Church Where Pastor Jarrid Wilson Preached Before His Suicide Death Hosts Service in His Honor
The sermon, led by Senior Pastor Greg Laurie on Thursday, was titled “Hope Gets the Last Word!” — a phrase Jarrid lived by up until his death on Monday. He was 30.
His wife Juli explained in an Instagram post, announcing he had died by suicide, that the phrase was something Jarrid always said, adding that “suicide doesn’t get the last word.”
“I won’t let it. You always said, ‘Hope gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word,'” Juli wrote.
During the service, which was attended by Jarrid’s father and brother as Juli watched online from home, Laurie shared that, “Sometimes people may think, as pastors or spiritual leaders, we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday life.”
“We’re supposed to be the ones that have all the answers, but we don’t. We’re all in the same boat,” Laurie continued.
“For those of you that knew Jarrid, you saw him on the platform full of energy, excited full of passion — always wanting to help everyone.”
Laurie explained but at the same time, Jarrid was in a lot of pain.
“He dealt with deep depression; it actually went back to his childhood and he was under a doctor’s care, and because this was such a struggle for Jarrid, he wanted to help others, who were also dealing with it.”
In 2016, Jarrid founded Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization dedicated to “amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”
Pastor Laurie went on to share what it was like to hear the news that Jarrid had taken his own life.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was listening to a podcast by Chuck Swindoll and I happened to notice a few texts from my son Jonathan. He told me what had happened and I screamed. I yelled, ‘God no, no!'” Laurie said.
Laurie explained that depression is not something anyone should carry alone.
“If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to somebody, let them help you. There’s no shame in it,” he expressed.
“We need to have compassion for people who face this struggle,” Laurie continued. “Fill your mind with scripture and quote it to yourself. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you,” he said of God.
“Hope has the last word, not suicide, not cancer, not depression, not death,” Laurie added.
In addition to Laurie’s words, Christian writer Kay Warren, who is married to Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church, took the stage in hopes of encouraging and comforting those dealing with a range of emotions.
Jarrid’s death is especially personal to Kay as her own son Matthew died by suicide on April 5, 2013. He was diagnosed with depression at age 7.
“He lived for 20 years with an increasingly serious mental illness,” she said.
Speaking from experience, Kay shared that it’s okay to wrestle with questions as she too has been tormented by her son’s death for many years.
Kay told the audience that even feeling angry with Jarrid is normal as many may think, “Why did you leave us?” and “Is what he preached even true?”
But as those questions continue to flood in, Kay shared it’s important to remember that Christian faith doesn’t take away the pain.
“This is earth and everything here is not neat and clean — it’s messy,” she said.
Kay revealed that she and Jarrid had planned to meet on Thursday to discuss their “dreams” of using the church to help people battling mental illness.
She concluded her message by emphasizing that most people who are suicidal or committed suicide “didn’t really want to die, they just wanted the pain to stop.”
Hours before his death, Jarrid wrote on Twitter, “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,” Jarrid added.
Juli confirmed that by 11:45 p.m. Monday 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,” Juli continued.
“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,” she wrote.
While Juli remains devastated over her husband’s death, she wrote in a separate post that Jarrid is no longer in “pain.”
“No more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second.”
Jarrid is survived by Juli and their two sons Finch and Denham.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.