So this past week has been a tough one for me....
We had a friend who we knew from church. He had joined our small group for a while and then switched to a mens only group. We still saw him all the time at church functions and on Sundays though and he was so sweet and genuine.
Last Monday (Dec 12) he had dinner with his family and then seem to dissapear. No one knows exactly what happened to him since then. He had work on Thursday and never showed up. He was a 40 year old man who lived on his own, so when no one hear from him from Tues and Weds no one thought of it, but when he didn't show up to work, his family filed a missing persons report. On Friday morning, they found his truck at the base of a really advanced hiking mountain. Search and Rescue teams went searching with search dogs and helicopters on Friday and found nothing. James along with others from our church and community, along with our friends family and the Search and Rescue team went out again on Saturday and still found nothing. On Sunday more people went out again searching. The search is looking grim with more and more days passing and the really cold mountain weather making it hard for someone to survive past a couple days. The mountain has many different trails and our friend could be anywhere. This past Monday was going to be the very last attempt by Search and Rescue to find him.
This Monday (Dec 19) we got a call from our pastor, who had been there for every search party. He said they found him, our dear friend and he was not alive. I had a feeling that would be the case because of how long he had been missing and was sort of prepared to hear that bad news (even though I knew God could have granted a miracle and he could have been alive, I just didn't feel in my heart he was). I was sad, but happy that he is with the lord and that he was at least found so his family wasn't left to wonder. However, I was not prepared for the rest of the news. When they found our friend, he had a gun beside him and it looks like he shot himself. As of right now, they are claiming suicide until the autopsy report. This through me for a loop. I don't know anyone who took their own life. I am not sure how I feel about when you commit suicide and what happens to you in the after life. I have prayed about it and am leaning on God and looking to his Word to help me find answers in this. It was hard to know that he felt something so sad that he wanted to end his own life.
The worst part is is that God put him on my heart for the last 2 weeks to reach out to him, but I was hesitant because I was a married woman and didn't want to send him the wrong signal by calling or texting. I was wanting to wait until Sunday to talk to him, but didn't see him the Sunday before he went missing because I was in with the kids and I didn't see him by churches end (later to find out he hasn't shown up to the last 2 Sundays). I didn't really push James to reach out to him either. I think I took it hard because I felt God pressing me to reach out and I hesitated. I know that I can't blame myself and God is helping me with peace on that, but it is still hard for me.
I just ask that you all pray for my friends family. He was really close to his family and spoke of them often and had dinner with them every week. Pray that they seek God in this moment of hurt. Pray that his friends and family do not take the blame or have any "what if I did this..." type feelings. Pray that God works in this tragedy to create a something good.