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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


DISCLAIMER: Over the last several weeks, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I've taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.

It was a cool morning in December 2004. I found myself standing in an auditorium inside the walls of Memorial University Medical Center--the place where Josh had died just 8 months before. I had come at the invitation of their administration. Not sure what value I could add to their training that day, I had reluctantly agreed to be the "face of a victim." Truth is, I only came because God and I had made a deal to try and bring good from Josh's death.

As the four hundred-plus people spilled into the auditorium that day, I was more than a little intimidated. There were doctors, a few lawyers, nurses and hospital administrators. Every one of them knew far more about medicine and health care than I could ever think. More than once that morning, the question rolled through my mind, "Ridley, what are you doing here? What in the world are you going to say?" I got up to the platform after my introduction without a clue or a note card in my hand. God did the rest.

That day cleared some of the fog for me. It began an incredible journey that has taken me from a national conference in Boston to a small gathering of doctors in Pittsburgh. It has put me in the auditoriums of hospitals in Jacksonville, Florida; Tuscon, Arizona; and Charlotte, North Carolina. I could have never written this script for myself. But my searching in the days after the accident lead me to believe that God was up to something. I just didn't dream big enough. There's a shocker.

I'm a firm believer in a big God who opens doors that we thought were slammed shut. I am living proof that our God can do whatever, whenever, however He chooses. Josh's story has been used to improve hospital safety in many dozens of places across this nation. Far more important, though, is the fact that Josh's life is causing people to talk about pain, faith, forgiveness and loss all while bringing glory to God.

Here's the thing I want you to hear from me...I could never do this on my own. I'm not strong enough, smart enough, qualified enough. Neither are you. And when you realize that, that's when you will find yourself at the place where you are most useful to God. God's not looking for the qualified. He's looking for the willing.

Joshua was no great warrior chief when he took down Jericho. He was just willing to be lead by God.

David had no notches in his belt from past giant slayings the day he entered that valley. He just had a sling, some stones and a malleable heart.

Peter was a fisherman with no speaking ability, no leadership training and no lengthy education resume. He just knew how to follow his heart as it followed Jesus.

Mary had never birthed a child. Heck, she had never even been intimate with a man. It was her heart, humbled before God, that made her the perfect candidate for the unexpected.

God wants to do the same for you. Don't worry about what you bring to the table. He probably won't use it anyway. He just needs you.

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