Matthew R. Perry

When Death Becomes Life: Remembering My Friend, Brian Hamrick

In death on April 25, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Brian Hamrick

Brian Hamrick both lost and won on April 24, 2009.

I met Brian soon after he became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Clewiston, Florida, via e-mail and telephone. He and I shared the same convictions theologically and pastorally, making him a fast friend in the faith. I had the privilege of serving at FBC from 1998-2001 as their Minister of Music and Youth, so I had grown very close to that wonderful church family.

When Cindy and I went to Florida on our 10th anniversary trip in August ‘08, we went to Clewiston where Brian was gracious enough to allowed me to preach. The night before, I went to Glen Pridgen’s, one of FBC’s deacon’s home, where I met Brian and his incredible family.

What struck me was their love for the people at FBC. Sure, we talked about his beloved Washington Redskins, enjoyed some good steak, and had some great fellowship—but he had a desire to see the city of Clewiston know our sovereign God.

I only spoke with him a couple more times since that Sunday. With me being 37, him being 33, I never thought that we would not have other opportunities to speak—be it a conference or convention or some other get-together.

Brian suffered due to a surgery caused by three feet of his small intestines necrotizing, causing sepsis (it had seeped into the bloodstream). Even though he was improving, a blood clot cut loose, thus giving him a Home-going sooner than anyone imagined.

But the hope that Brian had in Christ—Christ was his treasure. According to Tom Ascol’s wonderful article, Brian told him that if the Lord chose to heal him, then fine, “but if not, I’m ready for that too. It’s OK.”

Psalm 139:15-16 says:

15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

God has our days in a book, so this did not catch him by surprise. We are all tainted by the curse and, therefore, our physical bodies last only a short while. But Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” So true. Only the Christian could say with confidence that death is precious.

Brian lost his life on Saturday at the age of 33. Brian’s wife lost her husband. Brian’s children lost their father. Brian’s church lost their pastor. Brian’s friends have lost their friends. Death, though precious by a heavenly perspective, is devastating during such a time as this.

But we can take heart in knowing that Christ’s death and resurrection won a victory for Brian. Brian at this moment now has never been more alive than he is right now. “Absent from the body is present with the Lord” –and so he is!

Pray for Katherine, his wife, and his two children, that the memory and legacy he left behind would move to them as they carry forward with faith in the faith. Pray for First Baptist Church: their associate pastor, Josh Vincent, and their worship pastor, Todd Buck as God helps them process the loss of their pastor and friend. May God use this time for us to reflect on how fleeting this life is—but how glorious He is in that He delivers us from its inevitable clutches.


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