No one is immune from mental illness. If not you, then you know someone with mental illness. And so it is that Rick Warren, pastor of one of he largest churches in America, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, and the man who gave the invocation at President Obama’s first inauguration, has also been touched so painfully with the suicide of his son Matthew.
After taking off four months from the pulpit, Pastor Warren has now returned with a message of hope, encouraging people to “take your greatest sorrow and turn it into your life’s greatest message”. This is part of a new series of sermons entitled, “How to Get Through What You Are Going Through”.
After his son shot himself, he spoke about how the most difficult death is the death of a child, but the most difficult of all is a death by suicide. But he also spoke of the years of pain his son suffered with his depression. “For 27 years, he had struggled with mental illness. When he was a little boy, he struggled with deep, deep depression. Part of the grief we’re dealing with is not just his death, but the grieving over his life. Watching a child for 27 years say, ‘Why can’t I be normal, why can’t I be like everybody else.’ That was tough.”
Depression causes tremendous suffering, and it can also kill. It is a serious illness that requires serious treatment. Thanks to Pastor Warren for sharing so openly his pain so that others can learn and deal with depression more effectively.