Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The untold story of Pastor Ray Ortlund’s beautiful home-going
By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- Ray Ortlund, a beloved pastor, author, and radio broadcaster -- who touched the lives of many through small-group discipleship – bravely endured the complications of pulmonary fibrosis, an insidious lung disease that also claimed the life of Campus Crusade Founder Bill Bright.
Ray and wife Anne founded Renewal Ministries after he led two of the most prominent churches in Southern California. Together they authored more than 25 books and traveled extensively throughout the world speaking on behalf of renewal and revival among God’s people. For 19 years, Ray was the speaker for the “Haven of Rest” radio broadcast.
Ray went to be with Jesus on July 22, 2007. Five years after his home-going, his wife and daughter recount the untold story of the months and final days of his glorious life.
In the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, normal lung tissue is replaced by scar tissue, which causes the sufferer to slowly suffocate to death. “When these growths cover your lungs, the air is all around you but you can’t take it in,” notes Anne Ortlund. “It’s like drowning, a very hard way to go.”
Ray fought his disease at the same time Bill Bright suffered with the malady. 'They talked about it over the phone," Anne recalls. Bill encouraged Ray to seek the same therapy he was receiving in Florida, however, their disease had advanced far beyond what the therapy could offer. In the often difficult days before their passing, the two families shared encouragement and prayer.
In the last six months of his life, Ray periodically had 10 - 15 minute emergencies when he fought desperately to get air. “When those periods were over, more than once he said, ‘This is God’s gift to me.’”
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