Just over two years ago, my husband, who was drowning in a fresh bi-polar diagnosis after struggling through a bout with cancer, bought a gun and took his life. That’s a blunt way to start this post, but it matters. And in the last couple of years, I have learned that more words, softer words, are not necessarily better or easier. So, there you have it.
And I have something to say about God’s immeasurable and surprising love.
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There are those who worry that people who die by suicide have sinned in such a way that they might not be saved, that they have rejected the gift of life, thusly rejecting God. And they have died in and at the moment of this grievous sin, so they have no chance to ask for forgiveness.
This is a theologically important discussion, more so because of what it says about God than what it says about sin and forgiveness.
If you accept that a person needs to be “right with God” at the time of his or her death, then you are accepting that what happens when we still have a human heart that beats and lungs that breathe is all-important. If you say that what we do/believe/say/ask while we still live is decisive in our salvation, then…
You reject Romans 8 which asserts that there is nothing, including death, that can separate us from God’s love.
You assert that Christ has not really conquered death because it is actually still a boundary through which God cannot or will not step to reach us, to draw us near, to redeem us.
You presume that you know precisely what God will and won’t do in the grand scheme of God being God and choosing to love or to condemn.
When you talk about the unpardonable sin, you not only shred the scabs we who mourn keep knitting protectively together, but I believe you underestimate how much God loves each of us, how far God has gone, and will go, to make us whole.
Thankfully, I believe that in the end, we will all be surprised by the enormity of God’s love…even those of us who are certain God’s love is bigger than all hate and indifference, even we will be surprised by it’s reach.
This photo feels like I think it feels when God comes to us. Maybe we have somehow gotten ourselves stuck on a concrete piling. We scrambled to the top with our strength or courage or orneriness. And we say, “SEE!!? I did it myself. I’m up here.” And before long, we discover that getting down is frightening, so we sit there convincing ourselves that we want to be there, that we don’t really want to go home, that we aren’t actually cold or hungry. God sees us alone, and right exactly in the bed we have made for ourselves, and draws near to help us…but first, a hug, a claiming, a safety.