My friend Shawn passed away on Thursday. He was in a car wreck in Utah on Wednesday afternoon and died from severe head and spinal injuries. The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article about his death and the crash but it doesn’t tell the whole story about Shawn’s life and how it fits in God’s story.

Shawn was 20 years old and we spent a good amount of time together during his junior and senior years of high school. We talked about him interning at our church as a worship leader but the timing didn’t work out before he headed off to college. Shawn was a gifted musician, one of the most naturally talented singers I’ve ever known. His music continues to inspire so many people, especially one of his songs called, “Live With No Regrets.”

I cried when I heard about Shawn. I know that he’s with his Savior in heaven but this one stung… a lot. As a pastor, as a friend, as a follower of Christ, this one hurt pretty deeply. I know that Christ has taken away the eternal effects of death. I know the victory’s been won because of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection for us. I know that I know I’ll see Shawn again in heaven someday…

…but sometimes though, even with Christ’s victory, these are the incredible losses that still happen. It’s worse than seeing one of your favorite characters die before the end of a movie. This isn’t a made-up person just written in a script somewhere. There are memories and smells and laughter and personality quirks and conversations that you remember from being with them. It’s personal. It’s a loss that shakes you.

The thing we have to hold onto as believers is that this isn’t the end. Christ still holds the victory over death, even if death still takes some of those closest to us on earth. In the victory, we still mourn our losses. In the losses, we look forward to the resurrection. In the resurrection, we will see each other again. I’m looking forward to the day when I see Shawn again.