The death of Rick Warren's son Matthew has made headlines this week across the nation, in Christian circles and out. It's heartbreaking. Tragic. And for those of us who have suffered or do suffer from depression, it hits close to home. As a friend commented on her facebook page, "there but for the grace of God go I."
As I was discussing this tragic loss with a family member, I was convicted by a statement that was made during course of the conversation: "I don't understand how it could happen, when he came from such a great Christian family, and he was planted in such an amazing church."
Because that's how many of us Christians think, isn't it? If we love God, have a supportive family, stay planted in an active, thriving church... then depression shouldn't affect us. And it certainly shouldn't drive us to suicide or suicidal thoughts.
We see suicide as shameful and selfish and not something that should happen to us or our church family.
And we're right, in part. It shouldn't happen. Neither should cancer. Or heart failure. Or divorce. Or death. Or any heartache that comes to us as a result of The Fall. It's not "natural." It goes against our sense of rightness and justice. Because we, the human race, were not created for a broken world.
Still, here we are.
So I guess the question prompting my heart this morning is simply this: where do we go from here?
In a fallen, broken, hurting world... with our fallen, broken, hurting bodies... and our fallen, broken, hurting minds and hearts... where does our "religion" fit in? Can we create a place for this kind of brokenness within the walls of the church? Can we accept that, like any other illness, God sometimes chooses to heal us... and sometimes He doesn't?
What I do know is this... before I personally battled my own season of depression, I did not understand - and often judged harshly - those who took (or attempted to take) their own lives.
Now, on the other side of that dark season, my heart breaks for Matthew Warren and so many like him. I love them, though I don't know them.
And if I, in my finite, feeble, human heart can find compassion and love for those who suffer in their minds, how much more does our great, patient, gracious, infinite Father love them and care for them where they are?
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalms 34:18
Oh, that the Bride would reflect her Groom.