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Erik Reed: Learning to Trust God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2022 2:02 am

Erik Reed: Learning to Trust God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 25, 2022 2:02 am

What's it look like to trust God when bad things happen to good people? Author Erik Reed describes his search for God's goodness amidst tragedy.

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Model understanding get to that point was that you know if he does love Jesus and have enough faith there is that these forces fall in place.

You know it's like cupcakes rainbows pixie that you know everything's posters be perfect so you know, here we are. You young married young.

Our faith were serving in our church eager and zealous for the Lord and we have a son born early with big-time medical issues who has challenges welcome to family life today where we might help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will send Dave Wilson and you can find us@familylifetoa.com or on our family life Family life today could have gotten in Wilson exclusive question I want to hear your answer to actually go throw you on the spot is pretty heavy topic okay right top.

One reason you think people walk away from their faith if they have faith, and then they just like I don't think I can keep believing anymore. How could a good God allowed this pain or tragedy in my life and in the world.

Had you not you, as I think that's what I think everybody wonders that the people on the street that I'll talk to you that they have no belief or maybe they've turned away its tragedy like I just don't know how God how could a good God allow bad things happen to good people. I me. That is one of the biggest if not the biggest hurdle for not just other people, us as well.

That's a real and earn any easy answer. So we've asked a pastor to come in their greed is with us today. A family that you've never been here. So welcome to family today. Thank you Gus for having me this is exciting. Obviously as a pastor you've dealt with that issue but were going to find out today as a husband and a dad as well. You pastor church in Lebanon and Tennessee. That's right, which I don't know where it is but it's east of East of Nashville yet home of Cracker Barrel for Cracker Barrel, I will start no Verizon, you're welcome to go there a lot regularly like a home doubt that we [there so talk about this many years ago you plant this church and we turned 16 in the third week of January so you driving yet. Will try to get those love to get a license and be provided to watch out on the street, married with two kids, married with two gizmo like Katrina celebrate our 20th anniversary on June 17. Well take us back to December 1, 2019. I don't know if you want to go there but it was a pivotal moment in your life. So, to tell us that story.

It was Sunday morning and my wife and I been in the hospital with my son Caleb was 15 going on a couple weeks throughout his life. We had been in hospital weeks at a time multiple times a year and so it wasn't new thing for us. We were very comfortable with being in the hospital more comfortable than most families probably would ever be. We were at home. We packed our bags. We have routines. My wife attend the girls I would stay at the hospital with him. I had my stack of books with me. My computer know we just had routines. We knew with the Duke is redundant to me. Tom's and it was on this day that we would realize that it would be like any of the other Thompson a few days prior to December 1. Doctors had come up to us and said we need to start talking about possibilities. What happens if Caleb doesn't get better. Caleb had been dealing with respiratory issues that were a result of a lot of other things going on his life and we can talk about that and how he got to this place by his respiratory condition was in improving and that was the first time that we had to, stop and go over my mercy.

We may not go home like we have every other time I think we just grown so accustomed to would go and get a tuneup gets mad biotics would get better we go home we had done that so many times that it never crossed my mind that we may not get better and go home and when the doctors told us that we had to have some hard conversations with each other with his primary care doctors and talk about. We think that everything has been done that could be done. We also are looking at a son who had been struggling and suffering for really his whole life. But the last couple years. In particular, in a big way and so early that morning. After discussions with the doctors and just a lot of tears.

We knew that we were at the end of the road we went and talked to Caleb and asked him if he was ready to see Jesus, and with his inability to talk at that point because of the stroke and plus he had a BiPAP machine mask on his face, which is us in the blink twice if he was ready to see Jesus and he gave the biggest two blinks you could ever imagine.

And at that point. Our daughters were at church and we had family let them know that they need to bring them up there to hospital and course.

We started calling our family and letting people know what was happening and our daughter showed up to the hospital I went out to meet them and boy walking them hand-in-hand down the long hallway to their brothers room knowing I was about that. The tell them that he was going to go be with Jesus soon was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and they just cried and others hugged him and you know try to console him as much. As you can and we went into the room together and Katrina. My wife was in there with Caleb and we all five of us got to spend some time together before the rest of the family came in and he passed away.

We prayed and read Scripture over him.

We sang 10,000 reasons. His favorite song and you know that that last line you know on that day, we must strengthens failing the end draws near my Thomas come still muscle will sing your praise unending 10,000 years, and forever more. And yet we just filled the ICU with praises to God, and he passed and went into eternity and face-to-face with Christ and I prayed and gave thanks to God for a son that I got to have for 15+ years and is asked them to help us and he is answer that prayer over and over again.

Eric mean I'm sitting here crying because you flip through the fear of every single parent you and you block that, and I think what we're talking about today is how do we find out in the middle of her pain because so many people are living at experiencing that in your book is called uncommon trust which is a perfect title yet because you know you can walk us through because you had to do it. Give us a little of the back story of the you know 15 years a Caleb's life is started out in the hospital is born, you knew you had complications, and you are just starting to plan a charity that's right. I was just brand-new in ministry. We would start a church. The next year, but we are. I was brand-new in ministry. I didn't have much theology under my belt, you know, had a lot of love for Jesus and of zeal. You know the church didn't I would go to church with my grandmother when I spent the night with her on Saturdays.

As a kid and that was it for that was sort of a you have to go to church with me deal yeah but I loved like not being at my own house and spent a night with her so as I okay to go to church. We began you know it so that I minded church but it was just something that I did with grandma.

Parents didn't go to church and so it was one of those things where not a lot of grounding not a lot of depth or understanding certainly perfect candidate to start a church right just perfect pastor you yes so honestly if December 1, 2019 would've happened 15 years prior, I had no grounding at all and honestly even if you do have grounding, you still get wrought in your ear legs get wobbly so I had to jump into the deep and would know float is on. As a young man I married you know just over a year now with my first child and we learned that he had some medical issues. He was born premature. 30 weeks he had a bad kid need that cyst all over it and had a good kidney and so you know we were told hey listen all we gotta do is get this bad kidney out and what's the bad kidneys out. You can live a normal life with one kidney. You know, doctors are telling us people live with one kidney all the time during the know they only have one kidney. Really it out. You have to all or not become inexplicable yet is how I have a degree for it. I could say a lot, but you can get a kid so your 24 yeah at that time when he was born on 23 about to be 20 for a while and thrown into the deep in with a son born early with big-time medical issues and I don't have any theological grounding at all on okay yeah what we do mount model understand get to that point was that you if you just love Jesus and have enough faith there is that these forces fall in place. You know it's like cupcakes, rainbows, pixie dust know everything's posters be perfect in every store you here that's always was to be like somebody else's story is like is those people sever you so you know, here we are, you know, the young married young.

Our faith were serving in our church eager and zealous for the Lord and we have a son who has challenges and so we wanted to, you know wait for him to get bigger before they took the kidney us when he was born what they did is they put it drainage tube in that would help keep the cyst from filling up. It kept draining the cyst, which was good but the tube in a side started creating infections. He started his circles and problems, and so he battled for those first two months off and on with getting infections and it became one of the things her doctors were saying okay there's a risk reward here. The longer we wait, the bigger he gets, the better it will be for his surgery.

The longer we wait, the more opportunity there is for serious infection and he may not survive these infected. These are unique and really sick when this happened was that sets them back from getting bigger too. So finally they came to us two months after he was born and said it's best to get this kidney out and hospitalized that whole time the whole time.

So we were in the NICU with that.

He was born at 30 weeks at in the hospital and we stayed there the entire time anticipating the surgery to come.

So they've surgery comes and you know it's kind of anticipation yoke is that ideas like paperwork and have surgery and this is done nightmare is over so you are worried you are and to sit. We were excited. You know, officer, there's a little nervous because it's a surgery at your child or that you the whole thing was like working to get this kidney out right says he urinates and we see that good can is good or going home going home and so they did the surgery you know we goes to recovery in Univision recovery and then get back into a regular room and were told hey the next morning you know everything will checks out and everything is good. You you guys will go home so the next morning I get up early, anticipating the doctors won't come to lunch time or so actually went had a side job just because I will do an internship at the church and they were payment gobs and gobs of tens. I had to go to some attempt to bring a kid home I got a go of me get make some money subjects installing satellite dishes like sod jobs and so I told her is like the Katrina, as I think I can go get the satellite put up this morning coming to the hospital. Load up will go home with Caleb and so I took off to go do a job you know and she called me a couple hours later she said you've got to get appear as to what's going on. She's I don't know that the doctors are running around his blood pressure is really high's heart rate, really hot there doing ultrasounds to telling me anything just get back up your sums not right in the course easily go back and is like a 35 minute drive and it's the longest drive of my life on the site I'm praying I got a note. This means, of those going on. Please be with my son be with my wife Jo in on this. I'm still so helpless. As I got to get here any quicker. You sitting here I'm crying and praying only want to bring forks on the leading it's almost wrong, and so I just felt so helpless and crying out and I get to the hospital and that's where we eventually learned that the surgeon comes and he says I don't know any other way to say this but there's been a mistake on the surgery and instead of taking just as bad kidney out.

We have accidentally removed his good kidney, as well. So they took up both kidneys, both kidneys were taken out in the surgery and so the way that they the way that that happen was his kidneys.

He had what was called horseshoe kidneys. I didn't know it at the time he had was called horse you can switch if you're here for listeners to imagine.

Think about if I held my fist together and then add a link them together with my pinky fingers right that idea that those two kidneys represent office are connected and announced at a fist.

Think about little bitty thumbnails because this is a little bitty baby whose preemie so they were connected together and enfolded on top of each other. So when they go in to take the kidney out of his body when they when they go in for the surgery they look in. They see the bad kidney facing them. They see the cyst in egg okay there it is and they go to remove it, not realizing that with that bad. One is the good one connected to it. Could they have separated from now once it's out the body it's done. I mean if they had a known if they would've known that if they could've but nothing that had been done up to that point in terms of testing and get all those things picked up the fact that that was the case years sitting in this hospital. Sitting here in the room with him sitting beside blood pressure levels. About 200/100 blood pressures, 240/130, stunning stroke level blood pressure. They say this to you and your wife yes what he feel in the moment and the surgeon was so heartless, even when he said he said it's unfortunate the Lily is a word set out those were his exact words in any old, looking back in and there's a story even about we talk about a journey of having learned to forgive him his bedside manners were nonexistent. And I'm sure he was stunned. I'm sure he too was in a place of unbelief of what happened, but his deadpan delivery and his it's unfortunate you know felt so indifferent.

It felt so callused that when he left the room.

We just looked each other like and I was so nave at that point in my lousy site but what does that mean night can they put it back in my eyes. I was so nave at that point on, the amount having reason to know about kid's like I got him. You know that I don't I don't even know anything particular right and so I knew nothing in my life, but to me she understand the full indication she says you can't live without kidneys Eric hasn't hit me and then the next question is what a week.

What can we do that though, your mind neatly goes to solution what we do what's happening with the next step is to wind up having a meeting later with a team of doctors and hospital administrators, and it is me and my wife and at a conference table full of very important people and they're asking us and discussing with us what we want to do these 24-year-old kids never had a child don't know anything about life and they look at us and they say we got two approaches. They say we can do something we've never done with a child, the sons and this is it.

One of the top hospitals in the country or we do nothing, wow, and I asked so what is that mean and they said your son will pass and I said well if there is something that can be done. We would like to try to do that if you think that it could be effective. We would like to try and so they said okay and that meant, the next thing that need to happen was a surgery to place dialysis catheters and what we would have to do is get him big enough to get a kidney transplant and he yet have an adult kidney in it, even in the child because all the blood vessels. It would be so small at if they were from a child that they would just caught off and it would be ineffective and so they had to get you big enough as a baby has to be big enough to get an adult kidney so we knew it was gonna be a process and the only way to get to that process was dialysis and to start dialysis on the Luby baby. They never had never done that so they have a surgery we end up getting a catheter and they end up you we were there. I think another month or two just getting his body back regulated blood pressure down. Getting all the fluid off of them and then we get to go home and with a kid that needed to dialysis, you know, every night at home and I after year.

The dialysis quit working and you know because he started getting infections and had put new catheters in the catheters wouldn't work so we had to shift over to a different dialysis which they do with a run your blood to machine and so that record is going to the hospital three days a week 3 to 4 hours at a time and so for the first two years that was globs with him sit on the floor and just cry seeing the two of you in doing this. Walking through this holding onto each other praying for. Hoping your son would make it and thinking about all the dreams that you had for this little boy you're listening to Damien Wilson with Eric Reed on family life to a right here. Eric's response in just a minute, but first we love to send you a copy of Eric's book, uncommon trust, learning to trust God when Mike doesn't make sense. I think we've all been there. It's our gift to you. When you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of family life to a and become a partner. We are, as you may know, listener supported. So if you've been blessed by family like today consider paying it forward in becoming a partner with us, you can give it family life to date.com or you can call with your donation at 1-800-358-6329. Again the number is one 800 F is in family Al is in life and in the word today. Right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Eric I grew imagining having a son.

In fact, that's all. Ever imagined was having a son. I was an athlete below plants, boards, and I was thought about.

I can't wait to have a boy to play ball in the yard where the do all these things and and now all the sudden, here we are with our world turned upside down after it happened. My wife couldn't even go into the room and see him for days. She was so devastated she couldn't even look at it and so a life-changing moment for me was the day after it happened. I went into his room. There's a rocking chair and there. He's in there hooked up to all kinds of things and machines are beep and and I have my Bible at a notebook course you haven't preached any sermons at this point in life is that I'm going there for survival. I'm not looking for content Ito and I just have my Bible says God is needed.

No what to do, what to think how to survive how to help my wife and I didn't even know where to turn and I'm just I'm flipping around in on this, I don't know what I'm looking for but I don't looking so on. Flip it on flip and out. I'd read a few things and you know nothing was resonate words like oh okay. Got you got my attention here and I got to the book of Daniel and again that you had not grown up in church, and you know at that point my life it like I voraciously just tore through the Bible and had it all implanted. So you not get to Daniel Billy I know that Daniel is like all the lives and yeah the arm of the study school photographs and all those things and but I got to Daniel and Freud results for rewrite in chapter 1 and the very first thing that happens in Daniel one is God allows for Nebuchadnezzar to go in and take Jerusalem to take Israel and turns him upside down and these young men and all the best and brightest of the land get ripped's kicking and screaming other homes away from their families, dreams gone. Everything changed in a moment sent away new identities, no names, new language, knew everything, and I remember reading that I just stopped and I was like I felt like that's how I felt like our world turned upside down.

Everything is changed now and I felt I could identify with these these people. This is true story and not give her the story was even going like at this point my life I might just chapter 1 what's gonna happen to for help, but I was drawn in, especially by the idea that it says and God gave over Joachim Nebuchadnezzar in Judah and I just sat there and was like okay you what now what cat reading and you eventually get introduced to the shack. Cedric Abednego and you see the command to bow down and they won't do it and all the sudden they get some into Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadnezzar you know says this is it is you know this is your chance. Here is the fiery furnace. You can feel the heat on your face bow down and worship me and live what God will save you from my hands and their response to him.

It was like the page. It exploded into life when they said the God whom we serve is able to save us. I wrote down in my little notebook God can save us and turn over and I looked in that my son, I thought okay God, I know you can save him. I know this isn't the end of the story. I know you have his life and I just sat there kind of hopeful for second like yeah that's right you are the God who can save you know will look to think about Scriptures like you're the God rescue your people out of Egypt are the one that parts the Red Sea. You're the one that can send manna you can do all things and I was charged with hope in that moment, and then I read the rest of her's is that if he does this and that I was wrecked on that when I read, but even if he doesn't, but if not we will still not bow them serve you and guys at this point, you know, I just I just sat there a really, probably with a disabling stare off.

I had a thousand yard stare my face. If you walked in that room and I was grappling with this idea that they were committed to following him even if he didn't rescue them.

And I was wrestling with that I loved. I love the idea that our God can save us because I want to just put the. There are not stuck into steering like stop that right there is good enough for me.

You know, and I just started to really work through like there's something in the theology of Shadrach me shack Abednego that understood God could absolutely save them, but that guy was under no obligation to do it and here's the thing that did not anger them. They were resolved and surrendered to say whatever he wills and guys just be honest I just I was in there in my life. I could grass with my mind exactly what they were saying.

My heart could not comprehend why wouldn't God rescue my son but I knew what I was listening to Wells reading what I was looking at Wells think about news right and new. I don't know how to get there but I know there is where we have to be there. We don't have time to tell addresses story now so you have to stay tuned for day two because we get to go to.

How did you get to uncommon trust even listening to family life to now, what would you do if you randomly bumped into the surgeon who critically messed up your son's kidney surgery that seems like an impossible situation. But that is exactly what happened to Eric Reed he's can be talking about what he did, how he felt and how he reacted in our time tomorrow. Hope you can join us on behalf of David and Wilson.

I'm Shelby Abbott will see back next time for another edition of family life to life today is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most


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