About a year ago, we received a phone call on a Sunday afternoon that Bruce's cousin, Ricky, had died from a heart attack and that he was found kneeling at the couch as though he had been praying. Which did not take us by surprise, knowing that Ricky was a praying man! Our hearts were heavy with grief. A little while later we found out that it was a case of mistaken identity. That the person who had died was also named Ricky, but not our Ricky. We were so relieved.
At the family reunion in December, Ricky got up and told his side of the story of that day. We laughed and carried on about that for months.
Today, however, that mistaken news became a reality for us. While preaching the funeral of his Uncle, Ricky stressed the importance of knowing Christ and making sure you were right with Him when you died. At the close of the service, six of his family came forward to accept Christ. Ricky was overcome with joy, as you can imagine. He began to shout and praise the Lord. And as he knelt over one of them to pray, the Lord did call him home.
I have no doubt there was great rejoicing in Heaven when he passed from this world to the next. Beholding the face of his Jesus, his Saviour, his King. All the things he has preached and believed became reality for him this afternoon.
It is hard for me to imagine our family gatherings without Ricky. He just always seemed to be the life of any gathering. Always having something funny to say. And yet he was also a humble servant of God. Telling others about Christ whenever he could. Pleading for others to accept Christ before it were too late.
Ricky may not have celebrities gathering in a large auditorium, or be immortalized by the media or millions of fans around the world. But he will always be remembered. And he will be waiting on the other side of Jordan until we meet again.