Blessed hope for the Dooley family

Published 5:05 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

Three generations, six gray funeral cars transporting the bodies, four long limos to seat families, police motorcycles with lights flashing clearing the way. A two-mile procession, all headed to a cemetery on Cedar Road.

It was an awesome sight, but something we hope never to see again. The enormous outpouring of support for the Dooley family and Temple Baptist Church could not be dismissed. A community has mourned the loss and grieved with all of them.

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Police in dress uniforms, stood erect, saluting. Friends and citizens waited by the road, some with flags flying, acknowledging the loss of a beloved family. At the Deep Creek fire station, lights blinked and firemen stood at attention. Todd Dooley, a retired policeman, was one of theirs, too.

These men are a close-knit group of public servants, but this time, Todd would not be available to help. He was one of the victims. This beloved member had fallen in a tragedy that claimed his life and the lives of his wife, children and mother.

At the Deep Creek Canal bridge, schoolmates flew a flag to honor their classmate and friend, Brooke.

A son, Michael, a daughter, Christy, and small grandchildren who lived away from Chesapeake are left to grieve and handle business affairs. Family members are gone, with only memories left.

Inside the packed church was a service like no other. Six caskets lined the front, each uniquely covered with a large spray of flowers and reminders of life. Todd Dooley’s daughter’s cheerleading uniform and school memorabilia was on top of hers.

Three fellow policemen and their captain walked forward, stood at attention, and placed emblems of Todd’s life on his casket — a folded American flag and his policeman’s hat among them.

In spite of all this, triumph reigned over the tragedy. Pastors spoke comforting words from the Scriptures. There were assurances that none of this took God by surprise.

The story of Job was recalled. After his still unanswered questions, when he felt God had stripped him of everything, Job was able to say, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and when my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19:25-26)

When God finally speaks to Job, He does not answer questions. Instead He challenges Job with greater ones, until Job sees Him as the Creator God. It is through God’s questions that Job acknowledges his human condition and limited knowledge.

That is left for any of us who question God’s workings. We are still without answers, but from Job, we now know Satan was the one who wanted to hurt Job. He had to get permission from God before he could touch this godly man. If the question is, “Where was God in all of this?” one pastor answered it, “At the same place He was when He hid His face, because His own Son was so badly bruised and beaten.”

Jesus took our place and gave His life because of human tragedies just like these. The whole service for the Dooley family concentrated on that thought. It is the Truth we find in the Bible that brings comfort and sets us free.

This world with all its tragedies was never meant to be our final home. Like Job, Christians have a blessed Hope.

There are many mysteries in our lives. This is only one of them. We are still without an answer to the “Why” questions, but the Bible message explodes with comfort for our situation, no matter how desperate it is.

Myrtle Virginia Thompson is a Suffolk resident and former missionary. Email her at