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Sudden Death

Posted 10/16/2018

Ten days after the sudden passing of a close friend, I am still reeling and trying to make sense of the incident.


The rough details are in, that he died from a weak heart possibly after doing drugs with his roommate. But the reason is unclear, and it's difficult to determine or evaluate things since the autopsy hasn't been released yet.


For my friends and I who have known our close friend for at least fifteen years, his passing has been a punch in the gut.  He was the same age as most of us who have known him, including me.  We hung out weekly, sometimes multiple times a week.  There are so many fond memories of funny moments with him.


I have never lost a close friend until now.  I have attended funerals and celebrations of life of other people's family members, relatives, or friends, but it has been years since I have dealt with the death of someone close.  After the initial shock, I began to ask God questions.  Why did You let it happen?  Was my friend upset or needed help or comfort?  If so, how come we couldn't see the signs?  What is the proper way to deal with the emotional impact from this?  Questions, questions, and more questions.


I was numb at fellowships following this devastating news.  Yes, Jesus has died and risen for us, but we'd commenmorate that weekly.  "You're alive, but my friend's dead!" I told Jesus last Sunday.  Aside from knowing I was supposed to be at Communion, I had no desire to be there.  I felt the same even on Wednesday night during worship and cell group.  Yes, I was alive, but I would as well be elsewhere...


Deep down, I knew only God can fully understand and comprehend the feelings of losing a close friend.  Only He knows how to best comfort our hearts and give us the peace from above, and only He has control of everything and allows certain events to occur.  And whatever He'd allow, it'd be beneficial for us, although not always immediately.  Still, it hurts, even though I have come to accept this and allow Him to comfort me.  The fact that I am still living isn't a mistake, punishment, or an emotional or psychological torture.


We live and die for reasons that are beyond our control or knowledge.  It is God who gives or takes away life, because we all belong to Him.  We are created for Him and His pleasure to be His eternal darling and the heavenly Father's dear children.  Without God, life and existence are impossible.  


It seems unfair to be grieving for a loved one or a close friend, and I can't comprehend his mother's feelings.  If we friends find this devastating and be saddened by recurring memories, how much more grief would his mom have?  I have no kids, and I would want kids, but dealing with the kid's death must be beyond a nightmare for a parent, a feeling that only the heavenly Father can completely understand and provide comfort, for He spared not His only Son to clease our sins once and for all and to give us an eternal living way to Him.  


One thing we have learned from this so far is that one bad choice will kill us and devastate those around us.  Another god reminder is to treasure who we have and don't hesitate to show love, care, and appreciation whenever we can.  Life is short and out of our control--we can't control when we'll die or how long we can live, although God will preserve our lives as long as it is in His will.  Meanwhile, we are to live faithfully and trust in Him who is almighty and all-loving.  We are to approach Him with faith and confidence, and we ought to encourage others to do the same, and tell the unbelievers about God's salvation grace and eternal love.


Lastly, I hope to see my friend one day, not on Earth, but in heaven and God's kingdom.

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© 2017 by John Leung.  All Rights Reserved.