Rick Warren: Look to the cross, we can't find the answer anywhere else
Ahead of this weekend's Easter celebrations, megapastor Rick Warren has released a short video in which he shares the hope that the resurrection brings and the way his faith has helped him to deal with grief.
Having lost their 27-year-old son Matthew to suicide last year, the Saddleback minister and his wife Kay have been keen to address the stigma of mental illness.
"You ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed, or defeated or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me take a minute to encourage you about the pathway to hope and change and transformation that I've found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus," Warren opens in the video.
The pastor then goes on to explain that Matthew ended his life a few days after Easter last year, following a life-long battle with mental illness and depression.
"Despite the best doctors and meds, therapy, prayers and love, he lost his battle for hope and our family was devastated," Warren says.
"The day Matthew gave into despair was the worst day of my life, and during the past year I've often been asked 'How have you made it? How have you kept going in your pain?' and I've often replied: 'The answer is Easter.'
"You see the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus happened over three days. Friday was the day of suffering, pain and agony, Saturday was the day of doubt, confusion and misery, but Easter – that Sunday – was a day of hope, joy and victory."
Warren encourages Christians to look to the cross, and the saving grace of Jesus to help them through difficult periods in their life.
"The answer is Easter," he says.
"The truth is, we can't find the answer anywhere else."
Last month, the Warrens hosted The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church – a conference which aimed to encourage those living with mental illness, educate family members and equip church leaders.
"It's so important that people know, no matter how desperate their despair, there is hope, and not to give up," Kay said.
"We do this in honour and memory of our son and others lost to mental illness, realising there is hope for others dealing with this condition."