Winning the War, and Losing the Battle

It doesn’t feel great to win the war, when you’ve lost the last battle.

Five weeks back, I baptized a young man named Eric Kleist at Lakepoint Church… this week I did the memorial service for his suicide.

His baptism was legit.  He was genuinely on fire for Jesus. Always reading, always confessing, always leaning into God for becoming a better person.  He’d comment on all my messages.  Just days before his passing, he sent me a strong email urging me to preach baptism more strongly at Lakepoint.  His foundation of faith in Jesus meant so much to him, that he wanted everyone else to experience the same.

Eric went off of medications for his mental illness around the time of his baptism, which explains the suicide just weeks after.

Here’s the eye opener for me: you’re never done fighting the battles, even if you’ve won the war.  Eric was rock solid and on track with Jesus.  There’s isn’t any more you could look for in a new believer.  The war for Eric’s life was won.  Satan didn’t concede though, and won the last battle.  

I believe Satan, seeing a young man with years a head of glorifying God by growing into the Devine plan for his life, actively fought to win one more battle, and cut that plan short.

Is Eric in heaven? Yes, I believe so.  The war was one.

Am I discouraged?  Incredibly.  I forgot that battles were still going on, and we lost a very important one.

For all the functions and considerations that need to be made to lead a church, let’s never forget to keep battling for people in prayer.

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4 responses to “Winning the War, and Losing the Battle

  1. good words brian. thanks. my prayers go out for you and eric’s family.

  2. if your saying the devil made him give up his meds……and at the same time his faith grew to the point of… that just by believing, he would be protected from the realities of life……stopped taking his meds……….

  3. This really makes me sad. Our 26-year-old daughter has had bipolar disorder for six years. She has lost her quality of life, most of her friends, her identity, and more to this horrible condition. Non-Christians have been more sensitive, understanding and loyal to her than her Christian friends have been. The Christians sermonize, throw platitudes and Bible verses at her, and never visit her, take her to a park, or watch a DVD with her. She doesn’t see or hear from Christians unless she has enough inner strength to attend a home group or the Sunday service, which is too loud and too long for her. The Church is getting better at ministering to the sick these days, but we have a long, long way to go when it comes to ministering to – and *relating* to – the mentally ill. We’re discouraging them and maybe contributing to their despair.

  4. Joel, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience.

    If there is any place she should be experience love, acceptance, and friends who persevere her, I would think it would be the church that would rise to the occasion.

    I believe the church needs to make a dedicated effort to understanding mental illness better, and how to involve people with such struggles in the life of the church.

    Eric was involved in a home group (we call them “missional communities) at our church. It took some time to understand how adjust the interaction to include him. I couldn’t be prouder of this community for taking the time to do so, and ultimately grow his life. It always required patience, but it never required more patience than what I believe would be a normative expectation among Jesus followers.

    People don’t know those they don’t take the time to know. With a little more knowledge and familiarity, I think we’d quickly see how to love people with mental illness.

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