Sudden Tragedy for Rick Warren
I give my condolences to Rick and Kay Warren in the loss of their son this week. How can anyone understand their despair at the moment, but to know sheer anguish, grief and pain? I pray for Rick and Kay that they will continue to rely upon the Lord as they have for several decades of watching God do miraculous work through them.
There are few people who have their names as well known as Pastor Rick compared to the number of people in the world. He has used his position to build credibility for the sake of the gospel and provide people hope for life. So many stories have been told of the saving work of God reading his books and hearing his messages of inspiration, compassion and hope, like the woman who used his book, “Purpose Driven Life” to bring an intruder, murderer, to faith in Christ.1 Warren has used his position to host a political debate in the 2008 election campaign.2 He has publically declared his support to Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California, although he has wavered on that support.3 There are few people who have as big a spiritual target as Rick Warren.
It’s likely that opponents of Rick would use this opportunity to criticize or bash him. This is not a time for criticism or division. This is a time to reflect on our own humanity and weakness. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”4None of us has the strength to make it through life on our own power and please the Lord in everything. It is only by the grace of God that we are saved and the grace of God that we are set apart for His work.
I rejoice with Rick and Kay that their son, Matthew, chose to trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior. I rejoice that one day, they and everyone else who has trusted in Jesus Christ, will be able to forget the hardships of the world and worship before the throne of grace. I rejoice that one day every tear will be wiped away and joy will completely fill our hearts to His praise.
I sorrow with Rick and Kay for the loss of Matthew. Too many momentary decisions are irreversible and eternal. And yes, suicide is the wrong choice. I sorrow that Matthew will never be able to rejoin us this side of heaven. I sorrow that He will not be able to see the power of God working through his life this side of heaven. Yet, who can say they fully understand what he was going through, besides the Lord? Who can utter one word of judgment against Matthew? We can only weep at the loss of a son, friend and brother. We can only seek to come alongside others and give them hope from the God of hope, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”5
Now is the time to reflect and comfort. “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.6 Now is the time to be true followers of Jesus and to be known for our love for each other.7
41 Corinthians 15:10; 5Romans 15:13; 6Ecclesiastes 7:2; 7John 13:34-35