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July 5, 2021 2:00 am
Are you in need of hope today? The pain of loss can rip our hearts open and leave us feeling hopeless, but on today's program, Ron Hutchcraft points us to our Living Hope, Who provides purpose in the midst of great loss, and hope for a better tomorrow.
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Hi 2020 was a I guess you could call it a pretty tough year. I think it was our hardest yeah what was your hardest moment in 2020. Dino yeah for sure. January 9, 2020 Hartigan cry. I lost my mom.
She's my best friend and it was really hard to lose her even though she was 90 years old.
It leaves such a hole and a gap and Inco that hit my mom and dad been married 70 years south to watch my dad be without her and none of us could be with him because he was in assisted living that like torture. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter, mom. I'm in Wilson and Andre Wilson and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or other family. This is family life today really talk about tough things today.
You know, we good the perfect guy in the studio with us to talk about love your book Ron Hutch crafters with us is the president and founder of run hovercraft ministries. I'm guessing you found that with your wife Karen absolutely wears red dog in this show. I have been called to go with the family like this is a treat to have you write so glad you're here doing everything important I've ever done in my life I did with Karen. Artie told us that, so I knew it wasn't you alone. You know your most recent book hope when your heart is breaking is what had just talked about her moment and we all have no moments in our life where our heart is breaking in this book and you know finding God's presence in your pain is perfect. I mean that I'm using WordPerfect a lot but it is is so what were asking right now how do I find hope when my heart is breaking. When life is really, really didn't go partially in the season. I would call it a season of grief because people have lost loved ones. People been suffering with depression and anxiety or just the tragedy of losing 500,000 lives in our country like those are some really hard things to face everybody's lost something in that you've lost certainty you Plan anything. Of course all the people of lost a loved one. People of lost businesses. They've lost jobs.
They've lost a dream that prepared for a long time.
The just got lost in the pandemic. They've lost connection yeah with other people. Whatever normalcy is. They've lost it would just feel like is it ever going to be the same again and I try to plan something. Right now you like well if well right.
Hopefully Ray and I have to tell you, the course I have no ideas in writing this book. That's all pre-pandemic and suddenly everybody's dealing with loss of some kind and whenever you have a major loss in your life when something is dying that you care about or has died or someone even worse, you do.
Grieve and you may not even call it that sorts.
Loss equals grief so we grieve throughout our life, not just when we lose the one we love that's by far on the stress chart you know the hundred portion and hundred and 100 porches you lost the love of your life will go there and let's talk about that because you know other is I said you're the perfect guy to talk but this is not only did you write a book about it, but when I watch you and I listen to you and now meeting you. You're full of joy.
There is a joy that comes out of Ron hydrogen energy. Okay, can we ask you how old you are.
It only sees over 40 good the hippest tennis shoes on.
Are you walking near as I did this guys were in Jordan's but anyway enough of that. How long were you married to the love of your life yet well that'll help answer the other question 50 years and I certainly married for love. There are those who believe the Karen married for pretty. We met in college.
She's a farm girl from the Ozarks in a city boy from Chicago and she was a little slow realizing how awesome I was and and reasons it took a little while so I just hung out everywhere she was, I believe that's called stalking and virtually I won the day and the really the love of my life now really going to blow in a wide open, but you know this is the love of my life in some 19. The only person assured my adult life worth every bit you guys understand how the there's only one person really irreplaceable that you have the same battles you've you've prayed same for the same things you knew the same people you've laughed at the same things cried over the same things. And all of a sudden I turned to tell her because that was life was shared. There's nobody there to tell. Here's what happened. We had a wonderful May 15, 2016. We went to the graduation of her first grandchild.
As valedictorian of the class is given a wonderful Christ honoring speech to a stadium full of people. Ron, as usual, has to leave just speak, I gotta be driven by some guys through the night to get to where I'm going to go speak to or sit in the bleachers and I said I love you honey and she said I love you, and then she teared up which was not usual because we've had a lot of goodbyes and I said honey what's going on and she said well I'm really going to miss you and I said oh, don't worry, it won't be long.
I was so wrong.
How could you know when your last, I love you wish.
The next day in another state I got called by Meyer. Our youngest son who said mom's gone. I felt like a lost little boy I knew how to do life with Karen. Life without her have no map whatsoever was unimaginable. She was my mirror.
She was my compass help me know what I was getting lost in turn, my best friend. She was a lot of fun and she was always interesting. You know, never got bored with her.
She was so a tremendous ministry partner, you know tremendous leader in her own right. Most of all, mother, my kids, so here here's the reality.
It was the best day of Karen's life.
She got to see geez yeah she got to see heaven. It was the worst day of my life. It was the worst ever kids life. It was the worst day of her grandkids life. I wrote a blog go. Not too long after that it pretty well summed it up my shattered heart my certain hope and they strangely coexisted. Tell us about that.
How do they coexist. First of all you have someone to cry out to who gets it. His name is Jesus. Hope is not a concept, hope is not a religion. Hope is not positive vibes. Hope is Jesus is called a living hope in the Bible because of the resurrection. His resurrection from the dead. The apostle Paul wrote in the Bible these words to people who had lost loved ones. He said we do not grieve Telford stop there. I put a Bible whenever that's a lie. Yeah this hurts like nothing is ever hurt my life right we do not grieve as others who have no hope. So if you imagine the scale know Jesus. The scale is all down on one side, the grief side is just there's nothing on the other side with Jesus.
This living hope is on the other side of this. He's a death crusher is a death conqueror I was the last one to leave her graveside and I was the last of the throw a handful of dirt in and because of Jesus because of what happened on that first Easter morning I could say with full assurance. See you soon baby and I did say this. See you soon, but in the meantime she's in heaven. We are not, and then only are we are not but were here without her yeah and all that she has been forced.
I literally didn't know what to do.
Get up off the couch, but I do next. I really was lost and I started grief Journal, I have right here in a few pages in, you would see these words written in in big letters at the top and it simply says I don't know if I get really growth you can see it right now yeah can you see if they were to say up there. I will not waste this is grief is at the start of the Journal. That said, a few days in I will not waste this argument.
I was not coherent enough to even come up with that thought literally that had to be God speaking it to me because I cried out in desperation see a broken heart is an open heart. It is wide open. It's ripped open. I mean it's open and places in a million places interesting. When I read that I recalled reading about a rabbi who used to say I pray that God will use the seeds that I plant onto people's hearts, and I thought that was such a weird saying and then later he said, so that when their hearts are broken open word will fall into their heart and I thought that's exactly what you're saying and if at that moment you cry out to Jesus. Whatever your relationship with them. Or maybe you don't have one, but if you simply said Jesus whatever you do do for me and you have no defenses.
Your vulnerable that's why if you don't make the right choices at this point that vulnerabilities from the turn and more hurt by your choices, not by the loss by your choices so if at that point if you'd open that up to him. He goes were he's invited. He will bring his comfort and his meaning even to it and his love and his hope, and it goes into the deepest parts of you, and suddenly if he is your personal savior. He becomes a more personal savior have served them for all these decades, but never has he been this personal business personal but is personal personal now and those words I will not waste this grief and then I prayed a prayer after the mission. Dear Jesus, if this is going to hurt this bad.
Would you please somehow use it to make me more useful to you in a more help to other people.
All I can tell you is in the five years since then he has been answering their prayer in ways I never, never could have dreamed does it take the grief away. No, the hope doesn't cancel the grief. It's just stronger than the grief you still haven't and there is still this whole left by this person, friend of mine who would lost his wife five years before the cancer called me right away. We had been to her funeral.
Karen and I had been and he gave me a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer you want to sprout sound intelligent, found that "you know, and it says something like this that don't ask God to take the whole away left by the person he won't because that is your connection to that person.
You don't want that to go away. What I found in Jesus, is the strength and the leaving the guiding explicit guidance from him constant like never before. That helps you know to find the meaning and the purpose in it. I remember being told months later at the National religious broadcasters convention, you know, by a good friend Christian leader. I went up to say hi to them before I can even say hi. He said all right. I was hoping I would see you this would've been probably about 89 months after Karen's home-going and he said I just wanted to have been reading what you're writing any said been listening to what you're saying and you are ministering out of a deeper well than you ever have before and I said I cannot tell you what it means to me for you to say that because you're holding up a mirror and telling me that my prayer will not waste this grief. Lord help me somehow be more useful to you. He is answering it and I at you. You can see it but then I said, it's a very expensive welding you've already commented on this and this is what I don't think we understand about grief and hope and grief and I just throw it out to you and I want to hear your well of experience explain this but losing means grieving grieving means choices. Yuri said that choices mean hurt or healing. Yeah so the reason your friend can say your ministry now this well as you make a choice that's allowing that to happen, but often we make the other choice you know where we just we go deeper into the hurt and we lose hope and we sorta get stuck is not only make this choice last one either quotes was in crisis.
We make choices that will either bring hurt or hope so you've chosen. Hope what's it look like when we go toward hurt.
I didn't know I was doing that, I think I looked back and went what happened you know and I'm glad I started a journal that was really virtual is getting the grief out of me instead of stuffing it in me which is choice number one done within the minute but that I will not waste this grief.
What I was doing now looking back I can see was I was acknowledging that there could be purpose in this. That gain could come from this undescribable way painful loss that I said I couldn't think that deeply. At that point so what is it look like and thank you for and reinforcing at him if I could say anything to someone's gone through a major life loss. You will be the same. The only question is what kind of different. Will you be you will be different. Because of this, but it's not up to the loss.
It's up to the choices you make. I like in the in the book to a hammer. You know if you got a hammer. If I am a hammer my hand, will it build or destroy my hand above is the answer is yes, it could do either one. It could turn out along the billable is the hammer that decides it's what you do with the hammer. The decides what it does in that we don't get a choice about like hammers. I got it with a sledgehammer that May 16, but we do get to decide what we do with it and Dave my experience I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, with a lot of people over the years. Yeah, the easiest way to go is to go the route of more hurt and actually is a little harder to shoot. Make the other choices so probably more people ended up with compounded grief compounded pain compounded hurt because for one you say the road to hurt starts with stuffing your grief pushing it in instead of letting it out and that seems like a lot of people choose that because either they been raised to be strong or I cut you like, or it hurts too bad to face into this and let myself feel how I'm feeling so we internalize a but grief is like a beach ball that you push under the water. You can only push it down so far before goes up in the further down you push it the hire it's going to go when it goes.
Grief doesn't go away because you deny it. It just morphs onto ugly stuff, it becomes anger becomes bitterness becomes a hard heart.
It becomes escape choices to run from the grief and I I run into a bottle or or or drug or relationship or busyness, but something it will only give me more problems. Now I've got the grief. Plus, not the grief, minus Shakespeare said, and I'm old but I get the first day of, but he said he said give sorrow words that's so important.
I started by writing that in a journal and then you know talking to family members talking to Jesus about it when you don't grief you grief your grief will own you will own you emotionally, and for years and years and years.
One of them to deal with in the book is the grief of your broken past the abuse. The neglect, the abandonment, the mistreatment you had years ago, maybe as a kid never dealt with never grieved so it's pursuing you and you're making choices now that affect your other relationships and everything so you know if you can find other people to do the journey with my daughter spin so help by one of these grief share instead of been in no and there's probably one in your area wherever you are and then I learned there's there's a wrong question right question to ask the wrong question because it it's not morally wrong.
It's at your public and get an answer is the one we always ask why my why it's probably going to take being an eternity to see it from that viewpoint to really get that. The question you can get an answer to is I think I was asking you lady the day I wrote that I will not waste this grief.
How can God use this. What can you do with this.
There's this thing like I came to put two words together that seem odd to get defiant hope the talk, but in the book client hope now you know I never heard those words together they like lots of weird but defiant hope, says this I will not deny my grief abundant face. It want to feel it on the talk about it. I will not deny it with the second part of defiant hope is I will not be defined by it that the rest of my life that I don't have to be the guy who lost his wife. That's who I am from the law, it becomes your identity.
It's your identity you involve your life around it and that hold the we talked about. Bonhoeffer talked about that what I realizes the whole will not go away. It should not go away. Karen lives in that all of my heart and I want her to, but you can rebuild your life around the whole room. It doesn't have to be the hold is your life yeah seeking the meaning the purpose and the there other things to that lead to more hurt and there are things that lead to hope it was a preacher for 30 years at our church.
If there was a message that if you went up some and said what is one of Dave's messages that comes around, you know that I preached once or twice a year for 30 years. It's this message and my phrase is not as good as yours mine was trials or pain or hurt or adversity.
Whatever it want to call trials make you better or better yet that I always edit the choice is yours.
And that's what you're getting at. And whenever preset weathers at my church on the road, irreverent when I look out at the congregation and say how many of you know bitter people. How many of you know better people show hand, it's always 821 10. The one bitter most of the snow somebody went through something and are better defined by yeah it's just it's they made the wrong choice and they are mad and bitter and hurt and they are defined by it, and he say how many of you know, people went to the exact same trial. They lost a spouse or they lost a job, are they better and there's a few hands but it's never as high as bitter and that's what you're all about. It's like men defiant hope is a choice you have to make and I get it's a hard choice. It's easier to be better as a default get a hold a crowd around you go yeah be better to do but meant to make the choice and to speak out like you said the somebody to get help to become better to become defiant in your hope for.
It's like a visceral hope that a minute I hang onto you is the choice you're making something and there's a listener right now that stuck and Ron is saying, and worse than you have a choice right here right right now I'm in together this whole I can do it but I can't do it alone.
I need God's help and I need people to get mad at homeland here is what I would say get your book FLS care that broken heart that is now wide open because it's broken again if you will say Jesus. Whatever you do do that in this broken heart of mine again.
The Bible says he was a man of sorrows. She's acquainted with grief. He suffered pain, loss, grief at a level none of us will ever understand. But he understands us. At that point you receiving super natural strength. Somebody goes I can't get up right. I can't thank you sounds good. I can't write.
You can't good. That's the starting point to say I'm all yours. Jesus, whatever you do, you, the living hope through the death conqueror you the resurrected you the Easter Jesus, I need some Easter in me. I need to be resurrected. I'm dying inside, and it could be from a lost loved one allied a marriage it's in trouble could be a dream that has died could be bad news from the doctor whatever. This is a moment of danger in this moment of opportunity in which one wins. Don't say well you know I'm never been the same since. Well that's probably true, but what kind of different. Are you and it's not because what you lost is because of what you chose.
Did I just heard you say in a message to the listener. If you want to get up, get down down on your knees yeah and surrender. As I got.
I can get up. I just can't have tried, you know, I've tried I need you to lift me up in the me tell you he will. When I was a little boy I learned of course you know to Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so good so far. The ones to him belong. They are weak, but he he is a yes Jesus loves me, and it took me a lot more years to learn that part and what that meant and losing my anchor love in my life, but realizing I had one love. I would never loosen in one unusable hope name anything you put your hope in my front other than Jesus, and you could lose it any day. Boy if if the pandemic and all of that and all that came out of that. If that hasn't demonstrated that we can lose anything any time unexpectedly, but you've gotten Jesus a living hope who is unlistenable.
The Bible says nothing. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So I can say if I gave a three word testimony. It would be the anchor holes and that anchors identified in Hebrews 619 it says about Jesus. We have this hope is an anchor for the soul firm and secure. That's good thank you and so okay I have to think that some of you have been profoundly touched by what Ron Hutch crafter shared with David and Wilson today talking about loss and grief and about hope our need for help. In fact, Ron has written a book called hope when your heart is breaking finding God's presence in your pain comes out of his personal story that he shared with us, but also his faithful walk with Christ for decades, and many of you can quickly identify someone you know who has been through a profound season of grief. Maybe you'd like to give them a copy of this book as a gift were making rounds book available this week to family life today listers who can support this ministry with a donation of any amount your financial support helps us advance the work of family life to reach more people more often with practical biblical help and hope for their marriages and for their families. When you make a donation to support that ongoing work today.
You can request a copy of Ron Hutch craft spoke hope when your heart is breaking go to family life.com to make a donation or you can call to donate at one 800 FL today in the website is family life to a.com or call 1-800-358-6329 21 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today that tomorrow were going to talk about how you cling to Christ when the cause of your heartache is something in your marriage when you've lost hope for your marriage.
How do you hang on to Jesus in the midst of that David and Wilson will have that conversation with Ron Hutch craft tomorrow.
Hope you can be with us for that on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson and Bob Lapine join us back tomorrow for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most