Hundreds of mourners gathered together at Harvest Christian Fellowship, not to say goodbye to late Pastor Jarrid Wilson, but rather, as Senior Pastor Greg Laurie put it, “I will see you again.”
“We will see him again in Heaven,” Laurie said at Jarrid’s memorial service on Tuesday.
Jarrid, a former pastor at the Southern California church and mental health advocate, died by suicide on Sept. 9. He was 30.
During the service, Laurie spoke of the many fond memories he has of the late spiritual leader, saying, “Jarrid Wilson was literally one of the nicest people I ever met. He was outgoing, friendly, caring and compassionate.”
“He was also a powerful and effective communicator. We have all felt this loss deeply,” Laurie said.
“I believe Jarrid Wilson is in Heaven. He put his faith in Christ, and Romans 8:38 reminds us that nothing will ever separate us from the Love of God. One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross. When you stand before God, you won’t be judged by the last thing you did before you died but by the last thing Jesus did when He died.”
Laurie went on to comfort those trying to make sense of Jarrid’s sudden death, explaining, “As Christians, we live on promises not explanations.”
“We shouldn’t be spending too much time wondering ‘Why.’ Better than asking ‘Why?’ We should be asking, ‘Who do we turn to at an hour like this?’ The answer is Jesus Christ.”
“We must remember that our lives belong to God. Jarrid would be the first person to have told us to not take our lives to end our pain. He did that for many and no doubt saved many lives in the process. In times of pain, we have the Lord and we have each other in the Church to turn to.”
“There was one moment when Jarrid lost sight of that. We need to listen to what Jarrid told us in his best days, not his worst. As Eric Wilson, Jarrid’s father reminded us, ‘We should not remember Jarrid for the way he died, but rather for the way he lived,’” Laurie added.
At the memorial, many members of Jarrid’s family, including his wife Juli Wilson spoke.
Following the service, Juli thanked everyone “that came out to honor his life.”
“We are so very grateful for each and every one of you.”
Just a couple days before the memorial, Juli revealed that while she is still mourning the death of her husband, she is leaning on God during this difficult time.
“God is GOOD, He is NEAR and He CARES,” Juli wrote alongside a photo of herself and her two sons with Wilson Finch and Denham.
“There truly is no darkness that His light can’t pierce through. Hold on tight and trust Him. I am convinced that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from his love…the darkest night doesn’t have a chance against him. I know that full well. He is for you. You can trust him,” Juli added.
Juli announced her husband’s death on Instagram on Sept. 10 with a slideshow of photos that featured Jarrid smiling widely as he fished, hiked and spent time with his children.
One day later, she shared video of him playing with their son on the day he died, which Juli said was the last memory she had of him.
“Can’t sleep, so I’m watching this video over and over again,” she wrote. “I took this Monday evening around 7:30 p.m. 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,” Juli continued.
Jarrid had long been public about his struggles with depression and mental illness. In 2016, he founded Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization dedicated to “amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide,” its website states.
One of his final tweets, sent the day he died, addressed his battles, but praised his faith for offering respite.
“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD,” Jarrid wrote. “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.”