More than 10,000 attended two Saturday evening worship services at the Saddleback Church Lake Forest, Calif., campus to hear the Warrens, with an additional 6,500 watching live online. It was the first time Pastor Warren had preached in 16 weeks, the longest he has ever been away from the pulpit. The congregation greeted the Warrens to a standing ovation.
Pastor Warren then continued by sharing the three things that gave he and Kay stability during their grief. First, life doesn't make sense, but we can have peace because God is with us and loves us. Secondly, everything on earth is broken, but we can have joy because we know God has a greater plan. And third, we know that life is a battle, but we can have hope because we know there is more to the story.
"For 27 years I prayed every day of my life for God to heal my son's mental illness ... it didn't make sense why this prayer wasn't being answered," said Pastor Warren. "When you go through a difficult time, you automatically start to try and find an answer. But explanations never comfort. You don't need explanations; you need the presence of God."
Kay Warren also shared about her struggle with continuing to choose joy even in grief, a topic of which she wrote about in her book, "Choose Joy," released in 2012. "What do you do when hope doesn't turn out the way you think it will? You rebuild your hope," she said.
Pastor Warren concluded the service by committing to remove the stigma of mental illness.
"Any other part of the body, you can have it hurt and there is no shame in it," Pastor Warren said. "If your brain doesn't work right, why do you have stigma? It's just another organ in your body."
The Warrens, who have worked the last decade to remove the stigma of HIV/AIDS, said they are now called to remove the stigma of mental illness.
"If you struggle with a broken brain, you should be no more ashamed than someone with a broken arm," said Pastor Warren. "It's not a sin to take meds. It's not a sin to get help. You don't need to be ashamed.
The Warrens will share Saturday's message again in three services on Sunday morning, July 28, at 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. PT. All services can be watched live at http://www.saddleback.com/onlinecampus/.
Over the next six weeks, Pastor Warren will continue the "How to Get Through What You're Going Through" sermon series by focusing on the six stages of grief – shock, sorrow, struggle, surrender, sanctification and service.