Fred Dostaler is a remarkable man. A stranger shot him with a high-powered rifle. He called his brush with death “a gift from God.” Not only did he forgive the shooter, he advocated in his defense during the court appearance.
A Wounded Archer
Dostaler was bow hunting elk with his son on the Sunday of the 2020 Labour Day weekend. They settled into the tree line along an oil and gas lease road in Yellowhead County near Edson. Dostaler is a skilled archer. In 2018 he placed 3rd in the Eastern Slopes Archery Shoot.
A 73-year old hunter and his friend were driving along the road in the same area, scanning the tree line with a new thermal imaging scope. The scope picked up heat signatures. Peering through the thermal scope, he saw a glowing shape in the trees. The hunter trained the sights on the image and pulled the trigger.
The bullet caught Dostaler in the shoulder and exited cleanly out his back.
A Remarkable Choice
Once the bullet hit Dostaler, the shooter and his friend realized what they’d done and hurried to help. They assisted Dostaler into their two-seat pickup and the shooter’s friend drove to the hospital in Edson.
Here’s where the story becomes remarkable. Dostaler forgave the shooter.
He made forgiving look easy.
I came across Dostaler’s story in an Edmonton Journal article written by Johnny Wakefield.
A Gift From Loss
Dostaler explains being shot has made him more compassionate and understanding.
Charges were laid only after an emergency room doctor reported the incident to the RCMP. In his impact statement, Dostaler described that day in the woods as “one of the most profound events in my life.”
He describes the incident as a gift, a reminder from God. He calls it a literal tap on the shoulder.
“God still has work for me.”
53-year old Dostaler recently suffered huge losses.
His wife died.
His parents died.
Dostaler’s father-in-law died.
He could have died. A few inches over and the bullet would have hit his heart.
A Tap on the Shoulder
“During all this time I have found a way to go on with life. Being more loving and caring, more forgiving and accepting that we are human and fallible.”
There is remarkable mercy here on a lot of levels.
If Dostaler has more work to do, so do you and I.
Offense is so easily taken today. Grace is skin deep.
Loving, caring, forgiving, accepting sound a lot like Jesus, don’t they?
Here’s your “tap on the shoulder.”
Galatians 5:22 says, “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”
There is a remarkable amount of grace available through the work of God’s Spirit.
Don’t wait to be hit by a .22 to apply a 22 today.
Start here with 55 ways to love.
Please leave a comment below.
Hope grows here. You’ll find stories that inspire, build faith, and offer lasting purpose.
We’d love to have you Subscribe to REVwords. Helpful content will arrive in your inbox early Mondays to get your week off to a thoughtful start.