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Loss, Lament, and Healing

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2021 1:00 am

Loss, Lament, and Healing

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 2, 2021 1:00 am

tells hosts Dave and Ann Wilson the story of how God met her after the tragic loss of her son and the healing his life still brings to others.

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overcoming adversity
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Like getting mom Bonita Royster was filled with joy when she gave birth to her son Paul.

Seven weeks later when because of a doctor's mistake Paul died.

Bonita had a lot to process spiritually is manic and I thought we did all the right stuff and that was sort of the theology and in some ways is eating the right staff. You pray you read the Bible you trust God, then you be okay. I would just let me trust that Paul would be okay him go through surgery and when they need, so I would say I was pretty upset. This is family life today.

Our hosts are David and Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us online@familylifetoday.com here from beneath Reisner today about how she wrestled with God over this seemingly senseless tragedy in her own life. Stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us. I think maybe one of the greatest sources of joy for any parent is when you find out that you have a baby that first moment I remember Marianne showing up at work in the middle of the day. She walks up to the front of the radio station where I was working I thought what my wife do not appear at the radio station and she was walking strong and confident and smiling.

I thought I wonder what she's doing here and it's because she had just come from the doctor and you know I did. I had no idea there was nothing and she was beaming. She was thrilled. If that's the case then to find out that there's an issue with the pregnancy or a problem when the baby is born. I remember a couple in our church who in the middle of her pregnancy got the diagnosis that the child was anencephalic. There was no brain in this child and I faced the difficult decision to carry the baby to term to give birth to the baby live for six hours and I remember the funeral and if the joy of pregnancy and new life is on one end of the scale than the devastation that comes when you lose a baby when a grandchild is born. That's another one of the most exciting days and when that pregnancy is announced.

Never forget our first grandchild with our son and his wife telling us they bought a little Harley Wednesday because Dave owns a Harley and says you to be a grandpa and we were ecstatic. But then they last and then they lost another baby and they lost and not there. It's devastating, headache is really tough. We are talking this week with a guest who has experienced the pain that were talking about and more pain in life.

In fact, her book is all about the trials of life that she's been through beneath Reisner joining us a given family life today. Welcome back think he expected it as we then she says that was well and and it's a joy that has been acquired through how God has met you in the midst of the adversity that you been in but I have to think when you read the book of Job, you go oh yeah, I can relate. I mean, what we have already shared this week about how you were born with polio and it might have been diagnosed and treated properly early, but the doctors gave the wrong thing misdiagnosed. Your immune system was compromised. Polio set in.

You had dozens of surgeries before you were 13 years old and we've shared that experience in and we will talk here about what you experienced as a mom, which included both miscarriages and then the birth of a son that was one of the more painful experiences of your life. So, to tell us about your pregnancies and your journeys and just share your story with us. Kenneth got pregnant after I'd been married a few years and told everyone everything in my office everybody that I ever met, like right away as name was just out of the gate. Really excited and then was on a business trip in New York and started bleeding and found out I was having a miscarriage.

I didn't know then it was funny. I called the my MP and she was like yeah you might be okay. My DRI and came back just hoping that everything was fine. I was 12 weeks and went in and found out that I had a miscarriage and so is the start of this feeling like life isn't going to be safe because I had come to Christ. I had probably 15 years and very easy life of a crazy easy life.

I think that the terms relative you say easy live. He still you know have a disability right so far exceeded what I ever thought life would be graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in business and then going to Stamford and got my Masters in MBA and fast tracking your business that I mean, yeah, life was going pretty. From what I expected from life and I was in the hospital.

Life was perfect. Now, met classmate in business goal.married and had a great career. After that good and easy this miscarriage.

There is just sense that await hard things can still happen said then daughter them after that name. Katie and I was starting to feel comfortable but then I had another miscarriage and it miscarriage. I did the same thing I told a lot of people because I thought I had one miscarriage, but I'm not can have another one. Another miscarriage sort of shook me your pregnancy and your birth was Katie everything was everything was fine. Okay.

And then was pregnant again and went in for a 20 week ultrasound and found out our unborn son hypo plastic left heart and plastic left heart basically means only half of your heart is working and half that actually does most of the work is not working and so we had a choice of what we could do that is 20 weeks long and they said they really wanted me to have an abortion but they said if you don't do that. These are some options and one was having a heart transplant at birth. One was having surgery and one was doing nothing and if you don't do anything. This condition is state on cell within two weeks. Your travel time cell ended up doing a lot of research and chose to go up to the University of Michigan and have a three-step heart surgery which a high school friend of mine. He's a pediatric cardiologist said this is a really good option. You's medicine has come so far so we were optimistic went up to Michigan and had the surgery and Paul was doing great. It was pretty dicey, but we came home and things were going really well. Bob and I doubt Mike okay working to make it three.

This is a prognosis that he'll have a normal life for would be somewhat limited in that he can play contact sports. Because of this, because your lungs do some of the work of your heart and they said like a lifespan they anticipated in their 70s 60s and not into their 90s, but that seemed pretty odd yes so we pretty good about it in the doctors not everything was great and then we went in for pulse check And his regular cardiologist in Raleigh was not there and there was a substitute doctor and he looked at Paul and said she's doing really well mean he was probably 50 and 70% uses some great percentile in height and weight was just thriving and how old is he is almost 7 weeks, said the doctor sort of said all these medicines we medicine that we are drying up for him three times a day and little syringes probably 10 different kinds of medicine and he said if you'd like to worry about that before meeting with Ralph, we thought, okay, we are out of the woods to come home and then that night I was going to a baby shower form that was the first time anybody had seen him and I called my friend who told us to got to Michigan and just want to tell you the great news he's off his medicine and my friend John said what again and I told him and he said he needs that medicine you need to call them and get them back on 6 o'clock on a Friday night and I thought no, he's not on.

I don't know what to tell them and he said will just call so I did and left a message and went to the shower. John said I didn't need to go to the ER so he said I think you can waive the call first thing Monday morning shower had a really good weekend with Paul our son, and you did hear back from the doctors know except didn't hear anything. Didn't know what to do, which is usually good news fine and then Sunday night at like three in the morning, And I got up to nurse him.

He just screamed and went limp in Dave's arms and that was this sound like now. You can't do this, you can't take Paul so we call 911 and ambulance came and I remember just not knowing what to do. David Kahn in the ambulance with Paul, and I was so scared to.

So I called John and this was before southland so I called him in the middle of the night and his wife told me that he was actually out of town at some friends was 3 AM, but I called John at the friend's house and John answered and said, I'm so sorry and I remember saying okay, but I am going to go to the ER and get to see Paul and I need to know what medicine, what messages he absolutely need to be on what do I need to tell them, tell me what to do. And John wouldn't answer me. All he kept saying is I'm so sorry I'm so sorry and I could hear a note of hopelessness in his voice. So I hung up the phone I got on my knees and I thank God I begged God to save Paul's life I will ever say anything any, you name it I will do it. Please, please don't take Paul's life and then ended up some friends came over to watch Katie and I went to the ER when I got to the ER. I went to the front desk and I said to them, so they would about my son in an ambulance.

I really want to see him and the woman said I'm sorry your son is in that moment. Is this moment frozen in time for me. I couldn't even process it wasn't something I had been expecting when in Tucson, so Paul's little body for the last time Dave is holding him and I could not believe that it happened to us because pollen been doing so well. This was the doctor's mistake and I couldn't really reconcile that in a lot of ways with Scott care and look after his children, who are praying that is the second doctor's mistake in your life yeah yeah the first one was when the doctor this prescribed in the blood your polio now. Your doctor says you don't need this medication. 72 hours later, your son is doing so are you angry with God first we had the funeral when I get up and said God never makes a mistake can and then three weeks later I wanted to pull every word back. I was mad at God.

I thought we did all the right stuff and that was sort of the theology and in some ways is you do the right stuff. You pray you read the Bible you trust God, then, be okay looking at how the close from Paul's baby shower. I remember looking at that so many times because I didn't know what to do with them. And every time I saw them I would just think you let me trust that Paul would be okay.

You let him go through surgery and live. And then you took him so I would say I was pretty upset with Scott walking through a dark night of the soul of Valley. How long would it brought you out if and when I remember the days that it felt like months. And I need to go back and see exactly how long it was, but it was months of feeling dark and then one day in the car. I just cried out to God, I can't do this. I can't be this far away from you I need you to fill me with yourself you something and then I put in a worship tape actions cassette tape and all of a sudden God's presence filled my car and I didn't see God.

But I sensed God with this joy that I couldn't contain.

I remember being so ecstatically happy thinking if this is what life with Christ is I'll take it over anything so he felt his presence and his joy mediate rate in your car's been so depressed and so angry and so hurt and yet in my car that day, God was there and God said, you know what the matter what you go through me and the me that I felt that presence that God gave me radically changed me right from that day on I thought okay God if I know that you are here and you can do this now walk through whatever you call me to let me go back to the The Valley of the desert that you were him or you trying to draw near to God and it was silent or had you given up on trying. I'd given up on trying not even started trying. I was just thinking your mom says if you can't say anything gay don't say anything at all, and that was kind of where I wise so I had not so frustrated with God in the theology that I had assumed was true. I was questioning everything and didn't want to talk to. Was there anybody from your church was Dave anybody know this is where you weren't trying to bring you back closer to the Lord now because I am a superficial.

Please are, or at least I buy and I was all about making it look pretty. You're right. I was hiding, go to church. Yes, going to church early telling people that God was close to me.

I wasn't quite that bad, but I was not willing to let plan. So if somebody came up and said how are you doing I been praying for you.

You just said thank you means a lot to me that I did not share with anybody, which is what made it even darker. I think people are willing to just put it out there and say I'm angry and I'm struggling even that can draw them to God, but I will. I was just silent. We have a close friend that just lost her 34-year-old daughter and everything you're describing is what she's describing I feel nothing I'm not. I'm angry at least. And I'm encouraged that she's at least said that that she said I don't know how to find out again because I don't know if I can trust him. That's that sounds exactly what you are feeling. What would you say to those people now that's a question I mean Jerry Bridges says he now can you really trust God when adversity comes and fills your life with pain and that was my question and I would say yes you can, because God had two things God taught me really throughout my life is gotten be with you through it. That's one reason you can trust God and God can use it. God does have a purpose. We may not ever see it this side of heaven. But knowing that God will walk with you and God is going to use it really does change things. And for me it was really seeing the character of God through the Bible that really cemented my trust because it was soon after that I started just pouring over the Bible like I need to know you in a different way because when I came to know Christ when I was 16 I knew that this God who had this great purpose for my life and I really liked Bible it was a good thing to read but through every suffering in my life.

The Bible has become more and more alive to me and I would say after Paul's death. I learned what lament twice know that that was even it sent in the Bible. I had heard about it but when you read the Psalms you see that a lot of people, the psalmist, Asaph, David asked as hard questions like where are you God and can I trust you and God would answer really with himself and I realize that's how it got answered me. I didn't have a reason why Paul died.

I don't know but God answered me with himself. And when you when you even talk about being in the car. The power of the moment of describing worth to God.

I'm guessing you weren't singing, but you are listening you are sending. What started off by listening and I was singing and don't sing well, let's just put it out there so gender car by yourself and nobody was connect the thing and it was incredible so it was really in this praising God for me music and sometimes unlock things and and it really was just hearing the words of the song and someone describing to God glory just washed over me and just as I started to sing it. There was just a sense that the Holy Spirit said this is what life is really about.

It is about worshiping God and forgetting everything else and my sister and I were talking about suffering the other day and she said, suffering is the stripping away of everything. But Jesus and I freely felt like that's what happened. My cottage stripped away everything at that moment, I thought for me Jesus you were talking about learning to lament and I think lament is certainly were invited into in Scripture as opposed to superficiality or stoicism or denial know we need to be honest and real before God with the foregoing through. I'm just curious. It almost feels like the talk I hear about lament these days is this is the place to stay, as opposed to the place to visit. Can you speak of a true lament can never be the place to stay because we really are talking to God.

We are filled with his trust for him because were being honest with him and that almost always in the Bible turns to praise their very few times when you see someone lamenting where they don't end up praising God. You see it in limitations. You see it in almost every sound except 88 where they start singing and where are you God and then they end with I trust you and so I think if people just end up in lament all the time.

I don't think that's real lament because I think that is complaining not to God but to get about God and there's a huge difference.

If you just talk about God as if I can't believe that did this to me, but you're not actually saying to God, why did you do this to me didn't have a very different result. And I found talking to God is what changed when you're saying that because of all years for me to decide. I think this year and read the Psalms. That's gonna be my daily reading 2020 starts that I had no idea that the Psalms were to be so apropos and healing for me because every day it felt like what is happening, you know the world coming apart, and of just what you said is like men so often they start with lament the end with praise aminos. Look at Psalm 69 which I read a few days ago and said look at this. He says I am worn out calling for help. My throat is parched.

My eyes fail looking for God, he is just where are you and the shirt off by the very end. You do not hide your face from your servant, answer me quickly for I'm in trouble come here and rescue me, deliver me, for I know you are here. This is a beautiful journey that we all have to take out.

I just think it's important for us to learn to lament and to be honest in our lament, but I also think it's important that we don't think that lament is the destination that it's the journey to take us to the destination of the destination is where you got to in the car, praising God and worshiping God and being flooded with his presence, but it probably took your honesty are processing what you're going through to get to where you eventually came to the other question that I keep pondering is the question that all of us come back to you had to stop and think Lord you could have not had that Dr. be there that day and say he does need these medicines anymore.

How do we ascribe to the sovereignty of God.

These events and then say a good God ordain whatsoever comes to pass an admitted tragedy for me how if you process this bad things happening to good people in God's sovereignty dilemma. The book of Job is a great example for us as we see that Job's tragedies.

A lot of them came from human people and the people killed that the house fell on his children, but people took his servants is livestock. All of those things happened, and yet God was not the one who directly did it, but God was in it as well. Satan needed God's permission, and Job says that God gave and God took away blessed be the name of the Lord.

And so I think realizing that God is in all of these things. There is not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the father's well and just realizing that has given me a lot of freedom really has changed me take the fear out of suffering.

Because if God is in it is in everything that happens to us, whether it's a doctor's mistake or a natural disaster.

There's no need to fear you read the last part of Job poor Job finally kinda let's go with God and says okay I owed some answers.

Here God after all I've been through it I can imagine after what you've been through going okay. Got you, you at least ought to give me some insight into what the purpose is here so I can rest a little easier and Job under rails against God, and God says or we are done.

Have you said you want to say are you sure anything else. All right sitdown where were you when I formed the world like who is this that knocks on my door and says this is what undeserved I remember reading that for the first time and going, like Job, I'm putting my hand over my mouth. Sometimes I'll do that same thing rather go to the end of Job to hear and remember what God says where were you when I formed and created the earth, where were you and it's just a good reminder of God's greatness of his goodness, of his mercy that he so big that we can trust him and walk with him. Even when it doesn't feel good and I love the Psalms.

I love worship music because it takes our hearts back home to how good God is and it redirects our thoughts and our lives and attention you often when were and suffering are in the Valley or in the desert. The last thing were ever going to do coming to church and I can pick up my Bible on definitely not complete a worship cassette or CD or let you know I'm just not going to do it and you don't and sister died of cancer at 45 when we would go to church and worship would be played weed we look over and and would be sobbing there something about music that connects to your soul and I could hide everywhere else. But when I saying it came from the depths of me and I would just weep uncontrollably to the point where I had this is a scary thing because I can't contain the pure depth of pain I was feeling, but there's something about worship that draws it out it's healing sense.

Here's my question.

Also, when you got out of the car and he walked back in the life, was it sustainable or Terry wasn't just I sing a song and everything was good after that. Or was it still struggle it wasn't like life was radically and totally different but there was an crown deadness in Christ that was different, so I would say I still lamented it was still hard. I still poured over the Psalms and ask out the hard questions, but I was with God, I was talking to God.

Where is I would say for the months before that I was not talking to God and I think that's the most important critical piece is talking to God. And the more you talk to God, the more he changes you. And then there is a song written yes tell us about that.

So one of my really good friends name is Krista Wells and she'd come over to our house. Actually, after Paul had died.

We talk to her a lot about what got it done in that and she wrote a song a few months later called held in the first verse is all about Paul and the other two are about other friends. She had that had sustained serious losses with the first verse starts with two months is too little, but they let him go.

They had no sudden healing and it was this amazing healing song that she sang in our church and she asked me months later, I am thinking about asking somebody to record dad or somebody's really interested in it.

What you think about that and I thought it sounds great and it ended up being Natalie Grant and the song is held and I was amazed at how healing that someone has been to so many people because it really has touch them in the courses. This is what it means to be held how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive and feel like that was our story was the sacred was torn from our life and we survived, and God held a Senate, the lyric is so beautiful because I think it's the question in all of our hearts, held especially in the storm in the Valley. Is there a God whose company you know I think this was so many people connect with its own because it says yes you are, even when it doesn't feel like it. Even when you can't see it or maybe even feel it. There are strong hands that have there holding you and I am so grateful for not only affected to share your story with us lethal but that you also help us think biblically about how to make sense of the circumstances that you went through in all of this we are this week, making copies of your book available for family life to the listeners who could help support the ministry of family life to the book as our thank you gift to you. When you make a donation to support this ministry to say a word when you donate the family life to the what you're really investing in is providing practical biblical help and hope for marriages and families. Hundreds of thousands of marriages and families every day. People who are connecting with us here at family life on our website.

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