Yesterday morning at 2am the world lost a good man and servant of Jesus Christ. My good friend Larry Agnew went home, and while we remain here, he is the presence of God, where there are pleasures forevermore! How good for him! I praise God for this brother. He was a blessing to me and many others. He is one more reason for me to press on in faith (Heb 12:1–2). For me, Larry will be remembered as a man that invested his life in others and spent his life for the sake of the Gospel (he traveled one last time to his beloved Romania less than a month before his death). I didn’t know Larry as well as I would have liked to have known him; our friendship was short-lived. I will always treasure the Tuesday mornings that he would stop in my office to chat with me about Jesus, life, and whatever else was stirring around in his heart. Larry was a man of faith, and a passionate lover of Jesus. He will be missed.
Twenty years ago on June 3, likely around the same time, 2am, my older brother Jerry committed suicide. His death affected my family and continues to affect my family in ways that words are insufficient to express. His death has been one of the most defining events in my life, and I suppose that even today I am affected in some ways by his death so long ago. When Jerry died, I was eleven years old and very much naïve to many evils of the world. In many ways I was not prepared for the wave about to pass over my family. Jerry’s death was the second death of a child that my parent’s experienced, so it was especially hard for them to lose him. In the years that followed we treaded some very deep waters. Looking back on it now, I am so grateful to God for his grace on my family. What we experienced was enough to tear a family apart, but by God’s grace, we held on, and are stronger today. Without a doubt, the wounds have left some visible scars on my family, but God has shown himself faithful to us.
As I’ve reflected on the death of these two people I’ve seen God’s goodness in Larry’s legacy and his faithfulness in upholding my family. I’ve decided not to mourn. In Larry’s death, I am overwhelmed by joy at knowing that he is in the presence of the living God, experiencing unimaginable delight. For Jerry, God has shown that he has been present in the darkest moments of my life. To celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness I made a short video of my children. Celebrate life!
The following is a short video of Jerry a few years before his death. This is the way that he is remembered by those who love him. He brought light when he entered a room. His smile forced a smile from everyone he encountered.