FINDING HOPE AMID TRAGEDY
This has been an emotional week for many here at Bethel, including me. Last Sunday we learned the tragic news that Kieran Otteson, a young adult from Bethel who was attending Kings University , took his own life. It is always difficult to hear that a young person has passed away. It is especially difficult to hear that that a young person ended his life because he could no longer find reason to go on living.
Obviously Kieran’s immediate and extended family have felt the loss deeply. Kieran also had a girlfriend, and a wide circle of friends within and beyond Bethel Church who have experienced shock and grief. I think, on some level, all of us who have heard the news have been affected.
Is there any encouragement we can take from this sad story? I see some rays of God’s grace shining in the darkness:
God’s promises in Christ have been a source of strength for the family as well as many others who are grieving. As hard as it may be to believe at a time like this, God is good and can still be trusted.
The family has been surrounded by loving Christian community including their own extended family, the Bethel family, the King’s University College community, and the North East Christian School community. In this time of crisis, the love of Christ has flowed.
The family is being forthright about the cause of Kieran’s death because they want others who are suffering to find help. They understand that there is no shame in being depressed and it is dangerous for someone to feel they have to hide their struggles. Because of their fortitude, Kieran’s death may cause others reach out and find renewed hope.
This experience reminds me again just how much we need each other. We all thrive when we receive encouragement; so, let’s all play our part in communicating the love of Christ to one another. Your handshake or words of greeting, your words of encouragement during the week or at church on a Sunday, the genuine interest you take in others—these are all small but important ways we can communicate to one another: “You matter to God, and you matter to me.” --Pastor Tom
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