From the Archives: June 21, 2009

On Saturday we will gather to celebrate the life and faith of our very dear friend, Ray Beachler. I hope you’ll be able to come and lift your hearts in praise to Ray’s Savior and Lord. We had some warning that Ray was going to be with Jesus, but none of us (including his own doctors) suspected it would come as soon as it did. God is still in control!

So, we as a church family will gather during a time of grief. Again. Grief with hope. But still, we will gather to grieve. On Saturday many words will be spoken, and some songs sung, and our hearts will seek consolation in the Savior. May our time be sweet.

But on this Father’s Day, I just want to say something and make sure that I’m not misunderstood. As I look at Ray and his faith and his life, there is one fact about him that towers above all else. I saw this fact lived out clearly as he faced his own mortality with confidence, even with a hint of joy. Ray placed the end of his life completely into the hands of Jesus and was fully trusting in the plan of God, knowing that after a lifetime of learning of his God, that he was safe in Jesus’ hands.

And as I think of Ray, I am reminded that he (and Lucile, his wife) is a man of simple faith. And to me, I could pay no higher complement. I wish my faith was so simple. Ray had so walked with God over the years, Ray had so listened to the Scriptures over the years, Ray had so seen God at work in his own life over the years that his faith could be simple. Ray had walked in trust and obedience so long with Jesus, that when the end was in sight, it was no big deal just to keep trusting and obeying. That’s a simple faith.

In Ray, I learned what faith really is all about. I have seen in him that I just need to start trusting the Savior more fully and more completely than ever before. I want Ray’s simple faith. Sometimes we complicate our faith with rules and regulations and complicated vocabulary when all we need is to trust the Savior.

And I must speak for all the pastors here at Peninsula (since 1964!) that it is very nice to know that someone really was listening through all those years. Ray was. Ray had learned to simply trust Jesus through the good and the bad and by the time he would walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Ray never feared that evil. He listened. He lived. And now? Now he has motivated me to mimic his faith.

So, I will be sad on Saturday, sad because I miss my friend. Sad because Ray was one of my biggest fans. Sad because he’s left a huge hole in our church family. Ray wasn’t very noisy, but he was very faithful. May his tribe increase.