"There is a very strong possibility that during your time here, one of your fellow students, someone you know, will pass away."
I remember these words from Dan Allender during one of the few classes I visited with Ed during his first year at Mars Hill Graduate School.
Never did I think they would come true.
In a blink of an eye, a life ended. Too soon. Unexpectedly.
Sonny was one of Ed's closest friends at school. They were a part of the Silverback's: the small group of guys who were in their 40's traveling through graduate school together. A different sort of group than the majority of the student population. Ed and Sonny had several classes together and bounced so many ideas off of each other, edited each others papers and became close over the past years.
He was less than four months from graduating. Leaving behind his wife. He was only 44 years old.
To some that is "old". When one is close to 40, 44 years is anything but old.
It's one of those "why God?" questions that quite possibly will never be answered. Why was his time up? Why now? Why?
So one lives between the tension of wondering and never knowing. It's not an easy place to be, but I think it's more genuine than explaining it away.
As Paul Steinke wrote in his letter to all students, "And now, with the absurdity of Sonny’s absence, death’s “sting” can feel like the final word. . .it is not. In the midst of our grief, I pray each of us might know something of the wildness of Jesus Christ’s love for Sonny and each of us and may such a love lead us all into the wide and deep embrace of His grace and peace."
You will be greatly missed Sonny.