God. Ask Him to change your life, and He will. Put your trust and faith in Him, and you will never be alone again. God has a purpose for you.

It was good that I went to the funeral. It was sad, I cried a lot, and I’m still sad for Danny’s family, but God used today as a day of healing. Now we’re not wondering what was wrong, we know that Danny wasn’t depressed, and there was nothing wrong. Danny was in the same situation as Paul, and he chose the wrong path. Suicide is never the answer; God doesn’t plan for anyone to commit suicide, but since Danny did, God will use it to His glory.

On the way home, Lindsay and I were listening to Sara Grove‘s CD “Fireflies and Songs,” and her song, “Joy is in Our Hearts” came on. It spoke directly to what had just happened, and it was such an encouragement to hear. The song reminds us that even when we’re burdened and suffering, it’s good to be with other Christians and remember that we have hope in Christ through it all.
Hallelujah.

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3 thoughts on “We carried heavy hearts.

  1. Jeremy says:

    Interesting that the first time I read from your blog, it’s about suicide. I am approaching the one year anniversary of losing my father to suicide (2/13).

    I find most of what you say acceptable concerning Danny, but I take issue, as I do with many others, when we try to explain how we “know for sure” that someone was a Christian, or was going to heaven, or why exactly they committed suicide. I have yet to hear a teaching that has confirmed to me that I am able to know for sure anyone’s ultimate status with God, but it seems to me that we are told it’s not ours to know. As Christians, we don’t accept the judgment of others to say they are going to hell, but then we do accept our judgment when we believe they’re going to heaven. Why is one wrong and the other right?

    To say that Danny may have understood the words of Paul that to die is gain is one thing, but to insinuate that he took his life to be with the Lord, and that’s a good thing…, is taking it too far for me. Maybe that’s not what was said; I’m just going off your words.

    I just hate that we as Christians so often try to use the words of scripture in circumstances like this to make ourselves feel better.

    If Danny committed suicide, there was something wrong. It didn’t have to be depression, but there was something wrong. We all wrestle with evil (Eph 6), but to say that something like this was not tainted with evil is to err in my opinion. You say that Danny was in the same place as Paul, but I must disagree. Paul is not contemplating suicide in this passage. Paul had hope (v. 20) and looked forward to “fruitful labor” (v. 22). Suicide does not come from a place of hope. It comes from hopelessness. It is a lie of the enemy and there is nothing to be gained through it. Yes, I believe that God can work things for good in the midst of evil, for His people, but saying that suicide is gain is a lie. It is the ultimate robbing of God-given life and purpose on this planet.

    Well, those are just my opinions Bethanie. You write well. Maybe I’ll stop back by and read some more. Thanks for being open to comments.

    Jeremy Buzzard

    • Hey Jeremy! How have you been?
      Thanks for reading my blog. :]

      I appreciate your comments, but I guess I have to clarify myself a little bit:
      1. I know we can’t know for sure whether someone is a Christian or not, but if a person confesses Christ as his savior and lives his life displaying that, and if there is obvious growth in his life with regards to faith, it is very probable that he is a Christian. Of course, no one can say for sure except that person and God.
      2. Danny wrote about his thoughts on suicide in his journal, as Jeff told us at the funeral. So again, it’s safe to say that we pretty much know why he did it, sad as it is.
      3. I never said that his suicide was a good thing. I said that he made a mistake by taking his own life. He did it for what he thought were the right reasons, but they were wrong. Suicide is a sin, and it hurts everyone.
      4. I also didn’t say that Paul was contemplating suicide. I wrote that he was contemplating the benefits to both life and death. He was in a different situation than Danny: Paul could have been killed at any moment… he was not contemplating suicide.
      Again, thanks for your thoughts. You’ve always been great to talk to!

      • Jeremy says:

        Sorry. I’m sure I read too much into it, but thanks for the space to vent a few of my own thoughts.

        Talk soon!

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