The following is a letter I sent out to our Faith Family here at Valley Fellowship Church. It has brought a lot of comfort to many, so I thought I’d share it with you. You should know, this is not a letter I could have written a week ago. Until last Thursday I had no healthy framework to process suicide. I had never known anyone personally who had died of suicide, so all my thoughts were of people miles and miles away. But when it happens up close your mind is open for new understanding. God used Pastor Joel Morgan to provide that new understanding. Joel was the pastor here at Valley before me and is an active member here still. In most situations that is not a good thing. Here it has been a blessing, but never more than last week. The following is the result of a 48 hour personal and emotional course on depression and loss from Pastor Joel Morgan.
Dear Valley Fellowship family,
Harold Dewalt lost his long and hard fought battle with depression Thursday afternoon. Harold was a member of Valley Fellowship for over 4 decades and was currently serving as an elder. Harold loved and followed Jesus, and because of what Christ did on the cross, Harold is with Him now. When someone dies in this manner there are always questions and confusion. Let’s be clear: depression killed Harold. Just like we have lost many loved ones to other diseases, we lost Harold to depression. We do not question where our loved ones are who have died from cancer or heart disease, we should not question where Harold is for eternity.
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can be done to keep us from the love of God in Jesus. Harold did not save himself, so he could not un-save himself. Harold is home, healed and with his savior Jesus Christ.
Harold fought hard, but he did not fight alone. His wife Sue was constantly at his side during this battle. Harold was seeing a doctor, taking appropriate medication and had accountability partners. He was part of a small group at church that had his back in this battle. One of the members of his small group sensed he was struggling Thursday and invited him on a short vacation to do some hunting. I tell you all this so you know he did not fight alone; we can feel sad, we can feel grieved, we can feel upset and we can even feel mad, but we cannot feel guilty. Harold fought hard and we fought with him and we all lost.
Our focus now turns toward serving, helping, and praying for Sue and the rest of Harold’s family.
I love you all!