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The Death and Life of Matthew Warren
THE CHRISTIAN DIARIST ^ | APRIL 7, 2013 | JP

Posted on 04/07/2013 7:32:25 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST

My wife and I received the heartbreaking email yesterday morning from Rick Warren, our pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California: His youngest son, Matthew went to be with the Lord.

Had the 27-year-old died in a car accident – like Christopher Laurie, 33-year-old son of Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in Southern Cal, who lost his life in 2008 – we might have lamented the vicissitudes of life.

Or had the young man been murdered – like Ryan Armstrong, 22-year-old son of Pastor Ron Armstrong of Cornerstone Church in SoCal (which my wife and I previously attended) – we might have decried the evil of this world.

But Mathew died from his own hand.

And we’re still trying to process how the young man who grew up in a most loving home, who faithfully attended the church his father founded, who celebrated Easter this past Sunday along with the rest of the Saddleback family, decided yesterday his young life was no longer worth living.

Pastor Rick’s email attested that Matthew “was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a beeline to that person to engage and encourage them.”

Yet, Matthew also was a tortured soul. He struggled from birth, Pastor Rick confided, “with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts.” So it was that after a fun Friday evening with his parents, the young man yesterday finally succumbed to his inner demons.

What particularly troubled was, though Pastor Rick and his longsuffering wife Kay tried everything to help their son, including “America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing,” Matthew’s mental illness never subsided.

“I’ll never forget,” Pastor Rick recalled, “many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, ‘Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?’”

After reading that, it made me wonder: If Pastor Rick truly has been anointed by the Most High – and I believe he has – yet his prayers for healing for his son Matthew went for naught, what hope have members of the Saddleback family who are praying for miracles of their own?As I contemplated that question, I suddenly was filled with the Holy Spirit, which reminded me of the story of Horatio Spafford, a Chicago barrister and businessman, who was in many respects a latter day Job.

In 1871, Spafford’s only son died of pneumonia at four years old. Two years later, he booked his wife Anna and his four daughters to Europe aboard the SS Ville du Havre, which sank while crossing the Atlantic. Spafford’s wife survived, but all four of his daughters perished.

Spafford departed to meet his grieving wife. When his ship passed near the spot where his daughters lost their lives, he suddenly was inspired to write the words that would become a famous hymn:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

I do not know why Pastor Rick’s prayers for healing for his son Matthew went unanswered. I do not know why the prayers of many, many other parents for their beloved children go unanswered.

But, as Christ followers, we are to trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding. And, in so doing, we are able to declare, even in the face of personal tragedy, it is well with our souls.


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: matthewwarren; rickwarren; saddlebackchurch; suicide
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
1 posted on 04/07/2013 7:32:25 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

This is a very nice read.
I never knew why these words were written:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


2 posted on 04/07/2013 7:37:23 AM PDT by svcw (If you are dead when your heart stops, why aren't you alive when it starts.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I share your sadness. Pastor Rick was my pastor for many years, and Pastor Ron Armstrong’s brother, Ray, is my current pastor. I’m sure this news has rocked Pastor Ray this morning, so close after finally seeing justice done for his nephew.

I wouldn’t say that Rick’s prayers went unanswered, though. Sometimes the answer is a simple “No.” We just don’t understand why.

Prayers to Rick and Kay, and the rest of the Saddleback family.


3 posted on 04/07/2013 7:39:20 AM PDT by SandyInSeattle (The Cardinals chose wisely.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I am upset today about all the pain in the world and asking where is God. I have been reading about how the missionaries tried to beat the Indianness out of native American children. I have been telling God his experiment was a massive failure and that He needs to intervene and show us the fish rather than the stones and the snakes.


4 posted on 04/07/2013 7:40:14 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: svcw

Perhaps Warren was born as an HSP, Highly Sensitive
Personality. Those of us with HSP are told all our lives
we are too sensitive, take things too personal and often
think we are the center of the universe. It’s a life of
constant highs and lows; pain and sometimes joy; mostly
the pain. I listen to Judy Marshall’s “Surviving As A
Sensitive Person” at least once a week. It helps to keep
me grounded when most of my life I have felt strange,
estranged and simply left out of the world most other
people enjoy.


5 posted on 04/07/2013 8:35:16 AM PDT by JimR (Was Warren HSP?)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Where did Warren get the gun?


6 posted on 04/07/2013 8:36:00 AM PDT by JimR (Who Bought The Gun?)
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To: yldstrk

Sacred sorrow is worship. Write your own Psalm and be reminded, as David was, that God is in control.


7 posted on 04/07/2013 8:37:38 AM PDT by greatvikingone
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
We all struggle with, "What is Good?" and " If God is Good, then why so much pain?" No easy answers, but if you're a believer, you must rise in faith and trust that God's ultimate plan for us and our loved ones is Beauty For Ashes... "For I know that when I see Him, I will know as I am known." My heart aches for you... Yet I will Praise our God...
8 posted on 04/07/2013 8:59:56 AM PDT by dps.inspect (rage against the Obama machine...)
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To: JimR
was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a beeline to that person to engage and encourage them.”

Perhaps Warren was born as an HSP, Highly Sensitive Personality.

Or maybe he had a melancholy temperament. These people tend to be sensitive to others, deep and thoughtful. They also tend to be perfectionists and set high standards, and when things don't go the way they want, they tend to become melancholy and depressed rather than angry.

9 posted on 04/07/2013 9:20:55 AM PDT by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

What a tragedy the death of ones child, especially death by suicide,is devastating.


10 posted on 04/07/2013 9:25:32 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: JimR; TheOldLady

Your first day posting and all you can think of to say is “Where did Warren get the gun?”


11 posted on 04/07/2013 9:33:11 AM PDT by SandyInSeattle (The Cardinals chose wisely.)
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To: svcw

Agreed.

Prayers up again for Pastor Warren and his family.


12 posted on 04/07/2013 9:33:49 AM PDT by sauropod (I will not comply)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I’m always suspicious of psycho-drugs. I know a lot of people swear by them.

Your point is a true one. Christians aren’t immune to all the struggles of life, and we also take casualties. Good people have troubles they may or may not show to the world, and good people can have kids with troubles of their own. God doesn’t use perfect people, he uses people who are willing and available and they serve him often while struggling with problems others may or may not recognize.

I have seen God heal some things in an instant, some others over years, and some other things are simply never healed in this life. You will always struggle with them. You should always pray for healing, and expect it, but understand that there is more going on than meets the eye.


13 posted on 04/07/2013 9:46:26 AM PDT by marron
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To: JimR

Actually, I think that is a fair question. Maybe not to be an issue now but I too wondered about that. Only because in one posting I read it said he had been out with his parents and enjoyed a nice time together and then he went to HIS house and that’s where he killed himself. It sounded like he lived apart from his parents and if so, with his mental health issues how did he have a gun in the house legally. Maybe this will be answered at a later time, now it is time to pray for the family.


14 posted on 04/07/2013 10:14:42 AM PDT by uptowngirl
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To: JimR
Where did Warren get the gun?

California is not yet a Gun Free Paradise(r).

15 posted on 04/07/2013 10:48:15 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Two things:

First, there is this piece of wise and very old advice in cases such as this: “de mortuis, nil nisi bonum.” That is: “Concerning the dead, [say] nothing but good.”

Matthew Warren has put himself outside the judgment of any human being. God alone is his Judge now. To discuss his suicide, and its many possible causes, looking to attribute cause, strikes me as very inappropriate.

Second, here are words of consolation - for the living! - from a man who lived through the Thirty Years’ War (1619-1648) as it raged across his native land and killed many friends and neighbors, was shamefully dismissed from his work by his prince because he was faithful, saw four of his five children and his wife die before him, and then died in virtual exile. Perhaps it will give some comfort to those who know the weight of grief in their lives. (I do not expect non-Christians to understand).

The hymn (meter: 8 33 6 833 6)

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near With His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God’s Son For my own
To my faith hath given?

Though a heavy cross I’m bearing
And my heart Feels the smart,
Shall I be despairing?
God, my Helper, who doth send it,
Well doth know All my woe
And how best to end it.

God oft gives me days of gladness;
Shall I grieve If He give
Seasons, too, of sadness?
God is good and tempers ever
All my ill And He will
Wholly leave me never.

Hopeful, cheerful, and undaunted
Ev’rywhere They appear
Who in Christ are planted.
Death itself cannot appall them,
They rejoice When the voice
Of their Lord doth call them.

Death cannot destroy forever;
From our fears, Cares and tears
It will us deliver.
I will close life’s mournful story,
Make a way That we may
Enter heav’nly glory.

What is all this life possesses?
But a hand Full of sand
That the heart distresses.
Noble gifts that pall me never
Christ, our Lord, Will accord
To His saints forever.

Lord, my Shepherd, take me to Thee.
Thou art mine; I was Thine
Even ere I knew Thee.
I am Thine, for Thou hast bought me;
Lost I stood, but Thy blood
Free salvation brought me.

Thou art mine; I love and own Thee.
Light of Joy, Ne’er shall I
From my heart dethrone Thee.
Savior, let me soon behold Thee
Face to face; May Thy grace
Evermore enfold Thee.

— Paul Gerhardt +1607-1676


16 posted on 04/07/2013 1:46:52 PM PDT by Belteshazzar (We are not justified by our works but by faith - De Jacob et vita beata 2 +Ambrose of Milan)
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To: JimR

Well, I just do not know what to say.
I have never heard of such a disorder, I almost thought
you were joking.


17 posted on 04/08/2013 7:11:07 AM PDT by svcw (If you are dead when your heart stops, why aren't you alive when it starts.)
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To: Belteshazzar

Thank you for posting. This is a truly beautiful piece of poetry.


18 posted on 04/08/2013 11:06:22 AM PDT by marron
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To: mjp; JimR

Or maybe, it is as simple and horrible as the Warrens suggested ... he suffered from lifelong, clinical depression.


19 posted on 04/08/2013 11:13:28 AM PDT by dmz
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To: marron

marron, you are welcome.

I read it over again (sung it in my head to be truthful), and, much to my dismay, found a couple of typos that were misleading. Sorry about that. So, I fixed them. Here ‘tis again:

The hymn (meter: 8 33 6 8 33 6)

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near With His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God’s Son For my own
To my faith hath given?

Though a heavy cross I’m bearing
And my heart Feels the smart,
Shall I be despairing?
God, my Helper, who doth send it,
Well doth know All my woe
And how best to end it.

God oft gives me days of gladness;
Shall I grieve If He give
Seasons, too, of sadness?
God is good and tempers ever
All my ill And He will
Wholly leave me never.

Hopeful, cheerful, and undaunted
Ev’rywhere They appear
Who in Christ are planted.
Death itself cannot appall them,
They rejoice When the voice
Of their Lord doth call them.

Death cannot destroy forever;
From our fears, Cares and tears
It will us deliver.
It will close life’s mournful story,
Make a way That we may
Enter heav’nly glory.

What is all this life possesses?
But a hand Full of sand
That the heart distresses.
Noble gifts that pall me never
Christ, our Lord, Will accord
To His saints forever.

Lord, my Shepherd, take me to Thee.
Thou art mine; I was Thine
Even ere I knew Thee.
I am Thine, for Thou hast bought me;
Lost I stood, but Thy blood
Free salvation brought me.

Thou art mine; I love and own Thee.
Light of Joy, Ne’er shall I
From my heart dethrone Thee.
Savior, let me soon behold Thee
Face to face; May Thy grace
Evermore enfold me!

— Paul Gerhardt +1607-1676


20 posted on 04/08/2013 11:57:13 AM PDT by Belteshazzar (We are not justified by our works but by faith - De Jacob et vita beata 2 +Ambrose of Milan)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

(NEW YORK) — Pastor Rick Warren said Thursday that his son, Matthew, purchased an unregistered gun over the Internet. It was that weapon that he used to take his own life last week after years of battling mental illness.

http://www.wlsam.com/common/more.php?m=58&article=030DE292A38B11E286DEFEFDADE6840A&mode=2

And what exactly makes the firearm “illegal”?


21 posted on 04/12/2013 9:44:11 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo

Internet Purchase?

The gun had to be sent to a registered gun dealer. You can’t have a gun mailed to your house. So, how long had
he planned the suicide?


22 posted on 04/15/2013 5:07:34 AM PDT by JimR (Who Bought The Gun?)
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