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This past Monday my family (brothers and sisters) got together for Mom’s 83rd birthday. It was a perfect summer night for a back yard buffet – and one more chance to be with my brother Randy. 

A highlight of the evening was sharing stories and memories of Randy; things we particularly loved about him. It was a blessing to be able to do that with him there, to listen and join in. It was evident that Randy is a unique blessing to our family. Always has been. 

I was just 7 years old when Randy was born, but I remember being very happy with the news that we had a little baby brother (my twin brother Daryl and I were afraid it might be a girl). Randy was a gift to our family from the start. He was such a sunny, cheerful kid. He didn’t mind hard work. He always had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed a good laugh.

Randy was the best of us in some ways. All of us siblings have our unique (and evident) quirks – I won’t go into detail. But Randy just seemed to miss the “quirk line” in his formation. He was Mr. Sunshine. There’s literally nothing in his makeup you could point to as a noticeable foible – when there was for all the rest of us. Strange, but true.

Here are some things I’d like you to know about Randy.

  • Tricia will affirm that Randy has been a great husband. He loved his wife with all his heart and wasn’t ashamed to show it. Those two have a relationship that others envy. He’s been a loving, caring, fun, father. His kids know his love for Jesus and share it. He’s going to leave a larger whole than most when he goes home.
  • Randy was a loving big-brother. My sister Teri, the youngest of the family (4 years behind Randy), recounted how Randy happily included her as a playmate in his youth and with his friends when he was older. He was never afraid to involve her - and that made her feel very special. How a guy treats his little sister says a lot about him, don’t you think?
  • Randy has never been afraid to show physical affection. He’s quick with an arm around the shoulder, a generous hug, usually with a big smile. I used to think it was a bit much – but I was wrong. It was just Randy’s generous heart moving unashamed through his touch. The last time I visited Randy, we said good-bye while he looked straight in my eyes and stroked my forearm, over and over. It may be the most loving touch I’ve ever received from a man.
  • Randy loves to sing. And when Randy sings, his whole soul and body are given to it. That’s what made him such an effective worship leader at First Byron CRC. He didn’t just lead by singing, he lead by worshipping. Some have said that the last worship service he participated in at First Byron was the most moving thing they’ve ever witnessed. I remember many people commenting after Dad’s funeral how stirred they were watching Randy sing his heart out with the Hope Heralds. I think the power of his praise was simply the pure authenticity of it. Randy sang hymns like no one was watching – no one but God.

 Obviously, Randy isn’t perfect. Not at all. He is a sinner like the rest of us. But Randy never pretended otherwise. He had the humility to admit it and confess it. And, by the grace of God, his sin drove him to his beloved Jesus, over and over again.

 Randy is very close to heaven now. He and Tricia are walking these last steps of his earthly journey together, heart to heart; grieving, yet assured in Christ, that the parting is temporary and the reunion will be eternal.

Thank you, Randy. Thank you for the way you lived out your faith in Jesus. Thank you for the way you loved those in your life. Thank you for the very, very, special blessing you’ve been in our lives. Go with God, little brother. Go with God.

 

Recommended Reading:

  • I was blessed by this reminder from Seth Lewis, “More Than You Can Handle”.
  • I found this very interesting paper on the impact of WWII on the Dutch Reformed church, both those who stayed in the Netherlands and those who immigrated. The author asks, “Why did the Reformed church in the Netherlands so quickly their theological and social tradition while the immigrants, for the most part, held on to them? Some excellent insight here. Would make for an interesting discussion with a small group.

6 Comments




We are sorry that you and your family are going through these trials, full of sadness and hurt.
You are on our hearts and in our prayers. By God's grace we press on, don't we.
'This too will pass', my mother would say. And it did.
The Lord bless and keep you.
That is a beautiful tribute to your brother!
Thank you for sharing, how wonderful your brother sounds and how good our God is!
Thank you for sharing, how wonderful your brother sounds and how good our God is!
Your story about Randy left me in tears, not for loss but for your ability to write so lovingly about him. Why does God take the good ones? Your mother is special to me too. 83! I didn't realize we were so close in age. So blessed I can worship and fellowship in Harvest from afar.
Thank you so much for sharing with us your feelings about Randy and what kind of man he is, and for what is currently going on. I know it had to be hard to write. I'm praying for him and his family, also for the sisters and brothers he's leaving behind. Also for your mom.

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