My friend, Gary, died this past week. His body was ravaged by cancer for almost a year. Gary was 66, not quite making it to retirement.
A faithful Christian, husband, father, grandfather and brother, his body finally succumbed to the groanings and travails of this earth. So many prayed for his healing and strength. They prayed by touch, by distance and most assuredly in the name of Jesus.
Gary kept saying to doctors and friends alike that his problem was a ‘win, win’ situation. He quoted scripture that to live is Christ and to die is even greater gain. And yet a great earthly sorrow darkened his last days until the comfort of hospice and his loving family along with some special doses of morphine allowed him to pass from this earthly life into eternity.
Some friends and I were talking about how that should have been us if this illness had anything to do with living a less than good moral and faithful life, which Gary lived. And I question the notion of ‘faith healing’ that was so desired by and for Gary. This world is frail and broken by all kinds of things and I just can’t fathom why Gary had to die. Death seems to be no respecter of persons. It is called in the Bible ‘the enemy’.
And yet when I look to the Christ on the cross I see a God who suffers with us while God works to restore and reconcile God’s creation. And in that suffering I do not know how my good and loving God is bringing about God’s purposes but I trust this Christ whom I know, the same Christ who in his own agony said to his Father, “Thy will be done.”
The earliest Christians were always facing one hardship or another. Everything from illness to persecution and martyrdom was their lot and we read in Hebrews 11:16 that they looked for a better home. This one breaks down after a while.
Sometimes people report marvelous miracles. Other times I believe God is quietly transforming death into life. And through it all I trust God. So do many of you.
Now this part may wonderfully disturb you but I believe that Gary, being with Christ, is praying for me even as I write. I believe that Gary is as much alive now as he was 10 days ago, and even more so. And why wouldn’t he pray for others and me in the presence of Christ.
Thank you Gary. God bless his family and friends and may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus be praised for Gary’s life and witness. I miss you, my friend.
5 thoughts on “MY FRIEND GARY”
A wonderful tribute to a very good man
A sad message indeed.
As I recall…you mentioned to me early-on that Gary expressed facing this challenge to you as “a bump in the road”.
That was him for sure.
And thank you for a difficult and beautiful tribute to a wonderful person who only shed light on all of us that were graced by himself and his beautiful family.
Prayers and blessings to Betty and all of the family.
…Dan & Kay
thanks for sharing this George. Sometimes it’s hard to pray: to know when to pray in boldness (for healing) and when to submit (Thy will be done). I always struggle with this. And yet, and yet, we keep on praying, for as the disciples said: “where else can we go?” The image of Gary that came first to my mind when I heard of his passing, was seeing him with his guitar, singing with the Worship Team at MPC: “He’s got thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fists, our God is an awesome God.” There will be a memorial service for Gary at MPC sometime in April. Praying for Bette and family. Caren
I cried when I heard of Gary,s passing on. I can only know how Bette and her family are feeling. I think Bette, Gary, and the kids were a very faithful, special, family. They lived their lives the way Jesus wants us to. The Lord got a good one when He got Gary. Amen to that.
George, it was good of you to reach out. I am very grateful that there will be a service in April. I really relate to what you and your friends were talking about. The song title, ‘Only the good die young’ comes to mind. I have noticed that we often gather in small groups at wakes and tell stories of the friend who has left us. Usually the stories are about oddities in that persons personality. I have often noted that the strange parts of us are what make us human and so beloved. George you must have wondered why you have always been so loved. But when I heard the word, I closed my office door and wrote. It was my way of processing. These are my thoughts:
I just heard that a dear long term friend was transferred to heaven last Wednesday. His name is Gary Kron. He has all kinds of letters after his name. He had the education and titles that proved he was an expert in financial planning. But there was one room in his house that told more of the man than any title. It was on the third floor. It was the room where Gary met with the Lord every morning.
I spoke to a member of his staff today. He was shook up. It was his job to call all of Gary’s clients to share the news. He said that each person he talked to told stories of the man. I could tell stories of his quiet strength. I could tell of the devotions that he shared before the meetings of the Long Island Youth Mentoring Board of Directors. Often times he would quote a scripture or recite a poem or the lyrics of a song. But before we met as a Board, Gary led us before the Lord.
Jesus preached a sermon and ended it with this: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
The only story I know that fits all the stories together like a tightly formed puzzle is this: Gary Kron built his house on the rock of knowing and doing the Word of God. Gary is a man who knew the Lord, met with Him daily; and the wisdom, the light from these meetings blessed all who knew him.