Pastor Rick Warren preached this Saturday night at his Saddleback Church, the first sermon he’s given in the months since son Matthew died by his own hand.
Rick Warren and wife Kay were devastated by the loss of their 27-year-old son, a young man who struggled throughout his life with mental illness.
Warren first thanked his children Amy and Josh, calling them his “heroes” and saying that they “talked [Matthew] off the ledge” many times before his Easter suicide.
The megachurch head was candid in admitting that he struggled with what he believed was a lack of response from God about Matthew’s continuing pain and plight, saying:
“For 27 years, I prayed every day of my life for God to heal my son’s mental illness. It was the number one prayer of my life. It just didn’t make sense why this prayer was not being answered.”
Warren also addressed the stigma of mental illness sufferers face in the church and in life, saying that Matthew’s death helped them decide to tackle the issue head on:
“Your illness is not your identity, your chemistry is not your character… We are here for you, and we are in this together… God wants to take your greatest loss and turn it into your greatest life message.”
Warren also mused that in the battle waged: “Satan picked the wrong team. He just really did.”
Watch below as Pastor Rick Warren returns to Saddleback Church following Matthew’s suicide.