Eric van Rhee was only 53, lived large and with great passion, and impacted thousands and thousands of people worldwide. We grieve for ourselves, for his beautiful wife and four adult children and three of their spouses, for our church family, and for the world which now has a huge hole in it that only Eric could fill. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope because we know where Eric is–so happy to be with the Lord he loved so deeply, and the Lord we also love. No more sorrow...no more tears...no more pain. The Lord has plans to fill that hole with HIS great purposes and plans.
Grief is real and legitimate. It must be experienced fully. There is no way around it–only through–to arrive on the other side of it. One way I grieve is to write. It is therapeutic for me. Hence, I share with you a tribute I've written to Eric encapsulating my wide range of emotions and thoughts over the "First Days" without him.
A Tribute to Eric van Rhee…
...My Friend, My Pastor, My Brother in Christ
March 9, 1962 – February 18, 2016
There are no words. Only shock, disbelief.
How can this be?!
Sorrow upon sorrow.
Wait–how can this be?!
So much life yet to live…
So much yet to do…
Awaken to remember…
Pray–Comfort her! Comfort them! Comfort me!
Received–“I’ve got her.” “I’ve got them.” “I’ve got this.”...
Life FULLY lived!
Poured out and FULLY spent!
Legacy left COMPLETELY, will go on…
Time to go.
Passed the torch.
Journey here complete.
A week now…
Having those “One week ago today…” thoughts.
Shock and disbelief giving way to full blown grief.
Sometimes bold, in your face…
Sometimes subtle but always there, playing in the background…
Hits you out of nowhere, in waves, crashing demandingly upon shores of emotion, needing its place…carving out the “new normal.” What is THAT?!!! What is normal??? Nothing will ever be normal again. And yet…
HIS HOPE does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).
Hope…Having Our Perspective Elevated.
Looking up…to the One Who has past, present, and future in His sovereign, capable, and loving hands.
Bigger picture…grand plan…
Take the torch!
Journey to complete.