Hours before he would take his own life on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day Monday night, Pastor Jarrid Wilson, 30, asked for prayers as he got ready to officiate the funeral of a Christian woman who had earlier taken her own.
“Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family,” he tweeted at 2:01 p.m.
About 15 minutes later, Saddleback Church co-founder, Kay Warren, thanked him for being willing to be the “arms of Jesus” for the family of the suicide victim.
“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,” Warren tweeted at 2:16 p.m.
“Thank you, Kay!” Wilson replied just under two hours later to his fellow suicide prevention advocate.
On April 5, 2013, Warren’s son, Matthew, fatally shot himself at the age of 27 after a long and private struggle with mental illness. It made her a vocal suicide prevention and mental health awareness advocate with messages geared toward people of faith.
Wilson, who was an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, was relentless in his advocacy through an organization called Anthem of Hope that he founded with his wife, Juli, in 2016. Their “faith-centered” effort sought to amplify hope for those like himself who are “battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”
“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 tweeted at 5:01 p.m. on Monday.
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Can’t sleep, so I’m watching this video over and over again . 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 . 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 .
In a blog post just over a year ago, Wilson highlighted his lifelong struggle with his own mental health while pushing back against the idea that suicide damns people to Hell.
“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,” he wrote. “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. 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,” he said.
By 11:45 p.m. on Monday night, Wilson was dead, according to an Instagram post from his wife just after midnight on Wednesday.
“Can’t sleep, so I’m watching this video over and over again,” she said referring to a video she took of her husband at one of their sons’ baseball practice on Monday evening.
“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 wrote.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair