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Comfort in Grief: What Helped, What Didn’t: Tim and Aileen Challies

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2023 5:15 am

Comfort in Grief: What Helped, What Didn’t: Tim and Aileen Challies

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 23, 2023 5:15 am

Blogger Tim Challies and his wife Aileen reflect on their passage through grief over the loss of their son, with thoughts for grievers and comforters alike.

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Visit Tim's blog at challies.com

Order Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God

You can follow Tim on facebook: @challies

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So, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, John 14, 27, you're going to recognize it. Peace I leave with you, Jesus said. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives to you do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. I mean, it's such a beautiful promise from Jesus that there's a peace that we can access that only comes through Him. I don't think there's a person on the planet that doesn't need that verse or those words because we've all experienced grief, trauma, anxiety, especially in our culture today. I feel like more than ever before, culturally speaking, across the globe, this means a lot.

Yeah, I think one of the questions is how. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Tim and Aileen Chellies are here to talk about a lot of things, but definitely peace.

Welcome back to Family Life Today. Thank you. We talked yesterday about Tim's book, Seasons of Sorrow, the Pain and Loss and the Comfort of God, talking about you walking through the death of your son, Nick.

And if you missed yesterday, go back and listen to that. And you can read all about this and your journey at Chellies.com, which is just a beautiful blog. Seriously, Tim, I hadn't read a lot of what you've written. You're such a good writer. Thank you.

Really, really good and very helpful. So, we talked, obviously, yesterday about sort of your journey, but here's where I want to ask you. The passage I just read, where Jesus talks about this peace, how did you access that? I mean, did you experience a peace in the middle of walking through the last couple years of this journey of grief? Yeah, I think we really did come to a point of peace. And I think we got there through an understanding of God's sovereignty, that this is God's world.

We sing that hymn, this is my Father's world. Well, we just chose to believe that that was true. And if this is truly God's world and God is truly king, he's truly sovereign in this world, then in some way, Nick's death was God's plan. The God who numbers our days, we might have assumed God had numbered Nick's days at 80 years or 90 years. Turns out God had numbered his days at 20 years. And we just had to believe that this was God's plan and God's will. And so, once we were submitted to God's sovereignty in the death of Nick, then we found hope, because we knew this was God behind this. And that gave us, I think, just a whole lot of peace and comfort. I mean, Aileen, I'm thinking about you as a mom with this 20-year-old boy.

It was sudden, he just collapsed and passed away instantly, it sounds like. And you're in Canada and he's in Louisville? Yeah, and your daughter was also going to school there. So, was there any point that you were questioning, God, of what are you doing?

What's happening right now? So, if you had asked me four or five years ago, I would have said, yeah, absolutely, that would have been my first in sync, would be a question. I very early on determined that God's sovereignty was this course, and I didn't like it, but I didn't deny God's right to choose that. And I think that peace was very much stemmed from that, that the understanding that it was God's right to choose this, I didn't like it. I didn't like it, but it was His right to do so.

The question would be, how much did you struggle with that? Because, I mean, Nick was going to get married. He's engaged. And just months before, he's gone. As a pastor and as a theologian and a writer, yeah, we understand God's in control.

He's sovereign. It's His will. But did you push back? I mean, did it feel at days where it was just dark, like, man, I understand this, but man, it's hard to experience it right now. I think you have to separate out the two.

That's good. Because there was days that it was dark, and it was days that it was incredibly hard, but it wasn't because we didn't trust God and His sovereignty in it. It was because of what had happened.

And so, they're two different things. If we didn't trust the Lord, then that would be much harder. Yeah, I think we very quickly came to terms with God's right to do this, and we were okay with it. So, we had to realize things like, well, we might have had an 80-year plan for Nick's life, or we might have imagined Nick having children and grandchildren. That was only ever fantasy.

That was never reality. The reality was Nick would live 20 years and go to be with Jesus. And that's God's plan. God does no harm. God can only do what's good and what's best.

So, that's the best plan for Nick. And we just had to say that's God's right to do that, and why would we contest that? There's no reason to contest that. God's good. And so, we had to readjust our understanding of just how this world works and how God's sovereignty plays out. But I don't think we ever came to a point of anger with God or a point of accusation with God to say, God, you've done something wrong. We just had to say, no, God's done something good here. He makes it clear in His Word.

God will only do what's good, ultimately for good, in the lives of His precious people. Did anybody in your family struggle with that? Or was it, I mean, did your daughters walk the same journey?

Everybody's different. And so, our daughters both had different things that they were dealing with. Abby, obviously, because she was down when it happened. She definitely needed some counseling to help her cope with that, and that's a good thing.

Christian counseling is a wonderful tool if it's needed. Michaela didn't so much. I think she took a lot of cues from us. She had a different role to play in that she was living in a house with two parents who were very broken. And she had her own struggles through that, I think. But everybody's come out on the other side of this with that's very firmly in their place. I never heard the girls speak about being angry at God.

Rin was never angry at God. There was a lot of confusion as to why the Lord has chosen this for us, but there was never anger. But I think your expression of it, even as you're talking now, I think that's super healthy. Whether it be through writing, through praying, through whatever means that is for you to communicate. I struggled when my sister passed away, and she left four kids that were from 9 to 20. And I watched her struggle with the disease, with cancer, and I watched her waste away. So, I think I was feeling like not one prayer has gone the way we prayed, Lord. And I can remember being so frustrated. I don't see, and I remember saying to God, I see no sense in this.

Like, I can't see a good thing in it. I just don't understand how this, and she's such a faithful follower of Jesus. And later, I saw some amazing, beautiful things that God had brought out of it. But at the time, I can remember, it was like a wrestling match, like with Jacob, you know, of saying, it just makes no sense. And I can remember finally saying, I was in my bathroom on the floor crying and telling God everything I was feeling. And I finally said, but I will submit and give all of this to you because one, I know you love me, I know you love her, I know she's with you, and I know that God, and I don't feel any good thing at this point, but I will walk with you and I will trust you.

I remember sharing that with a young woman at the time. She goes, oh, you lost your faith. I said, no, I didn't lose my faith. I'm just communicating of like the feelings and the anguish and the grief and the lament. Is that important? Is that lament part?

Did you experience that? Is that important for us to go through that? Yeah, I think what you're describing is certainly not a loss of faith. Our faith at times has to become more complicated than we thought it was, where we realize, look, we sing these nice hymns to all to Jesus, I surrender, and then God does something in our lives and we think, okay, maybe I don't actually surrender or take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.

What a nice thing to sing. And then the Lord takes your child. Okay, well, you said you surrender him.

So what are you going to do with that? Are you now going to say, God, you did something wrong? All God has done is what we told him to do. We said, take my life, use me however you will. God, I'm your servant. You use me. Some of us have to go through hard things.

That's just God's calling on some people's lives. I often talk about, I'm sure she's your friend too. She's everybody's friends, but Joni Eareckson Tada.

We love Joni Eareckson Tada. And aren't you so thankful that she's chosen to receive all the difficulty she's gone through in life and turn them out, work them out in love and service to other people, not grow bitter, not charge God with wrong. Just say, this is God's will for me.

I'm going to serve him in it. I think that's what God calls us all to do in all of our sorrows and all of our pains to receive them, to understand as a father has compassion upon his children, so the Lord has compassion to those who fear him. Okay, God is somehow even expressing love and compassion through this situation, which feels so hard, which is so hard. I'm just choosing to receive it, to say, this is from God.

I'm going to turn it out to others in love and service to them and trust that God will bless that. I think that's the beauty of your book. It's the beauty of the Psalms too, where we see the honesty and the openness, the dialogue of David to God of what that looked like. But in the end, he's going back and saying, but I will trust you.

Yeah, yeah. And we have to go through that. And what you describe, that process of getting to the point of submission, I think that's just often the difference between what you thought it was to follow Jesus and what Jesus is actually going to call you to do to follow him. It's so easy to follow the Lord on the best of days. But then you go through these really hard things and you just have to work it out in your heart over time. If this is what it means to follow the Lord, can I do this with joy and can I love and serve him in this? And then you emerge from the far side, truly loving him more and serving him better and submitting to him.

And feeling his comfort. I am very thankful that one day we will know the purpose in our suffering as well. I know we can't know that on this earth and I can be patient waiting, but I am glad that the Lord will reveal that at some point because that hope and knowing sometimes gives me a great deal of comfort. Yeah, we wanted to distinguish very quickly between why the Lord did this and how God is going to use this. So what we didn't want to do is say, well, look, this good thing happened. You know, this person came to faith after hearing Nick's story. So that's why God did it. Why do we do that?

I know that's so simplistic. If God is truly as great and as beyond all we think, you know, as he truly is, then he must be up to a thousand things or 10,000 things. And so we can truly look for these evidences and say, look what God did. That is a wonderful thing.

But that's not necessarily why he took Nick at this young age. Let's just, we'll leave that part as part of God's mysterious providence. We'll rejoice over every way God uses it. And we'll trust that in eternity, God will show us that illustration of turning over the tapestry.

So you're seeing not just all the knots and the mess, but you're seeing the full work of art God has created. Is that a bad thing to say to a grieving person? Well, God's going to use it.

Yes. Yeah, I think it can be very hurtful because in that moment it's cheapening the death of the person to say, you know, well, God's going to use it. In that moment, they don't want God to use it. They want their child back. They want their parent back. They want their sister back.

Someday you can get there, but in the moment you just need to be with them. You just need to bring them some sweet, comforting scriptures. You need to read Psalm 23 with them and take a cue from Job's friends that they were at their best before they opened their mouths. I remember somebody saying that to me of like, oh, God's really going to use this.

It'll be amazing. I was thinking, but isn't there some other thing he could have done? You know, he's God.

Couldn't he have done another thing? Yeah. Yeah, exactly so. You know, we're talking about this piece and Paul says in Philippians, it's a piece that it's not just a piece that we experience in the world. It's beyond. I'm sitting here thinking you've experienced it. I'm not saying it doesn't, you know, fleet at times, but how do you access that? How have you?

I know sovereignty is part of it. So some of it is I got to understand truth, but is there another journey you've taken to access the peace of God? It comes back to being patient with yourself. So in the beginning, I was very much only able to process scripture in tiny little quantities.

My brain just couldn't handle any more than that. It was just tiny little bits. I was praying a tiny little bit, trusting that the general community who loved me was praying for me and knowing that that was being used as well. And I think some of that piece came from not pushing myself too hard and giving myself that it's what I needed. Not everybody needs that, but for me, that's very much what I needed was giving myself that space in order to process well. Honestly, a lot of it came down to a foundation of theology. So I had grown up as a Christian with a good, solid foundation of theology. So when I needed to, I could access those truths that I knew, and that was very much important to give me that peace as we move forward. When you said patience, I thought a lot of times it's hard for the spouse to let the other who maybe is slower or processing or different to give patience to them. Were you guys able to navigate that?

Obviously you were. Yeah, it was hard. And we were told from the outset that probably as the dad, as the man, I would be sort of back to my new normal within six to seven months. And we were told that for Aline as the woman, as the mom, it would probably be closer to two years, you know, 18, 16, 18 months to two years before she was really getting her her bearings again.

And I think that's just the way God has made men and women typically. And so it was that period between that was, I think that's where we had to be especially careful to just grant one another a lot of grace. And so I started visiting Nick's grave less frequently in that time. You still wanted to go more frequently. It would feel to me that the natural tendency for me would be, it's just, you know, it's time to start drawing that down and to go less frequently.

You would be thinking you need to keep coming and that needs to be as important to you still as it is to me. And I think we were able to navigate those things well, but part of that, just having that awareness that we were going to have those temptations and that, you know, what, God's plan is to use these things for good. Satan's plan, he sees this happening. He's going to use these things for the utter destruction of our marriage and family.

That would be his great and wonderful plan in it. And so we were aware of that and knew that we had to stay very connected and very unified through it. The other temptation and often too is when one of us was having a bad day, we didn't want to drag the other one down to the spot that we were in and so then we wouldn't talk because we didn't want to impose something that wasn't true on that person.

Like what did that look like specifically? Let's say you're having a bad day. My bad days, I tend to get into my own head too much. So I'm missing Nick. I'm grieving what should have been. I'm sad for the girls. I'm mad that I've had to walk this, this particular road.

Not that it's not God's right to give it to me, but I'm just annoyed that I have to do it. I'm often very teary and I don't want to project all of that onto Tim. If he's having a good day and getting his writing done and doing his work, we've learned that it is sort of important to communicate that I'm having a bad day rather than just that he knows something's off, but he doesn't know what's off. It's a different type of day if I'm having a grief day versus just a general bad day, which happens. And you mentioned, you both really have talked about theology, a foundation. Can you talk a little bit about a theology of suffering? Because that's foundational to walk through suffering. And if your theology is not a part that God will allow suffering in your life, you're not going to be able to get through it.

So what would you say is a theology of suffering? I think the building blocks for us, at least through this time of suffering, were God's sovereignty and God's goodness. And so the sovereignty of God, God is King over this world. He rules this world.

This is His world. There's nothing that happens within this world that isn't in some way His will permitted by Him, decreed by Him, however you want to understand that. And then the second pillar would be God's goodness. So just understanding that God's character is good. God only ever does what is good. God can do no evil, He can will no evil, He can want no evil, and so on. And so if we have those building blocks in place, then we look at something sorrowful, like the loss of a child, and we say, okay, these things are true. My son died, but I know God is powerful, so He was in some way connected to this, and God is good.

So He's not bringing about bad things through this. And so the theology of suffering built on those twin pillars is one that just calls me to bow the knee to God's sovereignty and say, this God who's so much bigger and greater than I am has decreed this, and this God who's so much better and kinder and gooder than I am has acted out of His goodness in this way. So what is my response going to be? I just have to bow the knee to God and say, I may not see how you're good in this. I may not see why you chose to express your sovereignty in this way, but I'm just a little guy who has, I mean, some days I fell over the other day putting my pants on. That's the kind of guy I am, and here's this great big God who created this universe.

Who's more likely to have this one right? And He loves you. Right, absolutely right. God's goodness is His love expressed to humanity. It's continually reminding yourselves of those two things, too. Every single note I wrote, and I ended up having to write quite a few notes, thank you notes, et cetera, I would always end it with, God is still good. And that wasn't for those people. It was a reminder to me that this was true, that sort of was imprinted on me so that in my bad moments I would remember those things.

And you guys have this theology, you have a foundation built on this rock of Jesus and the theology that He's given you. Your girls were how old at the time when Nick passed? 15 and 17 or so, or no? Abby had just turned 18.

Okay. So, for them, had that foundation been built, and what did that look like for you as parents? Because our kids can be struggling as parents.

Maybe we have this great foundation and this sound theology. How do we navigate our kids when maybe they're even younger than that, and what do you say to them? Our kids had the blessing of being raised in a church where they're well cared for. And so, of course, as a family, we're the primary disciplers of our children, and so we're reading the Bible day by day with them, building our family structure around family devotions and reading scripture and going through some catechisms together. And just want to commend catechisms, the catechisms that are available to us as such a wonderful way of leading your children into doctrine in a question and answer format. So, you guys did this on a regular basis with your kids? Yeah. And then our kids would also go to church where they would encounter truth through their age-appropriate classes, but then also generally sit through the sermon and so on.

So, they had those foundations in place at a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old level. We are so thankful. We said this so often. We're so thankful that we had gotten our theology in place before we went through this, and we didn't know at the time we were preparing ourselves to suffer in this way. But it's after you suffer a great loss. That is not the time to be asking a question like, is God really good or not? I've never really studied the scripture.

You want to have that in place before you go through it. Or is God really sovereign over this world? Or are He and Satan sort of locked in this battle and either one could come out ahead? You want to know before you go into your times of suffering who's truly sovereign in this world.

So, just preparing yourself by studying the Word, studying the doctrine of the Christian church is so, so important. I can remember where I was on I-75, driving north, listening to Tony Evans on the radio years and years ago. But, you know, he gets all fiery, and he's saying, you don't see building the houses, you don't see them pouring the foundation, you don't see them pouring the cement in the storm. They're pouring the cement on the good day so that when the storm comes, the foundation will last.

And that's so visual, I'm a visual learner, so I'm thinking, oh yeah, storms will come. I need to lay that foundation, pour that cement, the rock of Jesus, on every day, on days that are good, days that are bad, but because we live in a broken world and our lives are messy. And so, to have that foundation, I love the beauty of that and the consistency you gave to your girls. And Nick, where was his faith?

Was it sound and strong? Yeah, one of the true joys of our loss is that it is bound up with the joy of knowing that our son is in heaven. And I know there's many people listening whose child has died, and they may not have that hope and that joy. But for us, we're so very grateful that Nick is in heaven where we all want to be. And we've just found that heaven is so much closer to us. It's so much nearer in our hearts, and it feels so different knowing that one we love so much is there waiting for us.

It's completely changed our perception of heaven and our own eagerness to be there as well. Yeah, it's interesting. Tim, I found out that you actually are a songwriter. I am co-credited on one song, yes. Yeah, so City Light got in touch and asked if I'd ever want to collaborate on a song. And my response was, that sounds great, but I don't write songs, and I don't play an instrument, and I don't have a good voice, and I know nothing about music.

So let's do this. And so at that time, I was just finishing up writing Seasons of Sorrow. And so I sent them an early copy of the manuscript, and they put their heads together and wrote a lovely song. Yeah. And yeah, it was lovely. I'm getting right here.

You got it. I mean, I don't know if they'll keep this in the broadcast, but I'm not going to sing the whole song, but I thought it was so well-written, and it captures the truth of God through your Seasons of Sorrow book. And so, I mean, I sort of spun it this way. When the path that I feared is the way He has said, and I long to give in and retrieve. Still to Jesus I hold as I face every step, for the Lord, He will give me His peace. Bless the Lord, He will give me His peace. Bless the Lord, He will give me His peace. And if I should remain in the valley today, bless the Lord, He will give me His peace. I mean, that's just the first verse.

But let me read you, because you don't want to hear me sing anymore. But I mean, this is the journey that I love how they wrote this based on the journey of the peace of God in your life. Second verse is when the road that I tread fills my heart with despair, and it seems that my grief has no end. Still to Jesus I hold who will walk with me there, and the Lord, He will give me His strength. Bless the Lord, He will give me His strength.

Then the last one, here's the Gospel. On the road that you walked with the weight of the cross, all my pain and my sorrow you held, so to you I shall hold. You redeem every loss, for my Lord, you have given yourself. Bless the Lord, for He gives me Himself. Anyway, as I heard that song, and again, I wasn't even going to listen to it. I'm like, ah, and then I was like, oh my goodness. It's such a picture of the journey you've gone on, and we all want to go on, is that in the middle of our pain, our hope is He does give us Himself.

Any comment on that? Well, that's the beauty of the Gospel, as you said, that we are united to Christ through His life, death, and resurrection. We're truly in Him, and so He does give us Himself. He gave us Himself at the cross. He gives us Himself even now, filling us with His Spirit. And we know He's with us in those valleys we go through. And I love how it says, if I should remain in the valley today, bless the Lord. Even when we go through these hardest of times, God's calling on us is the same. Bless the Lord. Keep praising His name. Keep proclaiming His greatness, even in those times of great grief, great loss, great sorrow.

Yeah, it's the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I will not bow. I will serve Him, and He will deliver me. But if He doesn't, I still will praise my God.

Probably don't have time to read it, but I think it's chapter 30, angels unaware. I just found that so beautiful. Talk about that. I mean, maybe just tell the story. You're at the gravesite, and wasn't that maybe the day that we're going to be married?

Yeah. Yeah, we were doing well in our process through grief, but you do come to these dates and times that are unusually hard. And we came to the day when Nick would have been married. So they had set their date.

They had just gotten close to sending out invitations and all that. We came to that day, and it was very, very hard because I think the way I express it is that we had grieved what was, you know, what we had lost. But on that day, we were grieving what would never be. You know, that should have been the day of his wedding, should have been the day that lead to grandchildren, all these wonderful things that would never be. So we were really brokenhearted that day. So we went to a nearby forest and picked up a little boutonniere, just the kind that he would have worn at his wedding, just to take to the gravesite. And we went to the cemetery, and it was just bare, empty, nobody around.

And I had written this speech I wanted to give at his wedding, just felt like something I could do, and I wanted to read it, but I was just too sorrowful, too brokenhearted. And so we just stood at the grave and we were just so downcast that day, just weeping together. And then just in our sorrow, somebody spoke my name and we turned around and there was this couple approaching from behind us.

And they came up and introduced themselves and told us that they read my website, they know who we are, and their son was buried just a few rows over, and they just wanted to know if they could pray for us. And so, bare on that absolute hardest of days, just in the moment, yeah, God had these people show up to minister to us. And it was just so, so powerful, and just this clear, clear indication that the Lord was with us.

Neither of us really remember what they prayed, to be honest with you. I think we were both standing there, just sort of slack-jawed that the Lord had given us this in that moment. I often distinguish between the concept of knowing something and feeling something, right?

You can't trust your feelings, but you know. And this was the first time I felt that the Lord was caring for me. I knew up until that point God was caring for me, but this was the first time I had actually felt the Lord was directly caring for me. And it was such a blessing that day, because Tim had been doing really well, but that day he was really, really struggling. And then you just feed off each other, right, in those moments.

So. Yeah, so we've often just remembered that day as just one of those days, one of those moments where God came through in an unusual way and just really, really blessed us. And I'm so thankful to that couple. We've not seen them before. We've not seen them since.

Neither one of us were in the habit of going to the cemetery on Saturday morning. But I've often thought that in our grief, we sometimes long for a miracle. You know, God just do something miraculous, but God did no miracle.

He did something I think is even better. He just wove these lives together so we would be there and they would be there. That was a miracle. To me, that is a miracle. Whatever it is, I mean, God just brought these circumstances together in such a way that nobody could deny God had done this. God had arranged this in just the perfect way. And so, we might long for a voice to boom from the sky or something, but you know what? God sent His people to do His mission on His behalf.

And what a blessing that God sometimes enlists us to do that as well, that we can be the people there to comfort others in their sorrows. I mean, it comforted you in such a powerful way that you were able to then read what you wrote to Nick, right? Mm-hmm. Yeah. So you ended up reading it.

You're at a point where I can't even read this and now after that it's like, oh, I think I can. Yeah, yeah. It just really strengthened us and helped us in that moment.

And we walked away from that experience just still sad but also just overwhelmed with joy because it was just such a clear indication of God's love and God's care for us. And it was a couple that's in that, what do you call it? The sacred? Sacred circle of the sorrowing. Yeah, that's a phrase I ran across in an old, old book. So after Nick died, I went back in time in my reading. I'm a voracious reader, but I went back to the 1800s largely and found these authors then because the death of a child is pretty rare in our era, but in that era it was extremely common and so there was such good writing about it.

And I found one author just speaking of the sacred circle of the sorrowing, these people who are bound together by the shared grief, the common loss of a child. Mm-hmm. Can you read what you read that day? To Nick? Yeah. Is that too personal?

I could try. I suppose every parent can attest that it's not just a bride who dreams of her wedding day and it's not just a groom who dreams of his, but their parents as well. So this is a day Aileen and I have dreamed about, a day we've prayed toward.

This is a day of such joy, such anticipation, such celebration. Nick, when you were tiny, no more than a few days old, I began to pray for a future spouse. I began to pray that God would set aside a wonderful, godly woman just for you. That he would first call her to himself and that he would then lead her to you. I prayed that prayer when you were a tiny baby in my arms, when you were a little child toddling about the house, when you were a gawky teenager heading out the door to high school, and when you were a scared young man we were leaving behind at college.

It was not long after you arrived at Boyce that we began to hear the name Rin. And after you dealt with some early rejection and I'd say even well-deserved rejection for coming on just a little too fast and a little too strong. You caught your bearings, you regained your confidence, and you found your wife. And so this day is an answer to so many prayers. And what a delight it has been to get to know your bride. Mom and I always knew you would pursue a woman of character, a woman who loved God and the people created in his image.

And truly you outdid yourself. Rin, we often wondered what it would be like to welcome another daughter into our family, but we couldn't have imagined just how easy you would make it and what joy you would bring. We couldn't have imagined how quickly you'd become one of the girls, our girls. We're humble that you'd be willing to join our family and take on our name. We're thankful that you're willing to dedicate your life to our son even as he dedicates his life to you. You have gained yourself a husband who I can honestly say is one of the finest men I know.

He is patient and kind, he is dutiful and honourable, he is slow to sin and quick to apologise, his giftings are many and his shortcomings are few. I'm so excited that you two have chosen to build a life together. Next Solomon says, a wise son brings joy to his father. And I can truly say that among all the many joys God has granted me in this life, few have been greater than the joy of being your dad. Few pleasures have blessed me more than watching you grow in wisdom and in godliness and in favour with God and man. I'm thrilled to see the man you have become and the man you are becoming. I'm thrilled to see the ways you've grown in distinctly Christian character. I'm thrilled to see you work so hard to get a strong start in ministry and to prepare yourself for a lifetime of service to others.

I'm so very proud of you. One of my highest honours is considering you not only a son but also a friend, not only a protege but also a mentor. He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, and truly my boy, you make my heart overflow with gladness, with joy, with pride.

At this point, I think I'm supposed to offer some words of counsel, some words of wisdom born from nearly a quarter century of being married. So here goes, treat each day as its own little life. Each morning marks the creation of a new day and each evening marks its passing away.

We cannot live in the past and we cannot live in the future. We can only ever live in the day God has created for us. The key to living life well is to live each day well. So begin each day as a fresh opportunity to bring glory to God and close each day as if you will never see another. Let no sin linger from one day to the next, no bitterness put down roots in the night.

Let no promise remain unfulfilled and withhold no good from the other when it's in your power to do it. If there are duties to be done, do them today, and if there are praises to be offered, offer them today. If there are sins to be confessed, confess them today and if there are amends to be made, make them today. Today is in the past and tomorrow is never guaranteed.

There's only ever today. And speaking of today, today is a day to celebrate you and to celebrate your marriage. Instead of closing with a traditional toast, I'd like to close with a biblical blessing with the words of God himself. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus. He who calls you is faithful.

He will surely do it. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. That was beautiful. Thank you.

And you ended up reading it at the gravesite. You know, these are heavy and hard conversations, aren't they? Oh yeah.

Oh yeah. That was heavy. And sometimes you don't even want to talk about them because you're afraid, like, I don't want to live through anything like this, but I found them to be so helpful in so many ways.

What way? I think just even listening to them, knowing how to respond, knowing that there's no normal per se, but we can cling to God and I just also thought having community around you is so important. Yeah, the thing that really struck me was a foundation of theology. You don't build a foundation in a storm.

You build it before the storm so that when the storm comes, the house doesn't crash. And that doesn't mean it doesn't shake and, you know, be weathered, but their foundation and their understanding of God's goodness and God's grace, they both said it, is the reason they're able to be strong and where they are. I mean, I just thought so many people don't have a solid foundation.

And then when the storm comes, they turn against God rather than allowing God to work in and through that storm. As I hear you say that, I think one of our goals and what we hope on family life today is that as you listen, you'll hear and understand that Jesus is our foundation with family life and I hope you're listening and even sharing these different podcasts or telling people about it because Jesus is our hope. He's our calling. He's our foundation. He is the foundation. And here's the truth that's inspiring is that as you give the family life today, you're helping other families, especially even younger families, build a strong theological foundation.

I mean, that's something we talk about every single program is the foundation of Christ. And when you give, you're not only building your own foundation, you're helping others. You're helping them build a foundation because you know, and I know storms are coming and they're going to need that foundation. So thank you. Yeah. And let me say thank you as well.

I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Tim and Aileen Challies on family life today. Right now is such a unique opportunity to have your gift doubled in terms of both numbers and impact. With your support during our matching campaign this month, your gift is going to be matched dollar for dollar. So if you make a $25 donation, for example, it becomes 50. And if you make $100 donation, it becomes 200.

The math is pretty simple. So you can go online to familylifetoday.com and have your gift matched dollar for dollar all this month long. Thank you so much for being part of Pushing the Gospel Out to Every Home through Family Life and the ministry that we have here at Family Life Today. Again, you can go online to familylifetoday.com. And while you're there, you can pick up Seasons of Sorrow by Tim and Aileen Challies. The subtitle on that is The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God. Obviously, they have a very impactful story, and you can learn more about how they not only dealt with the loss of their son and the subsequent grief that came after that, but how they learned to trust God in the midst of impossible circumstances. Again, you can go online to grab a copy of that at familylifetoday.com, or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. Again, the number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And feel free to drop us something in the mail.

Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832. You know, God calls us to live in the world but not of the world. How do we participate in what's going on with our kids, specifically in the digital world, but not boycott everything? We need to learn how to have good conversations with our kids and figure out this whole screen time thing. Well, Jeremiah Johnston is going to be with us tomorrow, talking with Dave and Ann Wilson about how to do just that in the lives of our kids. That's coming up tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 07:12:05 / 2023-05-23 07:29:47 / 18

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