I looked at the corner of my computer and saw the date of July 29, 2015. As soon as I read the numbers my mind did a quick flip back in time. 25 years ago today was a Sunday morning and I received a phone call telling me that my best friend Paul Shroyer had been killed in an accident. Little did I know at the time that this one phone call would alter the direction of my life.
First, I lost my best friend. Other than my wife, I have never had another person I felt as close too. We hunted, fished, shot bows and chased girls together. Losing him left a void in my life that I have never quite been able to fill.
Second, I have never viewed life the same after that day. Eternal questions took over my life and the things of heaven became more important to me. Up to that point I had known a few people who had died, but never anyone that close to me. My perspective on life, people, time and eternity changed.
Finally, it sent me on a road that became my career. Before this happened I had already committed to a year of Bible College but when he passed I went with a different mindset. I literally thought, “I am going to prove faith wrong and walk away from it forever or I am going to prove it right and commit to it forever.” That first year I read every apologetic book I could get my hands on. I asked questions of anyone willing to talk. I shared my hurt and found hope. In the end I came to a place of stronger faith that would eventually lead me into the preaching ministry.
My life was drastically altered on this day 25 years ago. I lost a friend. He did not get to see my wife or my children. I did not get to see him grow up and find a career or a wife and kids. So much has happened in that time and it seems hard to believe that 25 years have passed. I miss you my friend. I hope to see you in heaven one day.
I am not writing this looking for sympathy. Most of the hurt is long since passed. I am writing this to tell you that out of deep personal pain God brought me here. He used that awful experience to teach me and to mold me. My life story is not complete without a mention of Paul and the impact he had on my life.