Many of you have probably already heard about the tragic death of Pastor Rick Warren’s son, Matthew. Rick is probably best known for his best seller The Purpose Driven Life. People who knew Matthew describe him as an encouraging comforter. I do not know the Warren family personally but I have been encouraged many times by the work of this family. Rick and I have shared the pages of CBN a time or two.
The Christian community is so strong . . . when something happens to one of us we all feel it – even though it is so, so, so much easier on our end of the ripple effect. That really drives home what Jesus told us all along . . . WE are the BODY of Christ. We are one through HIM.
Mental illness is a real and present medical condition. Even we Christians are not immune to it. I have fought my battles with mental illness. From OCD to Post Traumatic Stress, I know it is no easy task. And NO one has a mental illness alone – their loved ones inherit it too. Depression, anxiety, the like of it . . . it doesn’t just cause the sufferer to hurt. It suffers too the family.
It is so hard to watch someone you love be depressed. I remember times after the domestic violence was at it’s worst that my mother could not even get out of the bed. I remember many nights cooking dinner for her, some days I don’t remember seeing her at all. Then for reasons unbeknownst to me . . . at my dad’s darkest and most violent period he attempted to commit suicide.
The stigma of depression in the church is still very much alive today. This was echoed in our own reality when the brother of my husband’s best friend ended his own life. It was a very difficult time for his family. People whisper sometimes when things like this happen. They want to know if this person will go to heaven. They want to know if they had time to “get right” with God. To this I say . . . we obviously serve two very different persons.
The grace of Jesus is SO great that it covered ALL our sins. Not just one. The grace of Jesus is SO. MUCH. BIGGER. than anything we can even describe with words. It somehow cheapens the suffering of our Lord to say that the suffering of mentally ill men, women and children were not once suffered by the Savior. He took ALL our sins, ALL our infirmities, ALL our diseases, ALL our troubles . . . a cross that didn’t take IT ALL wouldn’t be quite as spectacular. And Jesus . . . He was a spectacular guy!
Warren Family, I think we all know right now even prayer seems so small. We know the pain is so deep that you sit and “tear your garments” like Jacob. It hurts so much. You wonder why, you look at your life, well lived, well served and wonder . . . but I fully believe, I take that back, I FULLY KNOW that Matthew is with the Father.
Matthew . . .
Even his name reminds me of something that rinses over my heart like warm soapy dishwater – it is the verse about the love of the Father that really sums up this topic so well . . .
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11
The good gifts of our God, HIS love, HIS mercy . . . they far outweigh the opinion of the masses. After all, when it comes to an opinion the only one that counts is His.