The Killing of My Best Friend
The phone rang as I walked past the phone hanging on the wall. Answering, it was my friend Beav’s father who had never called me before. “Did you receive a letter from Beav while at college?” he asked. “No,” I replied. His voice cracking he said, “Beav is dead.” I slid to the floor in a state of shock and wept bitter tears of sadness and remorse.
It was Christmas Day when I received the call. I’d gotten back a few days before from my first semester at college and of being away from home for the first time. But I also came home with a compelling urge from the Lord to go see Beav. He lived two blocks up the street and had been my best friend all through elementary school and middle school. We once had a competition in second grade to see who could get the most “Fs.” He got twenty-four, and I got twenty-seven, so I beat him! Obviously, we both flunked the second grade and repeated it together much to the chagrin of our parents. We were very close friends.
Even though I kept feeling compelled to go see Beav, I also kept saying, “Lord, it’s my first time home; I’ll go see Beav after Christmas before I go back to school.” And now Beav was dead. The summer before I left for college I had run into Beav. At that point, it had been years since I had last seen him. Back in high school, we went our separate ways–he headed off into the drug world and I into my own evil. But during that summer meeting, Beav and I had a chance to catch up on things, and I got to tell him how Jesus had changed my life! I told him that I had found a joy and peace in my life that I never had in my evil days. I could see in Beav’s eyes, he was really listening.
Beav was a loving, caring guy, who was sensitive to other people’s feelings, but the drugs had gotten the best of him and he had become a dealer. Still, he listened intently to me even though his mind would drift a bit due to the drugs. I walked him through how to surrender his life to Jesus and become a new creature in Christ. He was at the point of being ready to pray that prayer of surrender when he abruptly stopped. He said, “Maybe we can pray later. Even if I surrender my life to Jesus, I could never give up smoking weed. Yeah, I can’t do it right now.” And that’s the way we left things. I went off to Bible college, and he went back to his world of drugs.
On that Christmas day on the phone with his father, he told me that they found several wadded up letters in Beav’s trash. They all started the same way . . . “Dear Nick, I asked Jesus into my life, and it’s just like you said it would be–it’s GREAT! But I still have a problem, I . . .” Each letter ended the same way. In search of finding some answers, the day after Christmas, I took off and went to all the old places I knew Beav used to hang out in order to talk with his friends. I got the same story from a number of different people. One day Beav started carrying around a Bible! Then they noticed him wearing a cross. He quit doing drugs and even quit smoking weed! But the thing that really amazed them was how happy and content he seemed to be. Beav had clearly surrendered his life to Jesus!!
The police at the time called Beav’s death a suicide. His body was so mangled, it looked like he had jumped from a tall building downtown. I found out the true story from some other folks who were from a very dark part of Beav’s life. The drug dealers above Beav were getting worried about his new faith in Jesus, and they were afraid he might turn them into the police. So on Christmas Eve, as he started walking down to my house to see me–two guys picked him up, took him downtown, beat him up, and ran over his head with a car. I shared what I found out with the police, and after more investigation, they classified Beav’s death as a homicide.
For years I felt guilty . . . believing that–had I followed the Lord’s compelling, Beav would still be alive today. Now I am convinced the Lord wanted me to see Beav to affirm his new faith in Jesus Christ and rejoice with him! I came to terms with the belief that the Lord’s ways are always good and that His plan to take Beav early in his life was for a reason. I’m convinced that the Lord used Beav’s death in a greater way than I ever could have ever imagined.
At his funeral I was surprised to see so many of his friends present. There were around sixty people that attended. The pastor stood up and told about Jesus and his love for Beav and for them and plainly spoke of the fact that joy, peace, and eternal life with our creator God could only be had through Jesus Christ and his forgiveness for our sins.
Who were these friends of Beav’s hearing the truth about this Jesus that had transformed Beav’s life before their very eyes? They were thieves, prostitutes, gang members, drug addicts, drug dealers, pornographers, pedophiles, folks into sexual bondage and fetishes, witches, and hardened ex-cons. These were hardcore people that would never have set foot in a church but who were now attentively listening to the pastor. Beav was dead–but Beav left this world in a brilliant blinding blaze of witness that burned the Truth of Jesus into the very hearts of his friends that he loved.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39 (NKJV)
Copyright © 2010 by William D. (Nick) Nichols