“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” — Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT).

Ask anyone who knew Ray Wallis and they would tell you he was like King David, a man after God’s own heart. I’d only known Ray a little over eight years. Our lives intersected when my youngest grandson was born in 2009. My grandson, Cash, is one of Ray’s great grandsons.

Why would I compare Ray to King David? Paul tells us in Acts 13:22 why God chose David to become King. “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

Yes, David was a terrible sinner. However, we can learn much about his character by reading the book of Psalms where his life was revealed for all to examine. David wasn’t perfect. Neither was Ray.

However, what he had in common with King David is what God desires for all of His children. His heart belonged to the Lord. Ray, like King David, had a burning desire to follow God’s will and do what He had called him to do.

After battling cancer for almost three years, Ray went home to be with Jesus at the age of 86 on October 17. Even if you didn’t know Ray personally, you could pick up his Bible and read the scriptures he had underlined to learn more about this man of great faith.

Sitting in a pew at his funeral, I listened as the pastor read some of the scriptures highlighted in Ray’s Bible. According to Pastor Paul, Ray didn’t have many Old Testament scriptures underlined.

One, however, revealed much about Ray’s dedication to the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 above sums up much of Ray’s life. He loved the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength.

He committed himself wholeheartedly to God’s commands, including sharing the love of the Lord and His commands with his three daughters, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.”

Many find it difficult to comprehend how a loving God could allow the suffering of one of His faithful servants. Ray, however, knew about eternal life. His hope was in the Lord. Even during his last days on earth, he told his pastor. “It’s a win-win situation. Either I get better or I don’t.”

Ray didn’t win his battle on earth. But he won in the end.

Carol Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at carol@carolaround.com.