The Day I Could Do Nothing to Help

My breath caught in my throat. Did the words I just hear happen? Yes, they were spoken and not as a joke. It was Friday afternoon, and I was frantically trying to finish up a batch of calls, waiting for 5:00 to come. It had been a long week. Every day seemed to drag by, and on Friday the time moved at a snail’s pace.

The Day I Could Do Nothing to Help but Pray

Fifty-two minutes left on the clock and my last phone call to make. Too fast moving fingers caused me to dial the wrong number. The frantic male voice in broken English asked if I was a family member. Before I answered, he said the owner of the phone had just killed herself, and again was I a family member or friend. I barely croaked out the word, “no”, when the phone went dead.
When I hung up the phone, I realized I was not breathing, my heart had hit the floor. My head swirling, I didn’t know what to do or say. All I knew was a dreadful situation was forced upon a family that day.

The Day I Could Do Nothing to Help

There was nothing I could do to help. I couldn’t go to them and give a helping hand or be a shoulder to cry on. There were no words of encouragement flowing through my mind. There was nothing I could do. I was helpless.
Before I knew it, I started praying. I did not know the situation or the woman. I did not know the family. But I know the One who will heal the broken-heart. I know the One who would pick up the pieces left behind because someone felt they could not hold on one more minute. The One who will wrap his loving arms around a family and help them move on. And that is what I did, the one and only thing I could do to help those affected by this death – I prayed.
As I began to pray, I asked the Lord to draw the family and friends together. For them to feel his presence in their hurt, in their confusion, in their emptiness, and in their loss. I prayed the Lord could give answers to the question why.
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The next thing I knew, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I was working in a non-Christian atmosphere, the first time in over 25 years. The women I worked with would not understand how this affected me as a Christian. Hearing those words left an imprint on my heart.
That day, a woman felt she could not carry on for just one more minute. She had hit rock bottom and saw no way out; she did the only thing she felt would ease her suffering. While it may have ended it for her. There were people left behind to pick up the pieces, to understand what motivated this action. To live a life from here on out in pain. The pain of loss, the pain of hurt, the pain of confusion, the pain of emptiness. Their lives would comprise pain.
Suicide has left a scar on my heart several times over. An uncle, several former students, a pastor’s wife, and now an unknown woman through a phone call. While it seems to be the best way out of suffering, it’s not! While you are no longer here and out of your misery, those left behind are in a quagmire trying to get a foothold climbing out of the mess that was forced upon them.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:18-19
I have never questioned what if I called that number sooner. I won’t allow myself to feel I could have stopped something horrible. But I allow myself to be thankful I dialed the wrong number, because family and friends needed someone interceding for them that day.


If you know someone or think you know of someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Get them help. Many people are struggling and yet they show no signs. They are the strong one, friends rely on. They are the ones who seem to have everything together, but deep inside, they are reeling with turmoil.
The Day I Could Do Nothing to Help but Pray

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