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July 2, 2009

           My family experienced a big tragedy recently. My first cousin’s son, Ricky, was killed by his own stepfather. The two men had both been drinking, and what started as an argument ended up in murder. Ricky was only 26 years old, and he didn’t have Christ in his life.

            Ricky’s father, my cousin Allen, was raised an Adventist, but he strayed away from the church for many years. He got caught up in many things that brought lots of suffering and stress to him and his family. Within the past few months, Allen realized that his life was heading in the wrong direction and that he needed to turn his life around.

Allen had been over to visit my parents and told them that he was reading his Bible and knew that he had to start his life over if he was ever going to be happy. Allen told my parents that he needed a job, and it would be nice if he could find one away from his hometown—that way he could start over fresh. The next day my dad called my husband, Randall, and asked him if there were any job openings where Randall works. My husband told my dad that he needed a man in Nashville, Tennessee. God had opened a door for Allen!

            Two months went by and Allen was doing very well. He was reading his Bible every night and sending us Bible quotes that had inspired him in some way. But then tragedy struck: Allen got the call that his son had been beaten to death by his ex-wife’s husband. We heard the news from Allen’s sister and immediately tried to contact Allen, but we didn’t get a hold of him.

            We were concerned that Allen would go home and become so angry that he might do something he would regret later. But we later learned that Allen stayed locked up in his hotel room, grieving on his own way while seeking God’s help. Allen knows that he has anger-management problems and that the only way he is able to control his anger is with God’s help.

            Allen knows that his example and the way that he had lived his life was not good for his son. Ricky grew up with alcohol and drugs around, and he was not taught the love of God. Allen believes that his son’s life was lost in part because of the way that Allen had lived his life while Ricky was growing up.

            Alcohol impairs the mind. Some people act crazy, and others can become angry while impaired. In Ricky’s case, anger resulted from the drinking, and murder resulted from the anger. Ricky was so young, and he had a new little baby girl—a child that will grow up never knowing her father. I urge you to learn from this situation and think before you drink, do drugs, or do anything else that could harm you or your family. If you don’t, the results can be fatal.

            Allen is holding tight to his Bible and doing well. With God in our lives, all things are possible. God can help us through some of our toughest times, periods of our lives that seem so dark. If Allen hadn’t had God on his side, the horrible situation could have been even worse. Psalm 17:6-8 says: “I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of your wings” (NKJV).* Put your trust in the Person that turned the worst tragedy of all time—Jesus being persecuted and murdered—into salvation for you and me.


*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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