Rick with family: Ariel, Wendy, and Kara


Meet Rick Huntress who is currently working on his Masters in counseling at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  Rick was a former business systems manager with First Union National Bank.  He is a member of Faith Baptist Church, Taylors, SC, and actively involved in volunteer counseling with the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association and along with his wife Wendy encourages disabled individuals through the Truth for Trials ministry in conjunction with Pastor Tim Mahler. Rick is also a peer support leader for the Greenville South Carolina area. He and his wife, Wendy, have two daughters at home, Kara who is majoring in biology at Bob Jones University and Ariel is junior at Bob Jones Academy.


Rick pictured in front of an A C-130.  The A C-130 is the type of aircraft Rick sustained his injury.


On May 14, 1997, Rick’s life changed forever when, as a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve, and unusual accident occurred severely injuring his spine and severing his spinal cord.  Rick has a wonderful way of turning the attention that he now naturally draws being in a wheelchair to his Lord and Savior.  Continue reading the message below to learn how he is able to “Focus on the Lord” rather than on his own limitations.

Focus on The Lord


by Rick Huntress


The loss of a loved one. A terminal illness. Divorce. A disabling accident. This list could go on, seemingly without end. Many of us have already had our lives touched by a tragedy, and for those of you that have not, you will.

My point is not to show that I have a defeatist attitude; however, each of us must face reality. Eventually, all of us will be touched with pain.

Hebrews 9:27 tells us “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”:

The godless of this world look at the pain and suffering and say there is no God. Many times while witnessing to people I hear the response, “If there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?” Instead of turning to the only hope that the world has, the person of Jesus Christ, they turn their backs on God because of a lack of human understanding.

Romans 3:11, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”

What about the Christian? It would be wonderful if I could say that Christians never doubt, fear, get angry or bitter; however, I think that statement would be less than true. But why? Why should a Christian ever give in to discouragement?

Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

The Bible repeatedly gives the Christian a wonderful glorious hope. Then why do we fail? I think the answer to that question is found in the first word of Titus 2:13, “Looking.” Where are we looking when we become discouraged, angry, bitter? More than likely we have stopped looking at God and have put our focus onto ourselves and our troubles.

Romans 5:3-5 says “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

On May 14, 1997 I was involved in an accident in the Air Force Reserves. While loading cargo onto the back of a C-130 plane, the rear cargo door hydraulics released, dropping a two ton cargo door on my head. My wife and family were told that I had a 50% chance of surviving. After a month in ICU, a thirteen hour surgery, and several months of rehabilitation, I was finally able to go home; however, with one major change in my life. I am now a T9 paraplegic, that is, paralyzed from the lower ribs down. Three of my vertebrae had been shattered and my spinal cord severed. Spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair was not something I had planned on. I had always been confident in what I could do physically. I could take care of myself and handle any situation that may come my way. sounds pretty arrogant does it not? It was. Instead of depending on God for all aspects of my life, not just salvation, I was depending on myself. During those months in the hospital I faced a great crossroads in my faith. By the grace of God I kept my eyes focused on Jesus Christ and not on myself. Through my accident, God was asking me to depend more completely on him.

Psalm 118:8-9 says “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

If we put our trust in anything that this world offers, the object of trust will ultimately fail us, and instead of our lives reflecting the confidence and hope that only Jesus Christ can offer, we will feel the discouragement and hopelessness of a sinful and dying world.

Yes, each of us will have pain and trouble come into our lives. But instead of turning to discouragement, turn to the Lord and keep your eyes focused on Him. Remember and take to heart Romans 8:28.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

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