As we pulled up to the Strock house in Pecos, New Mexico, I got a sinking feeling when I saw the number or cars parked in front of their home. I commented to my husband Bob that I hoped something bad hadn’t happened. As it turned out, that many cars did indeed indicate bad news. Glen hadn’t woken up that morning, and he would take his last breath on earth just a few hours later.
A little more than two weeks ago, on Good Friday, I got a phone call from Glen. He was vibrant and excited. “I’m lucid,” he said. “I praise God for this great day and a chance to talk to you!” We spoke for 10 or 15 minutes. I got updates on his family and his home. Any questions about his health were answered with praises about God’s goodness. When I asked, “What can I do for you?” Glen’s quick response was “Come visit! I can’t wait to see you.”
So, we scheduled a day to make the 75-minute drive from Albuquerque to Pecos. But we were a day too late to be able to see Glen this side of heaven.
Bob and I met Glen Strock during the 2000-2001 school year, when we all taught at a small private school in Santa Fe. Glen was the art and history teacher, my husband taught Spanish, and I taught creative writing. We became friends that year, and Glen invited us to his home for dinner.
I remember a sense of amazement as he gave us the tour and showed the artwork that he had created over the decades. Bob and I both loved Glen’s style. I remember thinking to myself that I would like to surprise Bob with one of his paintings someday.
Over the years, I was able to say in touch with Glen. He became active with prayer movements and in advocating for crisis pregnancy centers. When I moved into a career in radio, he was often a guest on my program. We’d see each other annually for the National Day of Prayer at the State Capitol.
Fast forward to 2010. I contacted Glen about my desire to buy one of his paintings for an anniversary gift for my husband. We scheduled a time to meet at his home so that I could select the right one. Upon my arrival, I excitedly shared that I had been thinking about the painting I had seen during our first dinner together back in 2000. It was a picture of Jesus asleep in the boat. Looking puzzled, he walked me back to his studio. He pulled out a painting and asked if it was the one I was talking about. Indeed it was. He smiled as he told me, “I painted this in 2006. There is no way you have ever seen this before.” I felt a sense of awe wash over me as I thought through what this revelation might mean.
Bob and I continued our friendship with Glen and his family, later visiting their home in Glorietta, New Mexico. He was so proud of the house they had built! This house would later become one of the many that were subject to forfeiture as LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center was sold. Through many years of agonizing trials, which ultimately led to the loss of this house, Glen continued to be a man of faith and integrity. He trusted that the Lord would provide for him and his family.
Glen was the pastor of Pecos Valley Cowboy Church, and on several occasions, he’d ask for a radio interview to promote his congregation’s annual outreach to the community. There would always be stories about how God was at work, loving the people of northern New Mexico. If the audience heard nothing else from Glen, they would have understood the unsurpassed love that he had for the Lord and for his community.
I think that there is no better way to honor and remember Glen than to share with you our last text exchange, which ran from March 27 to Good Friday, April 10.
[Edited for brevity and clarity]
Me: The Lord gave me a dream of you last night and had me speak words of affirmation over you, saying how proud He is of you and what a man of virtue and integrity you have been!
Glen: I am honored to be in your thoughts and prayers. I have loved you from the first time I met you. Praise God, He inhabits the praises of His people. His love and presence is everything and establishes His tabernacle from the inside out! Thank GOD, He is magnified by the praises of His people.
Glen: [Sent with an image of artwork depicting Peter leaving the boat to walk on water toward Jesus.] His strong arms are around us when we are in over our heads. His mercy endures forever. Have a good Good Friday!
Me: Amen! Happy Resurrection Day to you and your family.
Glen: Believe it to receive it. This is the day the Lord has made, be glad and rejoice in it!!