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Dec 05 2008

God in Our Worst Times: “Jerry is Dead”

Woman in PainThis is part of a blog series entitled, "God in Our Worst Times". A collection of stories from Christian families who have endured some of life's worst moments. They tell their stories to demonstrate how God pulled them through and to encourage the rest of the body that our God, is a good and loving God.

This post was written by Scot Longyear. Scot is the Lead Pastor of Exchange which is part of Maryland Community Church where Scot is a Sr. Associate Pastor.

"Jerry Turley is dead."

I stared across the desk at my boss and Sr Pastor as he said the words.
"I just got a call that Jerry died in his sleep last night."

I felt like I was instantly in another world.  "Jerry Turley?  Who the heck is Jerry Turley?"
Then it hit.  Like somebody dropped a bag of concrete on my gut.  Jerry Turley, my friend.  Jerry, our drummer.  Jerry, who we had written and recorded songs with.  Jerry who we had done several gigs with.  Jerry, one the most gentle guys in the word.  Jerry a lover of Jesus.  Dead.

Jerry was just short of 40 years old.  One evening he went for a bike ride with his girlfriend.  He kissed her goodnight and she went home.  It was the last time Jerry would kiss.  He died hours later in his sleep.

Jerry's mom asked me to speak at the funeral.  I had to decline.  I was a mess.  There is a special bond that band people share.  Few may understand it.  When you create, play, laugh, worship, and rock together, there is something magical that happens.  That bond was broken and so was I.  I bawled thru the entire funeral.  My band mates and I grabbed the casket and carried it out the door and slid it in the hearse.  You never dream that you will be pallbearer for one of your friends.

I remember the days that followed.  One minute I would laugh, the next I would cry.  One morning after his death, I remember staring at the clothes in my closet.  The next thing I knew I was literally on the floor, bawling like a baby.  I missed Jerry.

It has been 10 years, and I still miss him.

I was in uncharted territory.  Jerry was the drummer for our band, Fish in the Sand.  Fish was the house band for a new and growing ministry called exchange.  The ministry was young and we were the only musicians and the only band.  As the leader I felt this pressure to keep things going.  How could we keep going with a crippled band?  My friends and bad-mates decided that the best thing to do was to take a few weeks off from worship leading.  We needed some time, and the church was gracious to allow us that.

I remember those days after the funeral.  I remember thinking to myself, "I don't care if I play music again.  The last thing I want to do is get up in front of people and sing happy songs.  I don't want to praise.  I don't want to rock it out.  I don't want to sing.  I don't want to make a joyful noise.  I just don't want to do anything."

A song is born

During that time I was reading through the book of Job.  Job's life sucked.  We were hit with the tragedy of Jerry dying, but Job got a landslide.  His entire family was killed and his business was gone.  He was reduced to nothing.  What amazed me in reading Job was his initial response to his tragedy.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship. – [youversion]Job 1:20[/youversion]

He fell to the ground in worship.  From this experience came the song "Maybe Tomorrow."  It became a tribute both to Jerry and to our Father.  It is our Father that we trust, even when we find ourselves lying in the floor, crying.

This song was recorded by the remaining band members and our new drummer.  It is a deeply personal song.  To preview the song, click here.

Maybe Tomorrow

Go ahead let the rocks cry out
My lips are heavy on me
You are God, there is no doubt
But my eyes fail to see

Here in this shadow of death
I do not feel like praise
I am learning to understand
Your ways are not my ways

Maybe tomorrow I'll stand
But today I will lay down and worship
Maybe tomorrow I'll stand
But today I will lay down and worship you

You have given Lord
You have taken away
I simply need some help now
To make it one more day

Somehow I know your here
Though it's hard to believe
I'm desperate to meet you God
In this tragedy

Copyright 2008 Kyle Campos @ Our Rising Sound

About the author

Kyle Campos