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March 16, 2021 10:00 am
Now many of you guys have heard of Jill all you know that she is my daughter that she is disabled severely and you know you've heard of Jill's house which is kinda named after her, but that's about it. Most of you were not around your juice 21 years old now. You weren't around in the early years when Jill was at her absolute worst, and so I thought I'd go all the way back to the beginning and just let you walk a little bit with me through Joel's life. All you know when we dedicate children to the Lord. We make them say six valves six promises the number five is will you do your best to release your child to the will of God, whatever that might be without bitterness or resistance, and we dedicated our three older boys. We said yes we will to this and it was never a problem because they were normally developing children and it was great.
Then when Jill was born in 1992 as a baby we brought her up here and we had the same valves and we said yes will release her to the will of God, whatever that might be having no clue what we had just said. Jill started having seizures when she was three months old little focal seizures in her hand and then those seizures quickly morphed into grandma seizures and then they kept going.
She would just have one week she have wanted Dave into a day than five a day than eight a day talking every day and so I kept thinking, well, you know there's all this great medicine out there. There's all these great drugs them in sooner or later will will find a drug little control.
This and so we try, but you know seizure drugs are different than a lot of other drugs in that if you've got a strep throat. You know the doctors know you give X 250 mg of amoxicillin for so many days and it doesn't what is not how seizure drugs work, seizure drugs, nobody sure what's going to work so they start you on a drug they take it up and up and up and up and up hoping at some point it'll control the seizures and eventually if it doesn't, you reach toxicity, which doesn't mean you die, but it means that the patient becomes like a zombie. They just completely rezone down and out of touch with reality and so then what you have to do is taper them back down you go to a second drug you go all the way back up the toxicity. That doesn't work, you need you and this is what we did with Jill and it was so painful to watch this happening to your daughter and see the effects of these drugs that they were controlling the seizures but you never knew if the next drug was going to work. She had to try. Well, nothing worked and Jill got to the place where she was having seizures so often that we were starting to have to call the rescue squad because we couldn't get the seizures to stop and the rescue squad would show up at our house and they would transport Jill to the intensive care unit and then we spent 23 days in the hospital whether Brenda or I sleep in the chair and one of us would go home and take shower we come back and remember we had three boys John, my youngest son was seven, my middle son Justin was 11, James was 14, and we had a perfect little family up until Jill was born. You know Brendan I went to the games.
We went to their school plays. We went to all of their you know things the church. I mean we were totally involved in their life. And then Joe came along and all of that stock to me.
We were so consumed with just keeping Jill alive from day-to-day that it's like the boys lost their parents wouldn't want that to happen but you only got so much energy and time and at the at best one of us would be able to attend one of their events, but never both of us and sometimes not even one of us if we were in the hospital with Jill and so they just lost us our member Thanksgiving day just before Jill turned to.
She had 19 grandmas before the turkey came out of the oven. 19 and we had to call the rescue squad and Brenda and I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital the whole weekend and the boys. We had the farm out to friends of ours and they spent all of Thanksgiving over another person's house is what happened to our life and Jill would have seizures day and night she didn't sleep through the night for the first eight years of her life because she was having seizures every night, which means the Brendan I didn't sleep through the night for eight years didn't get REM sleep at all or not much to speak up for eight years. We all know we have a baby and the baby for the first six or eight weeks to sleep through the night and you just like after while walking around like your you know in a fog, but you you got hello you know that one morning you wake up and end the baby has slept through the night that you know that didn't happen for us. We were absolutely spent and exhausted and I do want to say a big word of thanks to you guys as a church family and to our elders. I mean, in those days had you all not been incredibly flexible with us and I could never have gone on is the pastor of McLean Bible church. I mean, you're not. In addition, a all this.
I'm telling you that I still had the you know preach every week and be here at church and so y'all were so understanding and flexible with us and I really appreciate that in the year 2000, when Jill was a everything just fell apart. She lost the ability to walk, which she had had up to that point she lost the ability to even stand up. She lost the ability to sit in a chair without rolling out of the chair.
We staff the strap ring with a belt under her armpits and tighten the belt behind her, so we could theater it was bad. It was so bad and we went to see her neurologist here locally was a good friend of ours and he said Brenda and I were in there with Jill and after examining her. He said well on Brenda.
He said I just I don't know what to say except I think the seizures have finally caught up with Jill and I think were going to lose course.
Brenda started to cry and I say bring lunch take Jill and, going out the hallway.
You know the doctor's office and she didn't and so I as we were sitting there talking.
We were getting up to leave and he turned to me and he said you know lawn. This is the doctor. He said I hope you don't misunderstand what I'm about to say. He said, but whatever final arrangements you need to make for Jill.
He said I if I were you I would.
He said I would me I would start make so you know I kind of knew it was bad when we went in there but to actually have a doctor say something like that to you then. I mean it just it was. I don't know. It was overwhelming, so I didn't tell Brenda he'd said that because I knew it would just be would upset her too much. But I came home one up in my study fell down on my knees and I just said God you gotta do something please. I'm just begging you for a miracle. I mean I love my daughter with all of her disabilities and all of the extra work in all of the scrambling up of our family that's happened. I mean I love my little girl. I don't want to lose Jill. I don't even know how I could possibly plug that hole and Lord. This is so bad I don't even have a suggestion. The folks I want you know I always have a suggestion as to what I think the Lord ought to do, I might have several some time.
I didn't have a suggestion.
I just got you got to do a miracle. What two weeks later January 2001. We had gone up to Johns Hopkins were Jill was also being treated and the head of pediatric neurology up there. Dr. Vining looked at her how bad she was held terrible and she said you know she said this is something else wrong here. This girl does not have epilepsy she can't and so she said I made an appointment for you guys to go over to Kennedy Krieger Institute, which is right there at Hopkins and see Dr. Kelly Dr. Richard Kelly, and because maybe there's something genetically wrong. So we walked over to see him and that he wasn't taking any new patients. But he agreed to see us because Dr. Vining asking to and what I did not know the guy has a MD in pediatrics and a PhD in genetics and what I did not know is that he's like a world expert on genetic problems in children.
I know this time walk in his office. He looks at Jill for just a few minutes is because the smartest guy ever met me. I think I'm fairly smart and I'm yummy the wrong but I can't understand a word this guy saying I mean he sincerely talks to me like I'm understanding and I'm shaking my head and I'll have a clue what he's saying he's talking about genomes and hop this in the hope that I am like you know and and it's English.
I know it's English because I can understand the words but I can't understand a word this man stand. But the encouraging thing is he understands what he said euros. I am so anyway he looks at Joe for about 15 minutes and he goes I know what's wrong with her and I said you do. He said yeah I said you know what I scanning like looked in her throat or anything you know is I get the matter. I know is wrong with you gotta understand. We would ask other people like Dr. Vining what's wrong with Jill and she would say to us. Jill has a nasty seizure problem. While I know the exact thing I would need to pay you to tell me that. But what's wrong with her.
Nobody knew. He said she's got mitochondrial disease. I got about 10 or 12 people here in Washington that habit. I did know at the time he was the world expert and still is today a mitochondrial disease in children and he said I bet my reputation my career that's were she's got seven okay I simple can we can we fix it is a nonstarter. We can fix it. He said we can treated and is that I've been treating it and I developed this cocktail of amino acids coenzyme Q 10 also so that we give these children and he said were to put Jill on it. He said, and I promise you in one month.
She is going to be completely different human being friends. I gotta tell you in one month, Jill was back up on her feet walking Jill was pulling herself back from the ground up to a standing position. Jill was sitting in a chair all by yourself without needing a strap.
I mean, you talk about a miracle in an answer from God.
Praise the Lord high praise the Lord and and I told him on the telephone yet when I talked to what we just talked to him this past week and I said I just want to remind you, Dr. Kelly, you are God's miracle to my daughter in our family, and he left he never left anything but I think according so off guard. He did know what else to do. I said you are you are miracle on the believes in God is to bear. He should so then Jill started getting better and to make a long story short, the seizures began dropping off me now shall have one seizure a month or two a month, not day-to-day.
And because of that she's been able to gain a lot of skills that I never believed you would ever gain.
She has a picture board and tech talk that she uses to communicate what she wants to do. She collects the mail from the front door because it comes in through the front door has a wicker basket in the foyer carries it over to where it's supposed to go empties the basket takes it back in puts it in the foyer and then kicks it back onto the table where she learned that I never thought or do that as she separates silverware in the comes out of the dishwasher gets all the knives all the forks and all the spoons big wounds separate from little spoons in the drawer never gets it wrong as she feeds herself. Now we make the food she sits there with the fork and feeds itself I mean I never would've believed it will but Jill is still severely disabled.
She still 24 seven care person. I mean she can't dress herself. She can't make her food. Jill would freeze to death. She don't know to put a coat on.
When she goes outside if her she kicks the covers off at night. She doesn't know to pull them back up over her.
She will we find her in the morning and a little ball shivering in bed because you know to pull blankets back up. She wears a diaper all day. If you take her to the party every two hours shall stay clean and dry, but you gotta take her to the party.
She doesn't know to go by herself and you just gotta keep your eye on her. I had a neighbor couple years ago they came to the front door was January snow on the grounds rang the front doorbell. I went to the door and the lady said I think Jill is out swinging jewels out so I was driving around the cul-de-sac and I'm pretty sure I saw Jill. She said she had no code on this January.
The snow no coat, no socks, no shoes, and I saw she was walking down the street with a big smile on her face as it so I would run around the house looking for Jill. She went anywhere to be seen through my shoes all went running down the street. She saw me coming and speeded up going down the street started laughing at me. Unlike Jill back here.
Where are you going where was this girl going I mean folks Jill would've fallen in the ditch or fall within us a creek and frozen the debt you know what you so anyway you say, why didn't you ever pray and ask God to heal Jill were friends. I didn't thousands of times.
I would say Lord was the deal here. I'm at work were serving you where I'm pastoring a church and trying to do it in a in a Christlike way were trying to raise our family in a Christlike way. You know will try to have a godly marriage. I'm trying to be a godly man on the Lord why you doing this to us. I don't get this, and I'm asking you to heal my daughter and take all of this away I prayed that hundreds of times, thousands of times and God kept saying no not doing you know there reminds me of another guy in the Bible that prayed really hard for God to take some away and got told he know you know I'm thinking about the apostle Paul. That's right.
Listen to what he said. He said second Corinthians 12 I know a man in Christ, talk about himself, who 14 years ago, whether in the body I do not know her out of the body I do not know God knows such a man was caught up into the third heaven is a long what the world is that no one in there. And I know how such a man, whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know God knows was caught up in the paradise and heard inexpressible words which a man is not permitted to speak. We understand what Paul saying you're right. The stuff he saw was so magnificent. God said you're not allowed to go back and talk about because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations that I saw for this reason, Paul says to keep me from exalting myself. There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from exalting myself. What was this thorn in the flesh.
We don't know for sure a lot of people based on the book of Galatians, thinking it might be bad eyesight.
We don't know but whatever it was it tormented Paul it was not a fun thing, and why did God do this to him to keep him from exalting himself.
What is the Bible say God is supposed to to the proud. So since the apostle Paul was to go on and write 48% of the New Testament. How in the world could God use them to do this if he became arrogant if he became Hardy a you know too big for his britches.
So God says I gotta keep you humble Paul so I can use you to do what I put you on earth to do.
And that's why gave you this painful thing. And by the way please notice that in Paul's mind even though he calls it a messenger of Satan in his mind he is convinced this is from the Lord is not from Satan. I am convinced the Jill is in my life and our families live because God put her there just the way she is. A lot of us of listen to this theology on television or radio where we hear these guys say, well, Satan did it and God just allowed it in his permissive will, folks, if that's your theology, may I say with all due respect in your theology is incorrect. It is wrong that is not what the Bible teaches at all. Amos five says, can there be evil in the city and the Lord not assented.
Read the story of Joe about how God puts specific limits on Satan you can do this to Job, you can't do this to Joe so whether Satan did it or not, who was really in charge of what happened to Joe wasn't Satan it was God. I'm convinced Jill is in our life the way she is because this is God's will for Jill and God's will for our life.
And you know I'm glad Jill was there because I believe the God looked at me and said long you above everybody else you need this on the put this in your life as you need. Because with the success that I want to give McLean Bible church. I believe the Lord said long. If I do that you were going to get arrogant. You are going to get Hardy you going to get too big for your britches and you can end up in the ditch.
Solomon, like so many other people, and ended up.
You could be unfaithful to your family. Unfaithful your calling. You never gonna make it. And so I gotta send something into your life to keep you from exalting yourself. I'm good with that understand that I didn't understand that 21 years ago, but I got that now. Paul said concerning this. I implore the Lord three times that it might leave me you think the apostle Paul had a good prayer life. We think, I do.
In fact, if I was going to look for somebody here on earth to pray for me if I couldn't find the Lord Jesus himself. I didn't get to go next to the possible so it wasn't something wrong with this prayer life.
But God said no three times.
Then God said to me, no Paul not taking it away, but my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. You say, what is that mean well, it means that when were we. We depend 100% on God's power and then were strong, but when we think were strong and were like okay God I really need you on this. When I got this week understand what he saying now watch.
Most gladly, Paul says, therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, so the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties for Christ say for when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul said I'm okay with this thorn in the flesh because now I understand why God it to keep me from exalting myself and the fact that God said no to me is right. This invokes I've actually thought about writing a book entitled, sometimes God says no I don't think I'll sell many copies of that book but that's what the Bible teaches. Sometimes God says no. And you know why three simple God is not Santa Claus. God is not the genie in the lamp when you're rubbing and you get three wishes.
No, no, God is our heavenly father, and as such he is out to raise us to be godly children and that means sometimes in our life. We don't always get what we want. I mean, you raise children. Ice cream is great yeah and sometimes your children need ice cream. But sometimes your children need broccoli and carrots and cauliflower and kale, collard greens, mustard greens, I'm from itself.
Can y'all tell Brussels sprouts penny guys like Brussels sprouts, oh God bless you. I didn't think could be that many of us a lot. Love Brussels sprouts look. The next time we have a potluck. We going to make us some Brussels sprouts will make it. The old saw the way with bacon in it and will put onions in it. Yeah yeah were not all arrive in heaven early yeah I where are we here but you know I would make my boys once a week. All three of them eat Brussels sprouts and not make Brenda do the same thing she hates Brussels sprouts, but I'd make her sit at the table and Edom because I think Brenda may know, we can ask the boys to do something that you're not willing to do and she complained more than all three of the boys put together. It was the best evening of the week for me it was I love that night. Well, that's another issue. Okay, so but friends. The point is God is our heavenly father and he looked at me and said you know Solomon there a lot of things that I'm capable of doing with your life, son, but the way you are. 1992 I can't do them with you. It will ruin your so I'm in have to put some things in your life that you are not going to like. But the going will enable me to fulfill my plan for your life. And so when you asked me to take him away.
I'm afraid I'm just going to have to tell you know the answers. No, now let me end with one verse of Scripture Matthew chapter 11 Jesus said, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
From my yoke is easy and my burden is light. The picture here is of two animals. Normally oxen pulling a plow and being in a yoke together and the way they would do it in the ancient near East is they would put an experienced ox on one side and then they put a neophyte a newbie ox. On the other side and the idea was that the newbie was supposed to learn by marching next to this experienced ox how to do this so they got the yoke on but think about this now. If the newbie went to slow the yoke was no longer easy online.
Why because experienced ox is pulling forward and that yoke is pulling on the head of that newbie in a certain and if the newbie tried to go to fast his yoke was an easier life because experienced ox is going slower and pulling that yoke back on the shoulders and hurt and that newbie oxen at the newbies try to go left or right. That yoke is pertinent because experienced ox to stay in stratum one it was only when the newbie learn to walk in perfect cadence with that experienced ox in perfect lockstep that the yoke became easy and the bird became light because experienced ox was carrying a big part of that yoke you understand what I'm saying to you. Yes okay well Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn from me, Jesus said when we come to Christ we go into a yoke with him for the rest of our lives. He's on one side where another and just like that ox that newbie.
The idea is we have to learn if we want our yoke to be easy and are burden to belie week we have to learn how to walk in perfect cadence with Lord Jesus. We are walking. Perfect lockstep with him. We try to go to slow to fast to far right too far left in the yoke is heavy, but when we're walking in perfect rhythm with Christ. Timing will choices for our life.
Everything yoke is easy and the burden is light. Doesn't mean life and heart some time, but it means his grace is sufficient to know what he told Paul I'm here to tell you after 21 years of raising Jill his grace was sufficient wasn't easy. But Brennan are still standing praise Lord, our marriage is still standard 39 years. Praise Lord I'm still pastoring the claim Bible Church by the grace of God. Praise the Lord my children of all grown up, to walk with Christ in raising their children walk with Christ. Praise Lord God's grace was sufficient.
What. So let's talk about you know, because many of you have been right were I was. I don't pray for Jill to be healed anymore. God doesn't great but I can't understand this is the way it's supposed to be and I'm okay with. I really, but many of us here. I'm sure our praying Lord God changes and you gotta change that. This needs to be different and more please take this away. And Lord, please take that away and and God saying no, he's either saying no, I'm never going to do it or know I'm not good do it right now.
But regardless of that he saying no and we don't like that and we get access and we get angry and we accuse him of some really ugly things and what we don't get is that it's just us in the yoke as the newbie just trying to go our own way instead of looking over and figuring out what, what's the cadence he's going and having the wisdom to surrender ourselves and say this is what I gotta get in step with ovary, you with me so friends. I promise you. The Lord Jesus knows best for you. He knows better for you than you'll ever know for you. He knew better for me and if we'll just get in step with and stop trying to tell him how to do thing, but let him make the decision will look back one day and shake our head in the affirmative and say Yep Yep Yep Yep Yep he had the pace. Not me. So that's our challenges believers in Jesus. That's our goal. Figure out where the Lord's going and get in step with and just walk in step with him, trusting him that our yoke will be easy are burden would be light in his grace will be sufficient. That's what he said in the least. My experience has been that he's telling the truth and who tell the truth to you to now let me close with just one last thought you know I have a lot of people maybe hear me make some of these statements and say yeah, but what about you, long, I mean it's that's great, I'm happy for you. Joe came in your lives.
She kept you from completely messing your life and you know whatever. But, and this is all great and and God used her. But how is all of this fairly Jill means great for you but has to spare her, I mean the house is equitable for her you know will limit.
I thought a lot about and I got I want to say two things in response number one the first thing we gotta remember is we can't judge Jill's life by our life that is so wrong presentation on Jill is one of the happiest human beings I've ever met Melanie.
She doesn't know she's disabled, you know, people feeder to get her dress give her a bath and take care of everything washer close right around wherever she wants to go give her whatever she needs, therefore in the morning. I mean she's the happiest person in the world. Joe's always got a smile on her face and I want to tell you she's much happier you are. I promise you that much happier than you yeah so so let's be careful that we don't judge her reality Byars and she would have to pay one never ever but on a more serious level. You say you yell long but look at all the things Jill didn't get to do. She didn't get to be on the swim team. She didn't get to do ballet. She didn't get to play the piano. She didn't get to go shopping with Brenda. She didn't get to market to get married, she's not, you know, just look at all. She didn't go to the prom. Fair enough. I understand that the friends I firmly believe God doesn't settle everything on this side of eternity.
I believe God settles up on the other side.
A lot of things don't get settled on this and there's a lot of in justice in our world doesn't seem to get settled up here. People seem to get away with it and buddies get the way folks God's gonna settle that there's a lot of unrighteous things that are done here in our world. People seem to get away with. Don't you worry about a gospel settled in friends. God's gonna settle up with you when she gets to heaven because she was willing to live the life that you live down here. For the purposes of God to serve God in advance God's plan. I believe God's going to reward her in ways that are just going to be so beyond anything he ever awards me with that. It's good be staggering, and I have this picture in heaven of Jill being way up high somewhere, really near the Lord Jesus and looking down and saying hey Lord, that's my daddy way down there to.
Can he come up here with me because he served me. Cannot cannot you mind if I brought them up a little bit from way down where he is. I really believe that's going to happen so anyway, I appreciate your listening appreciate your kind attention. Lord Jesus, you know, we all struggle would be in the newbie ox in the yoke.
In fact, even when we are newbies anymore were still problems in the yoke because were willful and were fleshly.
We want to do it our way and we always got a suggestion for Jesus teaches the wisdom of walking in lockstep with you and learning to surrender what we want to what you want in the absolute in full assurance that you know what's best for us. Timing wise you know what's best for us in terms of the things you let into our life and the things you do and that our yoke will be an easy are burden will be light, and your grace will be sufficient if we'll just learn to walk in step with you to help us do that. Lord I thank you so much for the word of God today that encourages our hearts for many people here today who been struggling Lord lift their spirits with knowing that there's not a thing in their life. That's an accident. I don't care how tragic it may be. It's all part of your plan and you will settle up with everyone of us. If you don't do it here.
You will do it in eternity. Give us hope. Because of these great truths we pray these things in Jesus name God's people said Amen