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When Words Fail

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
April 2, 2023 3:30 am

When Words Fail

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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April 2, 2023 3:30 am

Some heartaches we face defy words - but words are not always required. In those moments, we groan, and "...grieve with those who grieve and mourn with those who mourn."

Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright

This is Peter Rosenberger and I'm really excited to tell you about my new book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday.

I compiled a lifetime of experience to offer a lifeline to my fellow caregivers. Each chapter only takes one minute to read them. I know I timed them. You can read them in order. You can read them out of order. You can flip to any page and you're going to find something on that page that will help you at that moment.

It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday. Go to slash book. slash book. And you can sign up. We'll let you know as soon as it's available for pre-order. We'll send you a special bonus feature for it, sample chapter, all kinds of things. Go to slash book. I can't wait for you to read this book.

You're going to love it. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. It has been a tough week. I spent many years at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

We lived two miles down the road from it. And it was horrific to see what I saw displayed all over the news. And I would ask for you all to keep them continually in your prayer and the whole community there.

It's going to take a very long time to process all of these things. And so I would ask that you continue to do that. And if you can, look for ways to give to these families who have endured incalculable loss. The pastor's daughter, I'm flying to Nashville and will play at one of the funeral services of the victims. And it's just hard to wrap your minds around.

So I'd ask you to continue to pray. I'm reminded of a particularly harsh event that happened in our lives. One time when I was with Gracie around the clock in the hospital, it was following a very brutal surgery she'd had. And she was in a great deal of pain. And this was over 30 years ago.

We were still in our 20s. This is before she lost her leg. And it was an effort to try to save her right leg. And I'd been sleeping in a chair next to her for several days and trying to deal with this reality.

Our oldest son was just a toddler at the time and he was staying with grandparents. And about two in the morning, Gracie woke up and stirred and asked if she can get something to drink. And I went down to the nurse's galley. Back then I kind of had the run of the hospital.

We didn't have quite the lockdown stuff that we have now. And I went down there and got her some juice, came back into the room and I noticed immediately something was off and she was thrashing in the bed. And in the dim light I could see that her eyes were rolled back in her head and she was having a seizure.

And I had never witnessed anybody having a seizure, certainly a grand mal seizure. And I immediately called for the nurse. They came down. We all kind of had to hold her to keep her from tearing out tubes and lines and everything else. She was in a cast on her right leg where they had operated on her ankle.

And we're trying to keep everything in place, keep her from falling out of the bed. It was just a horrific event. She started throwing up and it was just awful. Those of you who have witnessed a seizure, you know. And then after, I don't know how long it lasted, but at the time it seemed like it lasted for a very long time. But eventually she passed out, which from what I understand after seizure a lot of people do.

And it's kind of the body's way of kind of rebooting itself in some respects. I watched the nurses kind of take a deep breath and started the process of cleaning her up. And they changed her gown. They wiped her down. They changed the sheets. And one of them even brushed out her hair. The nurses cleaned themselves up. We all had vomit on us.

And they tidied up everything. And somewhere, somebody had called the physician and he showed up into this thing about 30 minutes or so later. I always used to kid him years after that hair was sticking straight up. It's kind of interesting on a side note that that particular surgeon was a resident when Gracie got hurt and now I think he's retired. So we went through pretty much his entire career.

We saw his career end and begin. But he changed her meds and got her situated. Everything worked out fine. But I was stunned by how quickly everything was tidied up and the reaction of the nurses. They did not try to fix Gracie. They didn't adjust anything until they got orders from the surgeon. They threw themselves into the task of protecting her first to make sure she didn't hurt herself. They didn't care what got on them. They were dressed for the job. They weren't wearing, you know, evening gowns and tuxedos. They were dressed for the job.

And they tidied up everything. They didn't judge her. They didn't castigate her.

They didn't try to engage really anything other than just to minister to her. And I thought, you know, really that's kind of what the church is called to do. We often find ourselves in horrific circumstances with incredibly messy and scary things. We don't have to fix it. That is not our job.

That is way above our pay grade. We don't have to somehow correct people or the problem. Our primary function is to minister to them, to keep them from hurting themselves. And we don't judge them for their reaction.

They can't help it. Anguish is anguish. Sickness is sickness. And these nurses weren't worried about it getting on them.

They were covered with vomit and everything else. They didn't faze them because they were wearing the right uniform. Well, we're called to put on the righteousness of Christ. That's what we wear. We are covered in Christ. And I know the armor of God and that kind of thing. But in this moment I want to just talk about we put on Christ.

That's the whole point. Paul says in Galatians, I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God. In other words the life I live in my everyday journey as a caregiver I live by faith in the Son of God.

I am covered in Him. It's not going to get on me. It doesn't affect me if it does. It's not going to stain Christ if that makes any sense.

They gave no thought to what they were wearing because they knew they were wearing the right uniform. We can be the same way without any concern and going into the messiest of situations. Without it, you know, crossing our mind. Oh, it's going to get on me.

It doesn't matter. We're wearing the right uniform. We are in Christ. And so we can go confidently. Not boldly. I've been thinking about those two words.

Confident and boldness. You know, we can go boldly into the presence of God because of the work of Christ. And we can call Him Daddy.

We can call Him Abba Father. But I'm using a different word here intentionally because words matter. Confidence is a much different connotation when you go into suffering. I don't want to boldly go into anyone's suffering. But I want to confidently go into it.

When I'm playing the piano next week at this funeral, I'm not boldly playing the piano but I'm confidently playing because I know the message that I want to bring musically. And there is a difference. There's a big difference for us as caregivers when we go into situations that are very messy. We can go confidently knowing that we're dressed for the job because of the righteousness of Christ. Knowing that we don't have to fix the situation because we're not the surgeon. We're not the doctor. We're not the great physician.

Knowing that we can minister to others in their distress. Again, one of them even took time to comb her hair. They didn't have to do that.

But they did. Another one put their hand on my shoulder and said, are you okay? At the time I muttered out, whatever.

I don't even remember what I said but I wasn't okay and that's a story for another time. It's been a hard week. And the people in Nashville, people I know and love are grieving.

I'm grieving. But everything in scripture assures me that we can walk confidently even into great sorrow. That's the gospel. That is the good news.

That confidence doesn't come from us. It comes from Christ who has given us the victory. Oh, victory in Jesus, my savior forever. This is the message that we can share with the world and this is hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg and we'll be right back. This is Peter Rosenberg and I'm really excited to tell you about my new book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday.

I compiled a lifetime of experience to offer a lifeline to my fellow caregivers. Each chapter only takes one minute to read them. I know I timed them. You could read them in order. You could read them out of order. You could flip to any page and you're going to find something on that page that will help you at that moment.

It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday. Go to slash book, slash book and you can sign up. It will let you know as soon as it's available for pre-order. We'll send you a special bonus feature for it, sample chapter, all kinds of things. Go to slash book. I can't wait for you to read this book.

You're going to love it. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg.

That is Gracie and me performing a wonderful song called In the Midst of the Valley written by Debbie Hargis and Archie Jordan. Archie's been on this program before and Gracie and I recorded that, wow, over 30 years ago and it's an appropriate message for not only the events of this week but the life that we have as caregivers that we spend so much time in very troubling places, in dark places, in valleys, in lonely places and that song speaks to that and I think we as caregivers benefit greatly when we are assured of this and we assure others of this. You know, one of the things I've told you over the years I've been doing this program that I'm often here preaching to myself. I'm not here to lecture anyone else. I'm here to strengthen myself in this and I've found that the more I say these things, the more I can confidently walk into very difficult situations. Last week on the program I shared with you the weight of some of the circumstances that I deal with and I walk into in addition to what I carry but I can't do that on my own strength. I would never presume to do that on my own strength and why would we?

Because then we'll end up just giving platitudes to ourselves and to others and that doesn't help anybody. What we are called to do is to walk confidently into those horrific circumstances just like our Savior walked into ours. That's the model, that's the standard because He did it for us and yes it cost us to go into painful things and we will weep and it will hurt and it will be uncomfortable. What did it cost Him? And that's what we keep in mind. What did it cost Him? And it doesn't mean we go in to try to fix it and give the answers and all those kinds of things.

I think that is a foolish waste of time. I think the best illustration that I have for this is when Gracie had a wreck 40 years ago. Ten truckers stopped.

We know this, we got the account from them and it's all featured in Gracie's book. Ten truckers stopped, they saw the whole thing happen, they pulled over, they put out the fire, they called for paramedics and they just kept assuring her that help was coming, help was coming, help was coming, hang in there, hang in there little girl. That's what they said to her over and over. When the paramedics got there, same thing, hang in, we are going to get you to safety, hold on, it's going to be okay, we are here. That's how we talk to each other in trauma, that's how it's supposed to be done. Not, well God obviously has a reason or you wouldn't be here or what were you doing here?

Why were you out driving like this? Or all things work together for good. We don't bludgeon people with those kinds of platitudes and people can use scripture as a weapon. Did you know that? Satan did it with Jesus. He tried to twist it all into and he did it with Adam and Eve. Did God really say?

Doesn't it say here? And we are called to reject that and go and represent the same grace and compassion and care and love and humility that reached into our lives. And I think that the best way to do that is to remember consistently of what it cost him to come into our hopeless, desperate, car wrecks, brokenness, messes.

You know I don't often share this but maybe today is the day for this. I had my own train wreck. I had my own car accident. I had my own mess. And I chose to do terrible things to medicate my rage, my immaturity, my despair as a caregiver.

That's why I tell you guys I failed at everything you could fail at including being faithful. And when I showed up at Covenant Presbyterian Church I had held that secret for a very long time. And it was chewing at me. There's a great line in the movie Open Range where Kevin Koster plays a veteran gunslinger guy that had a lot of carnage behind him and he looked at the townspeople who were afraid of dying if they stood up to this bad guy and he said there's worse things than dying that gnaw at a man's soul. Let me tell you something.

That line is perfect. And there were things gnawing at my soul that needed to be dealt with. And this was many, many, many years ago. And I listened to these two men preach. Jim Bachman was the senior minister there. Larry Ferris was the associate minister. Larry was my Sunday school teacher.

And I don't think Larry reminds me of sharing this. And if he does he's got to drive a long ways to fuss at me. But he showed up at our house the morning that I stepped out of the shadows.

And I'll never forget this. He laid down on the rug on our den and wept over us. Later he pulled me aside and he said, okay look we're going to walk you guys through this thing. You're not under discipline you're under authority. Do you know what that means? That means everything. That means that I was not being excommunicated. I was not being judged. I had confessed. I had come to them and they were going to shepherd me through this. And I didn't have to figure this out all by myself.

Gracie didn't have to figure this out all by herself. We had people that were going to shepherd us through this. That would groan with us. That would weep with us.

That would rejoice with us. And I'm going to share things today I'm sorry that are a little bit more personal than I normally do but it's probably time. And for several years these two pastors cared for Gracie and I very quietly. We were still very much in the public eye during a lot of those things but we just walked through it very quietly and we healed. Most of the people at the church at Covenant Preston Church the pictures you've seen all over the news most of those people had no idea that I even played the piano. But Jim would hear me come to the church and play pouring out my heart as we healed not only from all the surgeries and all this and all that but my own messes. We had Wednesday night dinners and one Wednesday evening it was the last Wednesday night dinner we had before the Thanksgiving holidays and the church was going to have a communion service. And Jim asked if I would play the piano while they serve communion.

I was aghast. I've been playing the piano in church since I was five years old and for the first time in my life I was taken aback. And I looked at Jim and I said I'm not worthy to play for these people. This was at this church that you've seen all over the news this week. And I said I'm not worthy to play for these people. And Jim put his hand on my shoulder and basically told me to get up there and do my job.

Larry explained it to me later. He said in church discipline we can excommunicate people. That's what the church has a responsibility to do when people want to live a life that is contrary to scripture. He said but we also communicate the gospel. And that's what happened. And so I got up and played that night during communion for those folks. None of them only three people in the room four people in the room had any idea of the drama going on in my heart as I was obedient to my pastor my pastors who I recognized their authority and they brought the full weight of the church of the gospel into my life. And they put their hands on my shoulder and they commissioned me to play the piano.

Now that may not seem like much to you. There are a lot of people that play musical instruments. For me it was a huge moment. And it changed the way I played music from then on. I've been performing for a lifetime and I performed in front of large crowds. From that moment on I stopped performing for applause.

I didn't care if anybody clapped. I wanted the audience to know what I was playing. Do you understand what I'm playing here? Do you understand what this means? Do you understand this gospel that I'm playing this song? So if I'm going to play the old rugged cross or any other hymn that you love and you all love to hear me play at the caregiver keyboard. If I'm going to play any of those hymns you recognize now because you know me that I'm playing them with a sense of responsibility and passion and I'm going to put chords and I'm going to play it in such a way that you're going to understand that something's different here.

That's kind of the whole point. And that started with two ministers who walked confidently into our mess. That's the gospel. That's what we do. Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples. That's what Jesus said. Go to the sick, naked, hungry, thirsty, prison strangers.

Go to the highways and the byways. Go and minister with confidence knowing that we're extending the same comfort that we ourselves have received from the God of all comfort. That we are under His leadership.

We are wearing His righteousness. This is the responsibility. This is the privilege. This is the mandate. This is the commissioning if you will. And so as I reflect on all these things that have happened and there's more.

In fact I'll tell you one when I come back of an event that happened because I want you to understand the incredible ministry that I received from two men who went into our mess. This is Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. That is Gracie and Joni Eareckson-Tada singing a song that is incredibly appropriate right now. Through it all. Through it all. And you know a lot of people could say those things but when Joni and Gracie sing that you have to understand that between the two of them they have over 95 years of disability.

Harsh disability. And right now our faith is under assault. People are mocking us for praying. People are mocking something like this happening in a house of God. The gloves are off and the world is brazen now in our country. They've been brazen around the world for many years but in our country we're not used to an open defiance and mocking behavior that is directed to the things of God like we're seeing on parade now.

And the media is the echo chamber for this. Make no mistake it's going to get worse. But we don't have to quell and shake and shiver over this. We can resist this. We can stand up to this. We can endure. We can be fortified in it.

That's the whole point of the Holy Spirit. The comforter has come. There's this old hymn that we would sing but the word comfort goes back to our English word comfort.

Come forth with strength. It's like forte. The piano is called a pianoforte. I don't know if you knew that or not but it's because it can play loud and soft. The word piano and forte.

Loud is forte. Soft is piano. If you want to play something very soft it's pianissimo. If you want to play something very loud it's fortissimo with great strength. Well the only keyboard they had before the piano was the harpsichord. It only had one volume because it plucked the strings.

There wasn't a hammer that hit the strings. And so when we say comforter with strength, what's your forte? Have you ever used that phrase? Well that's the derivation of this word comfort.

We've morphed it into there there. A consoling kind of thing. And we do get consolation.

But it's really in the form of strengthening. Go back and look at one of the greatest hymns ever written. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley. And he's got a line in there that says, Let us find our rest in the Israel strength and consolation. Israel strength and consolation. I think that's the only hymn, at least that I know of, that has the word consolation in it.

But it was tied with strength. And there's this sense of spine stiffening. That's why I play all these hymns that I love so much. Spine stiffening. And this is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

To stiffen our spines, to strengthen us so that we can persevere and endure so that people like Joni and Gracie can sing through it all. I've learned to trust in Jesus. I've learned to trust in God.

That's fortification. You don't go through what those two women have gone through and do this with a milquetoast faith. You know, and I remember one time on my book Hope for the Caregiver, people said, Well, you got too much stuff about God in there. Well, you do what I've done for as long as I've done it, then you write a book and tell me how you did it and I'll buy your book.

But I haven't found anybody that's done that. So there. I'm not going to even be coy about it. I'm too tired. I got too much on my plate.

I got too much competing for bandwidth in my life to argue with foolishness. So if somebody wants to, you know, lodge a complaint that I have too much of God in my books, that's their issue. Do it yourself. You know, go write your own book.

Take care of somebody for 37 years through this kind of stuff. And then you write your own book and we'll go from there. So I don't have that. And I don't think that we as believers need to concern ourselves with that. I'm not an apologetics kind of guy.

I'm not here to argue with anybody about this. I don't know that I have the intellect to be a good apologetics guy. You know, I just focus on the people like me who are busted up, feeling bruised and battered and lonely and despairing and guilty and ashamed and all the things that you all have gotten to know with me over the years. That's, that's who I focus on. You know, and that's what I believe reflects the mandate that God has given me. There are people much better suited to argue than in this case than I am. I think that a lot of this started, I told you I'd tell you another story about this. A lot of this started for me working with Jim and Larry at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

And if you saw the video, you saw where this assailant blew out the window, the glass in the doorway and crawled in through the door. Well, if you go down the hall from where she came in and make no mistake, I'm not going to call her a he, regardless of what the New York Times says. And if that gets me to trouble and gets me letters, so be it. You know, you got to come all the way out to Montana to raise a ruckus with me.

So there. I just, I'm too tired to deal with this and I'm going to call it like I see it. This is a woman and I don't care what kind of, you know, politically correct stuff that the media is trying to do.

She was a woman who had severe mental illness, which, you know, anybody who's wanting to mutilate their body to look like something different and identify something different and to call themselves something different than what they are, they're not stable. And that's a mental illness. And it's time we started calling and let the chips fall where they may. I think I have the full backing of this network on that statement.

And again, you heard John Eldridge on my program a couple weeks ago when he talked about this. When you start trying to desecrate the image of God that we are created in, that is the ultimate expression of defiance at God. And that is the goal of the enemy is to destroy the image of God.

This is the world we live in now and we need to be aware of it. We need to prepare for it. We can't just wave our Bibles around and, you know, spout off a few scriptures and sing a hymn and it doesn't work that way. We've got to go into these things with confidence and in spiritual warfare, we can go in boldly.

In people's trauma, we go in with confidence, but with compassion and humility. And the best way to remember that is to remember how Christ did it for us. And I was sitting at the, if you go down that hallway, let me get back to the story here, you go straight down the hallway and you turn to the left, there's what is now the Fellowship Hall, but at the time it kind of functioned as both the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary. When we first started going there, the Sanctuary had not been built yet. And that's where we had worship services. And there was a raised platform at the east end of the Fellowship Hall and there was the piano up there and there was the organ, the choir loft and the pulpit. And then, you know, the chairs were put up and down every week. After services and Wednesday night dinners and so forth, we would often stack the chairs. Mike supervised a lot of that. Even after the Sanctuary was built, we would still do that in the Fellowship Hall to get ready for the classes that would come, the children that would come, you know, to the school.

And you know, Mike was ever present there. But this Sunday morning, we were there and I was, we were sitting on the front row, Gracie and I and the boys were sitting on the front row and people used to ask, why do you sit on the front row? Because nobody would sit on the front row. Who sits on the front row at church? But I sat on the front row with my family and I told the pastors, I said, I want you all to, in case you ever draw a blank while you're preaching, to look down and see what God can do with a woman with a broken body and a sinful man.

I loved being there. And one Sunday morning, we were having communion at church and you ever wonder what would happen if somebody dropped the trays with all the grape juice? They were using grape juice there.

You ever wonder what would happen if somebody ever dropped the trays? Well, it happened. And it wasn't a catastrophe as such, because it was all hardwood. Even though the cloth on the table, the communion table was white and it was stained with all that red liquid. And then it was dripping down the stairs. And something happened to me and I watched Larry, my pastor at the time, Larry's retired.

And again, this is many years ago, but it was such a vivid moment. And I'm sitting there on the front row and I'm watching Larry get down on his knees and he was trying to blot it up. I think it had him at handkerchief or something. And then somebody showed up with a roll of paper towels or something, but I left my seat. I just got up and I was going to take my suit coat off and blot it up. Something happened to me as I was watching this cascade of liquid flow down. And Larry was kind of embarrassed.

He looked over at me and he whispered, thank you. And I was sobbing. I was just sobbing. And you could hear the congregation start, just kind of, it started, people started sobbing throughout the congregation because they realized the moment of what had happened. Not with me.

I mean, just the visual of this. And I was, Larry's a little bit surprised. But I looked and I said, this is what he did for me. This is what he did for me.

He spelled it for me. It was one of the most memorable events in my entire life and will always be such. And I think for me, this is how I face everything. When I keep my mind focused on what he did for me, the cost that he paid on my behalf, it assures me that I don't have to be an expert at apologetics. I don't have to be the best orator and theologian and writer and all those kinds of things.

I do, I write books and I speak here on the radio, but I do this not because I'm the best at it, simply because I am compelled to, I must tell others what has happened in my life. Scripture says they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony and revelations, not the word of their opinion, the word of their experience, the word of their journey, the word of their transformational encounter with the risen Christ. I love the story of Thomas, who I think was unfairly pegged as doubting Thomas because we're all doubting.

We're all doubters. But when he encountered the risen Christ, he didn't say, oh, I get to go to heaven. Oh, I'm going to go be a preacher.

He simply said, my Lord and my God, they're on the floor of that building that you've seen all over the news. I blotted up grape juice next to a pastor who wept on our floor over us. And I had yet another encounter with my Lord and my God. And that is why I have hope as a caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger.

We'll be right back. That is the old hymn near to the heart of God. Do you know the story behind that?

Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. It was written by a Presbyterian minister named Cleland McAfee. Cleland McAfee and the inspiration of this hymn.

Two of his nieces died within a day of each other from diphtheria. And it rocked the entire community. And you know, of course, he's the pastor. They're looking to him. And he was struggling himself with grief. And he penned these lyrics. And I can't help but think of this pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

His name is Chad Scruggs. His daughter was killed this week. And this pastor, another Presbyterian minister, Cleland McAfee, wrote these lyrics. There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest. Near to the heart of God. The choir was so taken with Pastor McAfee's text that they gathered outside the home, sorry, of his brother, whose little girls were dead. And they sang this out on the yard to their pastor's brother and his family.

Near to the heart of God. This world is messed up. Make no mistake about it. We know this. And when we have events like we've had, we are shocked and appalled, horrified, aghast, broken. We don't have words. Scripture says the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf. Groans on our behalf.

Jesus himself groaned when he saw the afflictions. The world may mock our faith. They will mock our faith, but not me.

They will and they are. I can't change that. All I can do is go back to what Scripture says. All I can do is look at the testimony of my life and say this is what I was before. This is what I am now.

This is how I endure. This is how I am strengthened. There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot, does not, will not, forevermore cannot molest near to the heart of God. Oh Jesus bless Redeemer sent from the heart of God. I put that hymn on my CD and I enjoy playing it. And when I go back and listen to it, it strengthens me.

I play for me sometimes y'all. I want you to know that because I need to be reminded of these things. I need to hear these things. And I'm grateful that God gave me the ability to play music so that I can work through these things because there are no words. Many times, there are times and Gracie will tell you that there are times in our life where we haven't had the words.

We just go to the piano and I'll play and she'll sing. And one time for our anniversary, another one of the gentlemen there at Covenant who worked with Mike, the man that was killed this week, Mike Hill and I want you all to know a little bit about him. He would clean the sanctuary, straighten up things and just check on things while I was in there practicing.

And I would play for him. He would stand there sometimes, sometimes just sit in a pew and just listen. And I was up at the front and you can see that picture.

I put it on some social media stuff. But he would sit there in the back and listen and I would play for him. I'm going to play for his funeral. And one time on our anniversary, one of the other fellows, Mike's friend for 45 years, Anthony and his wife Winona led us into the sanctuary at night at that church where you've seen all over the news. And Gracie and I sat at the piano with her. She was in her wheelchair.

She was going through a pretty rough patch. And we played for an hour and a half. I played the piano and Gracie sang. And Winona and Anthony sat in the back and they just listened. And I just kept playing him after him and Gracie would sing. And the acoustics in that place were so magnificent.

We didn't have microphones or anything. It just reverberated and the thought that gunfire reverberated in that place is just heart rending to me. But that night Gracie sang. And she sang for an hour and a half and she got real quiet and I was just sitting at the piano and I looked over at her and she had fallen asleep in her wheelchair. She just kind of slumped her head over. And she sang through the paint.

We played through the paint. This is why I play these hymns. There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.

He is redeeming all of these things. We don't know how. We don't know why.

We don't know any of these things. And it's hard to process. In God's economy somehow this makes sense. I don't understand it.

I don't particularly like it. But I have that confidence that comes with the transformational encounter with the risen Christ that fortifies me, that strengthens me to trust Him in this, to endure. And not only endure but to come on the air and offer what I have to you. Next week I will sit at the piano and I will play. And I will think about all the times that Mike sat in that sanctuary and listened to me play.

I will think of all the hugs, the handshakes, the tears, the times. He loved Gracie. Oh he loved Gracie. He put up with me.

He would amen that one. He loved Gracie. He loved that church. He loved those people.

He loved. I knew that Mike had been killed before they announced it on the news. And I also knew that he was the first one that was killed and I knew that he would put himself between evil and those whom he loved. I knew it. And the ensuing stories have proven. He bought precious seconds. A friend of ours granddaughter was at the school and she was able to get to safety.

A friend of mine's wife works for a man whose grandchild was not. It's hard to know what to say and I don't know that we have to say anything. Maybe we just take our cue from what the scriptures say about the Holy Spirit. Then we just groaned. When my pastor Larry, my dear friend, came to our house all those years ago in our distress and he laid on the carpet and just groaned for us. When I wiped up spilled communion trays in front of a congregation I just groaned because I saw another glimpse of what salvation means and what the redemptive work of God in this messed up bloody broken world.

Just a picture I saw of what that cost him. When I watched the news this week I groaned. I've watched Gracie in so much pain that she doesn't have the words, she just groans. And there have been times when I've groaned and what Watchman Nee calls the dark night of the soul.

There's been many times I've just groaned at the piano. I don't think we have to have words. Our savior weeps over this broken world and part of I think sharing in the sufferings of Christ is recognizing what he experienced which was great sorrow. Isaiah said he was a man of great sorrow, acquainted with grief. To follow Christ is to be acquainted with grief. To experience sorrow it will cost you.

It will hurt, you will groan. But he is redeeming all of these things. This is our hope. This is our confidence. And this is what I will remember when I sit at the piano next week at this funeral.

I think I need to stop now. And I will just tell you thank you all for the privilege of sharing my heart a little bit with you all today. And I look forward to more times with you. This is hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger.

We'll see you next week. You've heard me talk about standing with hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs. And this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called CoreCivic.

We met them over 11 years ago. And they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks, all these things we can reuse.

And inmates help us do it. Before CoreCivic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville. And I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere, and feet, boxes of them, so forth. And I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me.

And it got to be too much for me. And so I was very grateful that CoreCivic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction. And we'd love to be a part of this.

And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb.

And that's where the focus of Standing With Hope is. That's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prosthesis. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years.

So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials, and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking. And it goes to this prison in Arizona, where it's such an extraordinary ministry. Think with inmates volunteering for this. They want to do it.

And they've had amazing times with it. And I've had very moving conversation with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see, again, all of that at slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be. And we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 04:17:16 / 2023-04-02 04:34:55 / 18

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