Pastor Jarrid Wilson asked for prayers as he got ready to officiate the funeral of a Christian woman who had earlier taken her own. Tragically, just hours later he would take his own life on Monday night.
Pastor Wilson, 30, posted a Tweet at 2.01 p.m. stating: "Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family."
In response to his request, Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren, and co-founder of Saddleback Church, replied thanking him for being willing to be the "arms of Jesus" for the family of the suicide victim. Rick and Kay Warren themselves suffered the tragic suicide of their own son, Matthew Warren, when he was just 27-years-old in 2013. Matthew had suffered a long and private struggle with mental illness before his suicide.
Kay posted her Tweet at 2.16 p.m.: "Praying, Jarrid. Her devastated family needs so much tenderness and compassion right now. Grateful for your willingness to be the arms of Jesus to them."
Pastor Wilson responded to Kay's message a few hours later, simply stating: "Thank you, Kay!"
Pastor Wilson tweeted at 5:01 p.m. on Monday: "Loving Jesus doesn't always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure anxiety. But that doesn't mean Jesus doesn't offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that."
Wilson has long been an advocate to support those with mental health struggles, and in a blog post just over a year ago, he highlighted his lifelong struggle with his own mental health.
Fighting back against the idea that suicide damns people to Hell, he wrote in his blog: "As terrible as it sounds, mental health issues can lead many people to do things they wouldn't otherwise do if they didn't struggle. If you don't believe me, I'd encourage you to get to know someone with PTSD, Alzheimer's, or OCD so that you can better understand where I'm coming from."
He added, "As someone who's struggled with severe depression throughout most of my life, and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions, I can assure you that what I'm saying is true. The reality is, you wouldn't dare say that someone who died of cancer is going to Hell just because of their illness would you? I hope not. Then please don't assume someone who died of suicide via severe depression is going to Hell either. Both are illnesses. Both can lead to death."
However, in an Instagram post from Pastor Wilson's wife just after midnight on Wednesday, she announced that he had died late on Monday night. She posted about a video she was watching "over and over again" showing her husband with one of their son's at baseball practice on Monday evening. She posted, "I took this on Monday evening around 7:30 pm at our son's baseball practice. By 11:45 that night, my sweet husband was in the presence of Jesus. I love you, jarrid. I miss you beyond what my heart can stand. Thank you for loving our boys and I with the greatest passion and selflessness I've ever seen or felt in my entire life."
She continued in her heartbreaking post: "I'd do anything for a hug from you right now. I keep hearing on repeat what you told me all day every single day, 'gosh I frieking (how he always spelled it) love you.' Longing to be with you, longing to make you proud. The boys and I miss you so much. I frieking love you too. So much more than you could ever know. Wish I could tell you that right now. We all do."
Paying tribute to Pastor Wilson, his fellow minister, Pastor Greg Laurie has said, "It is with the deepest sadness and shock that I have to report that Jarrid Wilson went to be with the Lord last night. At a time like this, there are just no words. Jarrid joined us as an associate pastor at Harvest 18 months ago and had spoken out many times on this very issue of mental health. Jarrid and his wife, Juli, founded an outreach to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts called 'Anthem of Hope.'
"Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not," he continued. "At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help Wilson's young family.