Response to the death of Matthew Warren, the son of Rick and Kay Warren.

“We pray ‘Thy WILL be done on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN’ since in heaven God’s Will is done #always On earth, it’s done rarely.” -From Rick Warren’s twitter stream.

Another day has passed, and another dad is mourning the loss of his son. Another mom is broken about her little boy found dead. Another family’s dream of life together is shattered by depression. What are we to do?

We do the same thing we should always do: we love.

Rick and his family, regardless of their status in the church, the world of evangelicalism, or the world of politics, are people. They are flesh and blood, the same as you and me. I do not know their family dynamic; regardless of it, death stings.

Questions have begun to surface about the nature of death, the nature of heaven, and the nature of God. Is this man going to heaven? How could God allow this? Does God give a rip about Rick Warren?

I am not going to pretend that I have unraveled the truths of every theological mystery. I do not know it all. One thing I do know: I almost had the same thing happen. I have almost lost myself. I have almost lost family members. I have almost lost my wife. I have almost lost all of these amazing people to depression and subsequently suicide. And though all of these people are still here, I have still lost friends.

So to Rick Warren, as a fellow sufferer, I say I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that God would surround you and your family with people who will love you well and allow you to grieve the loss of your son. I pray that God would give you the hope and the grace to allow yourselves to be loved through this process. I pray for your heart to be healed.

This is a tragic reminder of the people around us who suffer. Could life have been different for Matthew? I do not know, and there is no point in asking the question. Matthew is gone. Our job as human beings is to allow the Warren family to grieve, and to walk through that grief with them. And in that grief we are reminded of those around us who suffer from depression.

Maybe someone you know is going through something similar. Maybe you are reading this because you have been through the throes of depression.

If life feels like utter darkness, I pray that you can keep hoping until the day begins to break, because it will. If you cannot, I will hope for you until you can.

If you know someone who cannot tell you the color of daylight because their life seems so bleak, tell them you care for them and you are blessed to know them. Tell them what they matter to you. Then be there. They may need to see that someone believes they can weather the storm, and that person may be you.

And if the sun rises tomorrow, and the case is like that of Matthew Warren, a young man who took his own life, the rest of us can put the stones down. Regardless of what you think of another person, they are a human being. Allow them to keep their own humanity without trying to take it from them. Allow the family to grieve and hurt. Allow them to cry. Allow them to heal.

And we may pray that God’s will, even in the midst of something like suicide, is somehow done here on earth, as it is in heaven. That families heal. That people grow. That life, not death, has the final word.


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