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Erik Reed: Where is God When it Hurts?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2022 10:02 pm

Erik Reed: Where is God When it Hurts?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 26, 2022 10:02 pm

Where is God when it hurts? Author Erik Reed reflects on his intimate experience of God amidst his son's suffering -- and learning to trust God in the hard.

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To trust the Lord to trust anything is to put full confidence and dependence on that thing right. The Hebrew verb there to trust is actually imaged about somebody laying face down on the grandmother back exposed right your inner most vulnerable position. Your trusting whoever's in the presence of you to not harm you to not take advantage of you. Write your fully exposed in the study of trust in God with all your every fiber of your being nothing held back and not lean on your own understanding that the contracts and so the way that we learn to trust God's behalf to know him and we come to known to his word.

We come is not our opinions of God that matter. It's one who is God has he revealed himself welcome to family life to do a where we want to help you pursue relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us in family life or on our family life is family life today will often preached.

If you preached a lot of this one of you can finish this sermon sitting there in the first listen I just don't know.

I know I know you're going to finish this. I've often said that is not size your faith that matters, it's the size of your gown. That's a five. I did know if you listen but you heard it multiple primary hundreds of times in 30 years, but often we think any greater faith in Jesus is the what is said no you just did mustard seed size for a small faith. But if that faith is in a God you don't know or you can trust it doesn't matter what size you faith really size your God, or the understanding of who is and I think that's really important because when we go through hard work, tragic times or even times. We just can't make sense of it and we can understand how God would allow this to happen or allow us to walk this path. That's when we go back to that and think find out what we believe yeah it really is. And so we have Eric read back with us a pastor, a dad, a husband, man. We've had a couple days with you. Talk about your book, uncommon trust, learning to trust God when life doesn't make sense for small welcome back for about today. Thank you. Thank you. Have enjoyed being with you guys that I don't know if we can get our listeners up for the last two broadcasts plant this tent style height told Eric I don't think I've cried too many higher two days of interviewing as I have lately, but this story is so compelling hard and yet it really does make us put our eyes back on Jesus and so I'll try to give a quick synopsis and Eric you can really jump in. It's really a story of a dad and a mom who have their firstborn son and have a totally unexpected outcome.

These going to need medical help. His whole life ends up needing a kidney transplant at almost 2 years of age DOS in one minute or less.

Yeah recap you are you are on track.

Good getting a bad kidney needed to remove the bad kidney live a normal life after that and they took both on accident which propelled us into an very abnormal life and we needed to get a kidney transplant. It took two years to get that lots of surgeries lots of ups and downs even on the way toward that and so there's a physical journey were going through to get him to a transplant and at the same time were going to a pretty profound spiritual journey of trying to figure out where is God in the middle of this and how to make sense of this and what's happened and how do we navigate these things and so you outlined some of the things I started to wrestle with even to diss Daniel three you know God is able to save us he may not save us, but he's in the fire. He's gonna use your fire for others.

Any showed us that were gonna need others in the fire just like Shadrach me shack and Abednego had each other. We were going. The community we are going to be would help us to stand firm and stay strong and honest.

That took those things back to my wife, who had a real hard time even being in the room with him and us that this is this is what I think the Lord is saying is I were going to get Bob and those become the guiding principles for us over the next several years of trying to live our lives to you. Don't not know what our future held.

But trust in the one that held the future and I love what you said is not about the size of our faith.

It's the object of our faith. It's Christ, it's the living God. It's not our faith. It's the object of our faith. And so that's really easy for me to say it's quite a journey to get to a place where I trust the object of my faith. Yeah, you ended up bearing Caleb at age 15. So you got 15 years in the ups and downs. Well, wait, let's go to that hike through the first day you recounted walking your two daughters to the hospital room saying goodbye to their brother yeah and so you through some hard hard things he passes.

Go back to those 15 years with him or those good years. But with that like yeah they were gifts from God every day. In fact, that's one of the lessons my wife and from this were forced to adopt but thankful to adopters. Every day we had with him every day we've had with our girls is a gift is not a right. It's a gift. And so it's a deposit not a withdrawal that helps us to recognize like be thankful for the gift of this day. You know, and so 15 years at my son got his transplant to know he had a have some medicines and some medical procedures and he and I we went to the hospital for infections and all kinds of things over the course of the following years, but my son went to school. He loved sports. He was a Tennessee ball fan who suffered, like me, you know he love hockey. We had the natural predators were our team and so we went to hockey games all the time together got the coaches T-ball team a lot of things that I wanted to do and be as a dad to a little boy. I got a chance to do all those things that we dressed up as Ghostbusters ran well Walmart like we were likelier video capturing goes that Arlo goes captures like we just know we just did a lot of fun things but one of the things, by necessity, we knew we had to do was teach him about the Lord and for him to understand that his life was on purpose and in God's hands and that guy was using historian that none of these things were there accident on the sense of the world. None of these things were outside of God's plan for him and and to embrace that then so we were heaven be a giant theological conversations with this little boy his whole life like that look like it look like just pitted a time yellow piece of the time teaching moments when he would be in surgery early BPL dealing with an issue would just be explained in the know site or why do I have to have this feeding pump at night. It would just be ongoing. It would just be all the time we be talking about where is God in the mist of these things we get our Bibles.

I would have family worship and my lessons you know would be very much about, you know, why are things like this in the world why we see broken circumstances and on how do we how do we trust God even if he doesn't change our circumstance to know and so the lesson we were learning.

We were to sharing as we were still learning them in court. Now pastoring at this point some leaving a church to understand these things, you know, in those years were wonderful years two through 13 for Caleb. He went to school gained online with his buddies. You know love that you play the junior high basketball team.

All of those things that a normal kid would do. He did and if you didn't know his story which so many people knew story but if you didn't, you would naturally know anything was wrong right you. He's a little bit smaller than some of the people his age, but there's nothing drastic that it made you think like oh mercy was going on with that little boy, but he had a lot going on. So when he was 13 years old.

He started to have some issues some unassigned issues and we went to the doctor, nothing got picked up this ravens really bad headaches and so we knew something was off.

He got to a point where zydeco's time in the hospital. We were so use the hospital going to hospitals is normal for us to be with her to the hospital.

They usually freak out like I was just like going to your neighbor's house for us because he is the author buddies of the hospital and so we go up there and they start run some test but nothing's nothing, kicking up, and then he went unconscious and he would stay unconscious for three weeks and it was during that time that they discovered that he had something of fungal meningitis, and it caused him to have a stroke.

Our bodies would just be exposed to whatever calls that it does kick out the immune system was kicked out but he's on immune suppressing drugs because a kidney transplant and so what our bodies would kick out his body doesn't have that defense system, and so we had no idea you know if he would even survive come out of the coma member during that time writing articles just to process them.

Oman, here we are back in the fire again in the heat of it and Proverbs 3, five and six and that moment became really a staple for us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths and that's a really easy verse as Christians to read and it's a very hard verse to live, you know, it's so easy to say just trust God. You answer you put it on the on the wall at the kitchen and even mean to trust the Lord with all your heart.

Yeah, that's great question to trust the Lord to trust anything is to put full confidence and dependence on that thing. The Hebrew verb there to trust is actually imaged about somebody laying face down on the ground with her back exposed right you're in a most vulnerable position.

Your trusting whoever's in the presence of you to not harm you to not take advantage of you. Write your fully exposed in the study of trust in God with all your every fiber of your being nothing held back and not lean on your own understanding that the contracts and so the way that we learn to trust God's behalf to know him and we come to known to his word. We come is not our opinions of God that matter.

It's one who is God has he revealed himself so it's getting into the word. It's is diving in with others to learn about who God is and to walk with him and fellowship and communion with him. The more we know God, the more our trust for God begins to grow. But the battle will always face is what what is the deterrent of our trust. It's it's leaning on our own understanding.

Whether you get into the theology of who God is a great help us understand who this God is, what does it mean that he sovereign yeah that's great question. I had a really powerful conversation with my daughter. My youngest Kyra six years old at the time and we were riding down the road together. She was crying she was thinking about her brother. She said I miss Caleb and and she said that while the God do it this way. I gave her the really easy good answer.

I said we are one day when Jesus returns, he's gonna make all things new and your brothers can be restored and send will be no more death will be no more enough they can like she's going to okay I get that dad and she goes no but if God's gonna do it that way.

One day, why didn't he just started that way. Yes, it did start again. I'm still trying give like some basic Mike yeah did start that way. But then we send rebel this is none of that. I know all that, but I know one day God's gonna make it where none of these things happen again.

Why did he make it where it can happen to begin with and it was in that moment that it hit me a site.

This is a profound question is is this not a six-year-old. That's a 60-year-old crustless as well. That's right was told me her little mind trying to grapple with understanding like how do I understand God in this world where my brothers gone and got could've done something different and I said sweetheart that is the question that philosophers and theologians have root major books about but let me give you the best answer I can think of. I said, there's something about this, world where we experience love and the loss and hurts and pains and sadness and how to anticipate future days were those things are something about this, world where God fixes it at the end makes it new.

At the end that gives him more glory in us more joy and more understanding of who he is than a world that would not of had those experiences and is the only answer I noted how you had to respond to seven. I just want that data come count way out and I said yes. Maybe that's why the Bible ends with come, Lord Jesus, and we live like that it so here's what is really done as a family yet. We've gone from saying how many at the restaurant you 5 to 4 and every time we say it, it stings and yet we long for the day where that loss is not a reality anymore were all things are made new. So we long for heaven life with him there and us here makes us long for life. There I think that's one of the things that suffer in pain and loss do in this world is that God actually loosens our grip on this world. The more people we lose that we love to the next world. The more we long for that world and lessen our grip on this when I think that's right.

How does walking through a valley like you've walked through affect your marriage and how does a husband-and-wife walk-through together.

It will either make or break you.

We have watched families that have gone through trials, whether it be what we do them in the hospital or because of our circumstances, we watch marriages and we learned later that the majority of marriages that have children with special needs and different issues, usually in a divorce because it's so stressful there's no normalcy there's the routines get ripped wide open and so for us.

First off, we we've always just set our commitment is coming, you're stuck with me.

I'm stuck with you, so it's either it's even less about a way to make it work can be enjoyable over go make it work and be miserable is likely. So I think really though, that that commitment to say there's no quit for us, forces us than to say.

So how do we how we walk with each other in a way that you know when she's upset. Can I know when to lean in and when to give her space. I know you know, I know when to talk about things, and when not to talk about things, but those are hard things that there's been days where I want to talk about Caleb and I don't want to trigger her and being upset. I escape it to myself. You know and that's hard but it's also trying to learn like hey I don't unnecessarily cause grief for her like I may want to say something and I can just say it and enjoy Bill talk about it and move on. And now she's wrecked the rest the day so it's just learning is knowing each other, you know, it's knowing each other and it's being honest with each other and sensitive to each other's needs and manner talk about this site. There's nobody else on this earth who has walk through what we walk-through together we share this together in such a way that there's nobody in the world who we can say we share it with similarly and it is forced upon. That's just like we've suffered together.

You know this is one reason we do what we do or respite weekends. I have a ministry called knowing Jesus ministries and we produce resources and articles and videos and teach theology and one of the big aspects of helping people develop a theology of suffering, but we do these respite weekends where families of all children come to our home for the weekend and we just minister to one another and forming Katrina to do that together is important for us because it's good for us it we don't like him give all the answers like we were blessed by the people who show up and talk and share their own experiences and it's just been phenomenal to have that together Katrina's growth and spiritual maturity. That was it was forced was full up both of our swimming. We were both in very similar places and going through this. It forces you to figure out real quick what you think and what you believe and so she was in the same journey as I wasn't learning to forgive learning who is this God that were putting all of our chips and on, you know who Izzy I'm curious when you came home early. You are apparently at the hospital. He both where when you shared with her his story of seeing the doctor who botched the surgery and it taking a while to forgive him yeah, but when he saw him, he told them. I forgive you and just broke down what was her response when he shared that even listening to David and Wilson talk with Eric Reed on family life to a way to hear Eric's response here in just a second. First, we look to send you a copy of Eric's book, uncommon trust, learning to trust God when life doesn't accents be our gift to you. When you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of family life to you can give family life to or you can call your donation at 1-800-358-6329. Again the number is one 800 peasant family L as in life and in the word today. Right now, back to David and Wilson's conversation with Eric Green.

She broke down crying as well. The highs because we were entangled in in this together. You know she held bitterness and resentment. Just like I did my forgiving him face-to-face was like an us forgiving you, you know, and she felt very much a part of that and she was also just amazed that God orchestrated that encounter honestly just an elevator encounter Katrina a night. Caleb's funeral. One of the things that I mentioned to the people gathered was, you know, I'm the guy that's on the stage at church preaching on the God that my wife is the most quiet, unassuming, behind-the-scenes purse.

She's a hospitality queen. She loved to have people over. She loves to cook for people she's not you got the hundred ounce she's not heavier as I got Nevada and if out of told her like hey you're coming with me on this black pot mug and the she would've melted to the floor. She was whole what I said in it. Caleb's funeral was people do not realize the strength of her faith because if you're a mother who has to walk two years of all these questions and uncertainties about your son and then you hold his hand when he passes into glory.

And you can wash your face and love your girls and keep taking the next step forward in faith without wavering. You are mature believer and she may not write books and she may not stand up and never give a speech, but she has a faith worthy of imitation that had to be something to be able to be the one who gave a part of her own body.

Her kidney numbers to save her son's life and did it selflessly. She never even answered her before she's gone and have an nephrectomy done, you know, but it was ever question for her if she was scared. It was never question. Like the course of doing this is Ali due his mom's is what I'm here for, in particular the skin again. Talk to the mom or dad, husband, wife, sister got daughters who are sister Caleb and you have credibility as you walk down this valley. Some of us wouldn't that just hearing you and go and I just can't get there.

I don't I don't see myself able to get to that kind of trust. What would you say to them also. Couple things for the person who is trying to imagine being in our scenario and imagine being okay with going to our scenario is not how it works. God doesn't give you grace to imagine going to the trial he gives you grace in the trial, so don't get yourself worked up as I do I have the kind of trust that can imagine going to the most horrific thing and being okay with it before it ever happens.

No, that's not how that works. Your given grace in the hour of need. Grace is not something that stored up on the grocery shelves for you to stock up on its hand to mouth every day they saw him in the fire. That's it in the fire, and so this is no safer the person in the fire, then I would say this surrender. Surrender say Lord help me to trust you. You don't have to have all the answers, you don't have to even do it in a way that looks beautiful to the outsider looking in what you have to do is go humbly before your God and say, trust that you have my life and I'm not going to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough troubles of its own, and ask you to be my provider just like you feed the birds of the air and clothe the lilies of the field, asked for today's grace he gives it.

He's faithful to help you take the next step and I can say that is somebody who is still trusting every day for grace to take the next step, he is faithful and he is no respecter of persons. Eric Reed does not impress him so he will give it to the man and woman listen to this today to you been listening to family life to a nap you know of anyone who would benefit and needs to hear today's conversation that David and Wilson had with Eric Reed. You can share it from wherever you get your podcasts and why you're there.

It really help if you'd rate and review us now. I got with me today, the president of family life David Robbins and David. This is been a heavy few days thinking about trusting God through difficult times, but it's an important conversation right and when I think about the trials and sufferings that come as a part of a broken world. When I think about the waiting and longing that a lot of people experience the desires that have been put on their heart but yet God is not showing up in the timing or in the way that we want.

There's a lot of pain out there. There's a lot to process and the spaces I think about listening to today and and what Eric shared it just hits the nail on the head of how much we all ache and long for real restoration and healing in so many different areas in our lives and family life, that's precisely what we want to enter into.

We believe that Jesus is the healer we believe it.

He restores all things and makes all things new. In his time because of the gospel and I want take a moment to think those of you who are family life partners who give financially. Whether that's monthly in her own going way or with special gifts as you're able, you enable us to meet real needs that people have, to minister to people with the beauty and redemption found in Jesus in their time of need brings specific topics like we talked about today meeting people right where they are.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us and we are grateful for those of you who would be interested in beginning to partner with us to continue to take this help and hope to more people. Yeah, that's right.

And if you want help with that.

Again, you can support family life to a by and when you do donate as our thanks this week working to send you a copy of Eric Reed's book uncommon trust so how do you keep from becoming merely roommates with your spouse never felt that before you here tomorrow from Ron Diehl and Greg Smalley on just that topic on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see back next time for another edition of family life to me like today's production of family accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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