To Love Like This: A Dear Friend’s Passing

I woke up to the news of the passing of a dear friend, Randy Newman. Randy and his wife, Pam, were treasured mentors during our staff life with Cru, and Randy continued to meet with Ashley every month. As I processed the news and responded to texts from friends who knew Randy, I remembered so many moments with him over the past 25 years. I first met Randy when he came to speak to graduate students at the University of Michigan. His intelligence, sense of humor, and kindness captured me immediately. I’ll never forget the first bit of wisdom Randy ever imparted to me. It involved not living in a way to make a name for myself, but in a way that makes the name of Jesus great.

I think Randy lived this wisdom.

Over the years, Randy taught me more than anyone else about sharing my faith and defending the Christian faith. (If you haven’t read Randy’s books, you must!) He also taught me what it means to have an older person truly delight in you, care about you, and wish to see you thrive in your union with Christ. He recommended books, asked me difficult questions, and inspired me that some of the smartest people in the world are Christ followers. Randy loved Jesus with all his heart, soul, and mind—and that mental work impacted me greatly as a PhD academic.

Randy also valued the good things in life. He loved classical music, great coffee shops, and local restaurants. For years, our family drove alongside Randy and Pam in our days-long trek home from Colorado every other summer. Randy would navigate and pick out only the best coffee shops, a ritual I continue when I travel to new places. He always engaged our children and loved them, too. They giggled and called them “Ram and Pandy.” When I’m in a new city, I’ll turn to Ashley and say, “We need to Randy Newman this” which is my verb for “find the best coffee and local food immediately.”

Let’s Randy Newman this!

I wrote it my journal this morning and asked God to allow Ashley and me to love younger couples the way the Newmans loved us. What a legacy of love! It changed us. Their mentorship helped us put roots down deeply into Christ. Their friendship brought joy and laughter into our lives and steadied us through difficult times.

I think of Randy in heaven, enjoying the best of everything. I think of the Lord greeting Randy and saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” If you read this far, please pray for Pam and their boys and grandchildren. What a great earthly loss to process of a wonderful man, Randy Newman.

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