Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Day with Ray: Part 2

photo: apoinc

2400 volts of electricity passed through Raymond Defenbaugh for almost half an hour. It only takes 1700 in the electric chair, and only a few moments, but none of that mattered in 1963, when a young Ray hit the high-wire power line with his tractor. The man next to him reached out to help, and 39 years later, Ray showed me the indentation of that man's thumbprint, all that would remain, as the current then shot through him and instantly took his life, literally blowing him up.

Many people stood around, wetting their pants as they witnessed the horror, trying to figure out how to get him away from the current. When they finally did, they put him in the car to take him to the funeral home. There was nothing else to do. Ray was dead.
But God wasn't finished with him yet. In the car where they'd laid Ray's fried body for the trip to the funeral home, he woke up.

That's right. I said he woke up. 2 minutes at a maximum of 2,000 volts, that's what experts deem necessary to execute a villain in the chair. Ray was in the hot seat for nearly 30.

In the confusion and panic a 17-year old Ray commenced to fighting the man in the car and kicked the windows out. He'd lost his right arm and most of both of his feet, where the current had passed most violently. His blood had boiled and his heart had fibrillated, and so it was no surprise when doctors moved him to an auditorium, to gather round, to study and poke.

None of them could believe it had happened, and so man did what man does best, they chose not to believe. They said that because they couldn't believe it was possible, it therefore hadn't happened, and that would be the end of it.

There was just one problem with that line of thought, and that was the 18 people who were there, who saw it with their own eyes and could prove otherwise.
Ray was back from the dead. A walking, talking miracle.

And that's how he explains his faith ever since. When he went to Russia, the worst parts, he said they sent all the bad boys there. But the people there told Ray that they didn't believe in the book of Revelation because a professor in the area had just proved to them 100% that it was just a story. Ray gave them his testimony and said that just because a story sounds unbelievable doesn't mean it didn't happen. He told them that he was there, teaching them, alive and kicking today, and they could take it or leave it.

The father of the man Ray stayed with was the head of Russian secret service. One day Ray said he wanted to go to church, but the Russian got mad and said,

"You will not find a church here because they are all gone, it was my job to shut them all down, and I did my job very well."
But Ray wasn't one to quit. The next week he said he wanted to go church again, and the Russian got angry and said,
"You must not be hearing me very well, I said I did my job well!" Ray smiled and said, "Well... I found one."

You could have knocked the Russian over with a feather.
Reminiscing those days, Ray took a deep breath, "I believe the only true church is the persecuted church."

I told him that I knew why I was supposed to come, it was to meet him, and that I could tell that of all the people in this conference, his wisdom was different.

When I told him I noticed his wisdom was godly and not from man, this gentle man shared one last time, "You can start and run a bank, you can start and run an ethanol plant, you can invest, you can come to this conference as I have all these years, and it does not take a brain. When we run across someone with the Holy Spirit, we will recognize it in one another, that same spirit, and the Bible tells us it's so. I believe it, and all of it, because if there's any part we're going to decide we can't believe is true, well then I'm too ignorant to choose."

"I hope to connect with you again some day, Ray." I said, giving him a hug. "Oh, we will see each other again." He smiled, casting a nod toward Heaven.

So, reader.  Is this a true story?  My son even asked that when he read this.  Is it not most fantastic?  Is it not most unbelievable?  Is it unexplainable and out-of-this-world?   All of the above.  
What can I tell you about Jesus?  I never met the man in person.  I have to rely on the words of his most faithful followers, these men and women who, when given the opportunity to recant and deny their belief in the Christ, chose rather to die, because how do you un-see something?  How do you say it didn't happen, when you know that it did?   The truth is you don't.  You go to your execution, and as most historical accounts show us, you go in worship, praising God, and even using your last moments to proclaim His Majesty.  

I met Ray.  I hugged him!  I saw the thumbprint in his arm.  More importantly, I heard the wisdom from his still beating heart and I witnessed the love of this same Jesus in his eyes.  Today, we are brothers, and that is all a gift.   In the words of Ray,  "You can take it, or you can leave it."

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