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Fred Dostaler is a remarkable man. A stranger shot him with a high-powered rifle. Fred called his brush with death “a gift from God.” Not only did he forgive the shooter, he advocated in his defence 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. He could have died. A few inches over and the bullet would have hit his heart.

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. The shooter remained behind with Dostaler’s son.

Here’s where the story becomes remarkable. Dostaler forgave the shooter.

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.

Fred’s wife died.

His parents died.

His father-in-law died.

Those are enormous losses in a brief amount time for one person to endure. It took a toll on Fred. He thought his life was over. But the losses gained him a gracious perspective.

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.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

One Comment

  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    That was an incredible story Pastor Bob. Thank you for sharing. Have a great week! 🙂

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