Dealing with loss in community

Mike and I heard yesterday that a young man from our church died in service in Iraq. Over the summer, when he was on leave, he gave a really moving testimony during a Sunday service, telling us how he had felt God was there with him, saying how he was proud to be serving there. I told Mike last night – he had made it through some pretty tight spots, things where it didn’t seem like he ought to have survived, and I never consciously thought this, but I think I believed that since he made it through those things, he was going to be okay. He was going to make it through the rest of his time there. But he didn’t.

We talked last night about how different it is for something like this to happen in a small church where you pretty much know who everybody is. Mike grew up going to big churches, and he was actually pretty hesitant to start going to a church this small, but he’s really grown to appreciate the community aspect. I didn’t know Andrew at all . . . I had spoken to him at church and prayed for him, but he left for Iraq right when we started going to church there. Over the summer we were at a cookout and he was also there, and I spoke to him and got to observe him a little bit. I’m not going to feel the loss like his closest friends and family will, but I think this is why we’re supposed to live in community – it’s right to celebrate and mourn together. I think our church does this well, and it’s one of the reasons I’m thankful to go there. There are people at our church on both sides of the issue of the war in Iraq, and yet I never felt that Andrew was supported less than 100%. He will be missed in our community, and therefore I feel his loss as well. I think that’s as it should be.

Please pray for Andrew’s family and friends as they deal with his death.

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