Lest we think that Christians are somehow immune to mental illness, depression, or despair, just ask world renown Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church whose youngest son, Matthew, committed suicide just this week (4/5/13). Pastor Warren has had a worldwide impact on both believers and unbelievers alike. His son, Matthew, was a committed Christian with the spiritual gifts of compassion and encouragement. Years ago, Warren reports, his son asked him, "Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?"
The chronic mental torture of depression is not unlike the torture of chronic physical illness. We are quick to come alongside those who suffer physical pain, offer sympathy, and tell them we "understand." Yet those who suffer mental anguish are more likely to be judged and ridiculed for their supposed "lack of faith."
For Matthew, the pain is over. He is in the arms of his Savior. May we, the living, not inflict any unwarranted pain upon the countless others--often in the pews beside us--who likewise suffer mental anguish.
"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (Psalm 42:5, c.f. 43:2).