Harvest Church has held a special service honoring Pastor Jarrid Wilson and giving the faith community space to grieve his untimely death.
After a powerful time of worship and praise, Greg Laurie’s son, Jonathan, greeted the congregation and set the tone of the evening with some impactful words.
“Tonight, we can glory in the fact that we know our brother, our friend, Pastor Jarrid Wilson, is at home in the arms of Jesus,” he declared, “because he put his faith in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.”
During the course of the service, Pastor Greg Laurie paid heartfelt tribute to Wilson, noting that he was “positive, vibrant, and always serving and helping others.”
He also addressed the 30-year-old father’s profound battle with mental illness.
“He also dealt with very deep depression,” Laurie explained. “It actually went back to his childhood, and he was under a doctor’s care.”
Laurie recalled the utter shock of finding out that Wilson had taken his own life.
“When I heard the news that Jarrid was gone, I just couldn’t believe it. I screamed, I yelled, ‘No, God, no!,’” he said. “It comes as a shock to people, because people often [falelsy] think we, as pastors and leaders, are above the struggles of everyday life.”
Continuing to set the record straight, Laurie made a declaration about Wilson’s eternal destiny. “Jarrid had put his faith in Christ, and that’s why I believe, right now, he is in the presence of the Lord in heaven,” he said.
“One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross,” Laurie added, reciting Romans 8:38:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Speaking of the night that Jarrid took his own life, Laurie urged caution to those who are tempted to make rash assumptions and judgments about the situation.
“We don’t know what was going on in his mind that night,” the evangelist explained. “He was dealing with medical challenges and other extenuating circumstances we know nothing of. So, it’s really not fair to be passing judgment — this is a time for compassion.”
Even Prophets Didn’t Have All The Answers
Laurie wisely pointed out that, seeing as several leading Biblical figures suffered from debilitating depression and mental health issues, why should we anticipate this will be any different for those in church leadership? “Job wished he had never been born. Jeremiah, at least on one occasion, wanted to die. Jonah wanted to die too,” Pastor Greg explained.
Laurie also recalled a time that he preached on the prophet Elijah’s experience of deep depression. “Here’s a man that God used to bring miracles, yet he was so depressed that he wanted to die,” he explained. “I just pointed out that we can have times of depression, we can have times where we’re sad, and it doesn’t mean our faith is gone or we’re a failure as believers.. it means we’re hopelessly human and we constantly need Christ.”
Laurie added that Wilson personally showed his appreciation for those honest remarks. “Jarrid came up to me after the service and thanked me for saying those things,” he added.
In the days following Wilson’s death, there has not only been an outpouring of grief, but also an increased honesty and awareness of those suffering from mental illness. Adding to that conversation, Greg went on to implore people to “reach out to Christian friends” if they are “down and alone.”
“It’s a really good thing to do,” he said. “I ask for prayer, I ask for wisdom. We all need that network of people around us.”
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