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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If you're like me, you have probably uttered the words, "If I had only known..." at some point in your life. In fact, I've probably done it more times than I care to admit. The implication is that, with some kind of foreknowledge of the situation, I might have altered my behavior to choose some different path. Lord knows that there is much about my life that I would have changed had I known ahead of time what the repercussions would be. Like that spring day when I let my wife take the wheel for 30 minutes and drive us home. "If I had only known..." How many times have I spoken those words regarding that one monumental event in my life. If I had only known... That came to mind as I read this verse yesterday morning: "O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." The amazing thing about God is that he did know. Long before a single star had been flung into place or one drop of moisture had fallen to the earth. Long before he ever placed Adam or Eve or you or me into existence, he knew everything about us and the choices we would make. He knew the times we would frustrate him, the times we'd make the wrong choice or fail completely. He also knew the times we'd cause him to laugh with pleasure or smile with delight. He knew his Son would have to die. And never once in that Holy, perfect and amazing mind of his did he utter the words "If I had only known..." More appropriately, I think he might say, "Because I did know, I came..." And because he did know and he did come, I don't have to know everything. I can lay my hopes and dreams and ambitions and family and kids and life before this God who knows. I can trust that he has the best interest of us ALL at heart. That he loves you and me desperately and that he desires what's best for the whole world. I can trust that knowledge and know for myself that, even though I cannot change that spring day in 2004, I can change my life for today and tomorrow so that I do not miss what God has left for me.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was in the audience today at Baptist Health, and I spoke to you briefly after the conference.
I cannot begin to tell you what an impact your story made on me (perhaps you saw me crying my eyes out, but wait, everyone was). I cannot even begin to understand the loss, but you are an amazing person to do with it what you are doing. I can only hope that I would handle it in a similar manner. You are truly an inspiration.
Thank you again.
Andrea C.

andreacronley said...

I was in the audience today at Baptist Hospital, and I spoke to you briefly after the conference. Hearing you tell your story has made an impact on me. I can't even begin to realize what you have lost, but as I told you, it takes a very special person to take such a painful, personal event and make good come out of it. I can only hope, that in the face of such tragedy, that I could be that kind of person. You are an inspiration. Thank you again.

Andrea C.

julie harris said...

Hi Brother Ridley,

I trust you are home safely by this late hour.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to share wonderful conversation about you and about life on the way to the airport today.

Mostly, I want you to know that truly something wonderful is happening because of your incredible ability to share the feelings and emotions of your family's tragedy.

You touched hearts and souls today and the mark you left is profound.

The blessing you gave each of us in the room today will ...picture this........ be shared with our families, our patients, and our colleagues thousands of times over by the difference that will be made in our practice at home, at work, and in teaching others.

I know I will never, never think the word "visitor" is appropriate again, in the hospital setting.

My son was born on April 9, the same date you lost your wife. I know the Lord worked in my life to give me the gift of your wisdom today. It is such a small world and I feel blessed to share it with men of your strength and character.

My family's contact info is
rjl3693@bellsouth.net and our phone is 904-940-0809. Please call when you are in town again. I will certainly call you when we make it to Tennessee. My husband would like very much to meet you. Don't tell him I told you this....he only plays golf well enough to keep up the pace of play and not embarass you.... but he will keep you in stitches laughing.

In the mean time, I plan to work on some speaking engagements for you here in town.

Thank you for the blessings of today. You are truly a messenger of God's grace.

Julie said...

Hello again Brother Ridley,
There has hardly been a day go by that I have not thought of you and your family.
I was at church tonight. We are doing a study on the book of Daniel by Beth Moore. I could not help but think of you. In Daniel I have learned our Heavenly Father can deliver us from the fire, through the fire or by the fire into his arms. I thought of you and your walk with God. Brother Ridley, you have cerainly been delivered by fire. The integrity of your walk with God has been tested just as Abraham was tested. You have confirmed your love of God and continue to spread the message of His grace. While it is a journey no one would choose to bear, you have established firmly in God's eyes exactly who you are. There is a children's song my son and I listen to every day.... you know like that child's movie you have seen for the 112th time.... It says " dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand for God.." You are standing for God and in you he has found favor.You get up out of bed everyday for the glory of God. I am sure you know this to be true. I wanted to tell you tonight you are a living testament of God's awesome love and you are a man of great faith who God continues to use for awesome work in His name. I wish your wife and son could still be here with you and your family and I wish you did not have to stand without them in this lions den, but I know one day when you have completed the work God has set forth for you it will be a glorious day in heaven. Until then know that the words you speak have fortified my walk as well.
Your sister in christ,
Julie