It’s been almost two weeks now since Larry, my mentor, my teacher, and my friend has gone home to be with the Lord. I have had waves of sadness and of comfort that he is now home with our Lord whom he faithfully served and loved courageously to the very end. We had the opportunity to speak with Larry a couple of weeks before his passing and in the conversation, which we will treasure in our hearts, he let us know how little time he had left and in our shock we both said to him how sorry we were and he quickly said “I’m not! I am going to heaven…I’m going to see Jesus.” Sarah and I both felt that in his expression of faith he had opened a window to heaven and let some of that fresh crisp heavenly air in. I’m weeping as I write these words and wept when we received the news of his passing. Sarah and I sang together that Sunday morning when we received word of his passing. We sing-prayed “Great is thy Faithfulness” in praise to God for all he had done through Larry’s life. We breathed so differently after our conversation with him. Heaven’s life and air had touched ours yet again. We thanked him for all he had shared and done for us throughout the years. I have never known a more gifted Bible teacher nor a man more committed to the truth and living the truth out with others as passionately as he. I have been reading Larry since I was 18 years old. I, as many of you know, longed to model my life and ministry after his. Larry, at moments, poured into me with fatherly encouragement and when I needed it he truthfully yet lovingly helped me to see what was in the way of my love in my marriage and relationships. I will never forget our coffee times and meals throughout the years. How he made time for me when I least expected it. I don’t know how he did it but it was in those moments that as I look back over the years he poured in. We had many life giving conversations about my marriage and how he had envisioned Ephesians 4:2,3 over and for me. My ministry and teaching over the years have emerged and have been energized by those verses. Larry helped me to see myself as a man who had something of substance to offer more than my giftedness. I grew up in the Bronx and we used to say “you know who your real friends are when you are going to move by who shows up on moving day.” Though I know the criteria for friendship isn’t solely based on such things Larry showed up on our moving day along with Kep to help pack our truck and invited us to spend the night at their home for our final night in Colorado and we awoke the next morning to Rachael’s wonderful breakfast. He and Rachael welcomed Sarah and I in when we first arrived in Colorado 24 years ago. Some of our dearest friends were made through knowing them. How can I say all that I long to say in thanks to our God for all that he has said and done through Larry that has drawn me further up and into the triune life of God? I feel very much like the children who’ve been to Narnia whose hearts have been filled with wonder and awe and are now back home forever changed by the awareness of having experienced something otherworldly. Or as Tolkien through Bilbo Baggins wrote “There and Back Again: A Hobbits Tale.” I share my experiences with others who just look at me and say “Who’s Larry Crabb?” How can I describe it and who can understand if they’ve not experienced what we know to be true? How can I describe it except to say as those men long ago, on the road to Emmaus, walking with our Lord said “Did not our hearts burn within us?” Thank you Larry for sharing Christ with us and am looking forward to you coming to find us when we get there.
A great “Thank you” to Kep and Ken for sharing this part of their lives with us and to Rachael for benevolently sharing Larry and their lives with us and so many others through out the years. May the peace of Christ uniquely comfort each of the Crabb’s during this next season of life.