It was my junior year of college when I stumbled on the Freshman down the hall whose glasses were almost as thick as mine.  Ray and I soon became friends, but it was not our membership in the nearsighted-since-birth club that brought us together. We discovered we liked the same kind of food and enjoyed the same hobbies.  A love of the same music and a a fondness for the Green Bay Packers is what caused us to spend real time together.  While Ray lived down the hall, he could more often then not be found in my room, either spending time with me or my room mate, another good Packer fan.  For my senior year at college I chose to room with Ray and we enjoyed spending time together.  One of things that made Ray interesting was his love of The Word.  As a little boy he made it his goal, in order to keep up with a Jewish friend, to memorize the first five books of Moses.  He had memorized Genesis and Exodus but his passion for the writings of Moses waned at that point and he moved on to the Gospel of John and selected psalms.

The summer after my senior year I got married, and I asked Ray to be my Best Man.  We had solidly become best friends.  We would often talk on the phone and wrote to one another. That was back in the days of the letter.  People in the eighties would still take a pen or pencil and a piece of paper in hand write a note that would end up in an envelope and be dropped in the mail. As our lives continued on, we stayed in touch and, although we saw each other very seldom, we still remained good friends. Six years after Ray and I were college roommates, he was finishing his final year at the Seminary, getting ready to take his bold passion for Christ into the mission field.

During this year I received a letter from Ray.  He shared with me many details about his life and future plans, but more than anything he shared with me his great excitment over getting engaged!  Ray was getting married.  For lots of reasons this was not a day I thought I would ever see, but I was so very excited for him.  I was excited at the prospect of being a part of his wedding, and celebrating his marriage.  Within a couple of days of receiving this letter, when it was still on my pile of mail on the kitchen counter, I returned home one evening to hear the news that Ray had been killed by a drunk driver the night before while pulling out of the seminary with his fiancee.  It was unimaginable news that knocked the very wind out of me. It is a loss of friendship that to this day I struggle to fill completely.  To this day that final letter of Ray’s can be found in the top drawer of my desk.  While the letter was not life changing, or profound in its message, it is for me the last memory I have of Ray.

There is another stack of mail, this collection of letters sits not in my desk but on it.  The collection of personal connection and memories is contained in the Bible.  While I enjoy and treasure my last letter from Ray, I love the collection of letters from my God.  I have a deep and abiding love for the collection of love letters from a God who is not only my best friend, he is my Redeemer, my Savior, and my King.  So why don’t you pick up a good letter, from a great God and sit back and enjoy the read!

<>< Craig