Thoughts On a Friend’s Passing

It’s Saturday morning, six o’clock, and I am at my desk. I need to work on my story, but I do not know what to say. I am at a loss for words. A friend I knew in college was shot five times two weeks ago responding to a report of shots fired. He survived. Held a press conference thanking the community and urging for cooperation with the police force nationwide. “Can you imagine telling your family you are going to be shot?” he said. “That’s what police officers do every day.” He was shot three times in the legs and twice in the chest. One bullet bounced off his vest, sending shrapnel into his left eye. Doctors thought he might lose it. They wanted to wait until the swelling went down to operate. Yesterday he went back to Anchorage for surgery on his eye. There were complications.

He died.

I feel numb. I want to pray but I cannot. I know where he is now, and there is hope in that. But it does not lessen the pain. Strange as it seems the only comfort I seem to be able to find is in knowing that this shooting and his death, though it surprised everyone, surprised me, probably surprised his own wife and kids, did not surprise God. He knew way back in college before Allen met his wife, when Allen first decided to become a police officer, this would happen now. It was part of his plan. And though it doesn’t make sense to us now, though it may even seem cruel and mean, the character of God I know dictates I trust him, that his plan is sovereign. There is purpose and goodness in this sad event.

I sat down to work on my own story, but it was quickly put on hold when I read the news about Allen. Somehow it did not seem right. It is difficult for me to pray right now, difficult for me to do anything. Doing my own work without pause or reflection seems insensitive. When tragedy strikes, it is good to take time to reflect, to think, to pray. And if it takes an hour or a day before one is able to pray, then take that time. But don’t dwell on the loss and the pain. Learn from it, grow stronger because of it, and live your life better. As for me, I will continue to trust God, and to live for him. Death can strike all of us at unexpected times. Only the Creator knows the number of our days. He has a plan in all of it. May his name always be glorified.

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