Shining the Light
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Brett Ritchey
Brett Ritchey

(finished 'Return to Oz' last week. the good guys win just to let you know.)

nothing is worse than standing next to a friend unable to stop their hurt. my best friend all throughout middle school, high school and to this day has just been in a situation just like that for a while now. not too long ago, his dad was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a severely dibilatating disease, one that basically disables your brain's ability to control your body. your conscience and mind are perfectly sound, but your body slowly loses strength.

it's been tough to feel his hurt and be unable to stop it or help solve it. all i could do, and all he ever asked me to do was to pray. his dad passed away early Monday morning and i know 100% for certain that his dad is in heaven with an awesome new body and hanging out with Jesus. that excites me, and i know God will use this to bring Him glory. doesn't necessarily always make it easy for his family and friends here on earth, but the assurance of salvation, and the promise of that future family reunion will give hope.

i was listening to a cd i bought recently by a band from Nashville named Cool Hand Luke. they have a song called The Greater Dance on this short collection of songs, and some of the lyrics really spoke to me in their beautifully simple view of part of God's promises:

God didn't take the snakes away
he said raise a pole the snakes will stay.
it will remind you look to this and you won't die.

and through the fires of life we tread,
God calls us to life up our heads
to be reminded of the cross he raised to the sky

it's not over now, we live to see another day
it's not over now, this is the day the Lord has made.
it's not over now, we let us do His suffering.
it's not over now, so let's turn this mourning into dancing.

God doesn't promise us that he will take away our pain, suffering, temptations and the like until heaven. what he DOES promise us though is that he'll never throw more at us than we can handle and that he will be right there with us through it all. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that no test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. just remember that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

that is what i want you to remember when life seems to be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at you. God may not choose to take you out of that situation, but he is ALWAYS in control, and will never leave your side.

God took Brian Skelton away from his suffering on November 2nd, and while there will always be questions and answers left unexplained, God is big enough to handle those questions, and reminds us of the promise that He will never leave our side.

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I was so good to see you and your family tonight. After we got home I told Jessie, this might sound strange, but I had a really good time at Brian's Memorial Service. It really was a celebration of a life well lived. He was an inspiration to everyone around him and will continue to be as long as we keep sharing his memory and testimony.

ALS is a terrible disease. My best friend's father died from it 20 years ago and my mother-in-law died from it 4 years ago. I could hardly bear to hear it when Brian was diagnosed because I knew first hand what they were all facing. But being around Brian was always a joy and one always left him feeling like they were the ones who had been ministered to.

I hope and pray that as we face the problems this world brings we can all show the same courage, strength and faith that Brian did. With God helping and sustaining us, I know that we can.


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