I’ve cried for a week now.
Last August, DaNetta Hagerman, a dear friend ,youthworker, and mother, passed away in a fatal car accident. Last Thursday morning, her husband, Larry, was involved in an accident at work and suffered fatal head wounds. After he was Care Flighted to the ER and rushed into emergency neurosurgery all we could do is wait. The next morning at 4:10am, Larry was pronounced dead (obit). Many of us spent the next 3 days with family members, students, and his two amazing and beautiful kids, Ashely and Weston. I still don’t have the words to adequately express what we are feeling. And I’m not trying.
As is normal, adults and students alike are asking ‘why?’. Why did this happen to such good people? Larry was a ROCK. His faith in God and his love for people of all kinds was evidenced in a standing-room only memorial service on Monday morning.
I can’t tell you that I believe it was God’s will for Larry to pass away. But I can tell you that we live in a jacked-up, sinful world. Fill a planet with sinful, fallen, jacked up people and sinful, fallen, jacked-up things will happen. We live in a world where good people lose their jobs. Where good families suffer divorce. Where good men and women make bad decisions. And where good people like Larry and Danetta die and are taken from us. We realize that. Still, death is hard for us to handle…because it was never meant to be that way in the beginning. We were designed to live forever.
In the Garden, God and Man walked together in harmony. Talked together. There was no pain. No hunger. No sickness. No poverty. No innocent children born with HIV/AIDS. No death.
Fast forward to the end of the Scripture and you’ll see it’s the same: man and God together in harmony. But in between Genesis and Revelation is the struggle where we live. Jesus has died on the cross, resurrected and ascended into heaven…but has not yet returned to establish his kingdom on earth. Meanwhile, we live in the now-but-not-yet of history. Jesus is truly King–but his kingdom is not yet fully realized. There’s still a battle going on between His kingdom and the enemy’s kingdom. Threads of shalom may abound, but it is not yet complete. That’s why we’re still chasing it..
The good news is that Jesus is still King. It doesn’t matter if He’s in the castle or in the field. Whatever he says is still law…because he’s King. So we can be confused and mad and trust in God. We can be heartbroken and know that in the valley of the Shadow of Death, he still walks with us through this. And in our pain and suffering we can know that there are better days ahead.
I thought I was dried up from all the crying. Until I heard Robbie Seay’s Better Days this morning. Wherever you are, breathe out and breathe again. Life is hard but it’s worth the breathing. Love is waiting for you, just to say: Here come better days…grace has found me, shaken up my soul…
We don’t mourn like those without a hope. There has been an amazing outpouring of friends and family who’ve lended their support. We hold tight to the promises of Scripture, knowing that His grace is sufficient for our needs. And trusting that to be enough for today. Believing that if Larry is with Jesus… he’s not far away, for Jesus, the Immanuel, is near.
On Sunday afternoon, a very well-meaning gentleman asked me how I was doing.
"It comes and goes," I said.
"That’s good. You have to be strong for the youth, and for Larry’s kids and family. You’re their rock." he continued.
I replied, "Then we’re screwed."
I don’t think he appreciated the humor.
Jesus is our rock. This tragedy has shaken us to the core. We mourn and words fail. But just knowing that Jesus is enough… is enough. He is our Hope. Our Fortress and Deliverer. Strong Tower. Wonderful Counselor. He Himself is our Peace. And in Him alone, better days are ahead.
Pray for the family and our ministry.