All In The Family

What Are The Characteristics Of A Perfect Christian Family?

Tim Lundy
May 6, 2019    45m
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The Bible is full of stories of Godly families, the hall of fame families who truly lived in their faith. But in fact, even these families were not perfect. However, we will see that even in the midst of our struggles in our homes, God gives us hope. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy (00:00):
Well, this morning we continue on in our series. We've been looking at the fact that there's no perfect families. And especially as you look in Scripture, you see the fact that there are no perfect families. In fact, this weekend, I want to continue a little bit on what we did last week. And last weekend, we looked at the very first family, Adam and Eve. We looked at the decisions they made from Genesis 3 and how those decisions there and what they went through still impact us today and how we are having to grapple with it. I want to continue on a little bit in Genesis, and I'm not going to ask you to turn there because we're basically going to cover a wide swath. About 38 chapters. Yeah. So it'll be hard to turn to all of it. And we'll look at four generations of what I call the hall of fame family.

Tim Lundy (00:50):
The reason I say that is if you went to Hebrews 11, the hall of fame of faith, of people who by faith, God says these people really walked by faith. This family shows up all the way through it. In fact, it starts with the patriarch of all patriarchs, Abraham, who is not only their father, he's our father. Romans says that he's the father of our faith. You know, as a kid, I don't know if you ever grew up in the church. There was a song we used to sing as a kid. Anybody grew up singing Father Abraham had many sons, had many sons, said Father Abraham. And I am one of them, so are you. So let's all praise the Lord. Right arm. And then you swing your right arm. It's kind of a Christian version of the hokey pokey is basically what is was. And then you do the left arm, the whole with it. Because we're all connected to him. In fact, if you look and you read these hall of famers, they are unbelievable people of faith in the way they stepped out trusted God.

Tim Lundy (01:52):
But if you ever stopped and just step back and just look at them as a family and some of the choices they made. Let me walk you through these generations that will highlight some of the things that stand out in it. It starts with Abraham and Sarah, this great Godly couple who by faith left their home and followed God. But in that journey, you see some cracks in the family. I mean twice when Abraham came into different territories, once in Egypt and other areas, and he felt threatened, he went to Sarah and he said, hey, you're really good looking. Someone may want you as their wife. And so to protect me, we're going to tell everybody you're my sister. And if they happen to take you, so be it. Now, ladies, can you fathom this? Now part of it, it speaks to how far we've come as a culture, how far the biblical ethic and the treatment of women and the partnership of what it should be, that we wouldn't fathom that.

Tim Lundy (02:55):
But it would be like you walking into a company dinner party. And as you walked in, your husband looks at you and says, hey, you know, you're really good looking. One of my bosses may want to date you. It would be really good for me. Why don't we tell everybody you're my sister instead? What would that conversation be like that night? Abraham did this twice. Twice. God promised him a son. It was taking years. So Sarah comes up with her own bright plan. She says, hey, you know what? This isn't happening naturally. Don't think it's really going to happen naturally. I have a handmaiden, Hagar. Abraham, why don't you sleep with her? We'll have a baby through her. Abraham does it. And as soon as Hagar gets pregnant, Sarah walks in. I love, she looks at it because Hagar starts treating Sarah with contempt.

Tim Lundy (03:50):
And Sarah goes into Abraham. She says, you and I have a problem. What have you done to me? And I'm sure Abraham's going, this was your idea. They have a baby, but it's not the baby of promise. In fact, it introduces so much pain in their family. As Abraham tries to balance I'm a father of two different children, two different mothers so that when Isaac comes and the tension rises so much so that Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham's son, are sent away. He's not dad anymore. The brokenness in that home. His son, Isaac has his own issues. As he and his wife, Rebecca find themselves going into territory where Isaac feels threatened and he remembered, you know what dad used to do when he would hit these kinds of situations? He'd always introduced mom as his sister. Why don't we do that too? Does the exact same thing.

Tim Lundy (04:56):
It's only God that protected them in those situations. They have two boys, twins, opposite, polar opposite. One, Esau, the hunter. Dad loved him. Jacob, the cook. Mom loved him. Tensions in the family. When it comes time to execute the family will in the way that they did it in that culture, Mom and Jacob do a big switcheroo on Dad and Esau so that Jacob gets the blessing. Jacob gets the greater than Esau. And these brothers are divided and Jacob has to run for his life. With the words of his brother saying, I will kill you if I see you again. You can feel the tension and the dysfunction of this family? Jacob who is known as the deceiver goes and meets his match in his future father-in-law, Laban. Goes into new territory and he sees this beautiful girl and he says, I want to marry her. And Laban says, well, we're cousins anyway. This works out well. Here's all I need you to do. Work for me for seven years and she is your bride.

Tim Lundy (06:05):
And Jacob works diligently because he's so in love with her. And they had the big wedding ceremony. And there probably was a lot of wine involved because as the night ends up, he goes into the bridal chamber which is how they consummate both the marriage but it also was the way in which you were considered married. Jacob goes in there and wakes up in the morning. Father-in-law's done a switcheroo on him. Jacob thought he was the king of switcheroos and it's not Rachel there. It's Leah, her older sister which Scripture says her older, uglier sister. Jacob walks out and goes, what have you done? And Laban looks at him and goes, you didn't really think I was going to give you the younger sister? I mean she's the older sister. But if you work seven more years, then you can have her as your wife. And he works at any launches into life with two wives, sister wives. Guys, this is the first sister wives here.

Tim Lundy (07:11):
And this one wife that he's passionate about and this one wife who knows she's not loved. Feel the pain of that. But God loved her. In fact, one of the greatest blessings you could have in that time was to have children, especially sons. And Leah starts having sons. I mean she has one, two, three, four sons in a row. Rachel gets real upset and she's like, I'm getting left out on this. You know what? Grandmother had a thing that she did where if you sleep with the handmaiden, you could have a baby. So Jacob, I want you to sleep with my handmaiden. He does and has two sons through the handmaiden. Leah jumps forward says, well, I'm not going to be out done. I've got a handmaiden too. Sleep with her. Sleep with her. And she had two sons.

Tim Lundy (08:02):
And then Leah has a couple more and a daughter. And then finally, Rachel has a baby, Joseph, really good Godly young man. And then she follows it up with another son Benjamin. But during childbirth, she loses her life. And here's Jacob with this brood. He's got these 12 sons with four different mothers. You feel the dysfunction of that? Everything you're feeling was lived out. Because Jacob didn't know what to do with them. And these boys were unruly and they would do all different things. Their sister gets sexually assaulted and Jacob doesn't really want to deal with it. He says, we're just not going to talk about it. Let's just not deal with it. And the brothers get so angry with it, they come up with a plan and they slaughter the whole village of the people that did it. Feel the dysfunction?

Tim Lundy (09:02):
Joseph who's the shining star in all of it, this Godly young man. But he's also Dad's favorite. And Dad pins his hopes on Joseph because his oldest son by Reuben, by the way, sleeps with one of his concubines which is a disgrace to the family. It's probably a power play that Reuben was trying to declare I'm in charge and Dad says no, you're not. So he goes to Joseph and he gives him this beautiful coat of colors, probably more than a gift. I think it's Jacob's declaration. Here's the heir. The oldest by my first natural wife has disgraced himself. Here's the oldest by my second natural wife. And by the way, he's my favorite. And Joseph, godly guy but a little naive. He keeps having these dreams from God and he shares them. He said, guys, hear this dream. I mean I was there, there was all these sheaves of grain and each one of them represented us. And my sheaf of grain was right there and yours all bowed down to mine. Isn't that cool?

Tim Lundy (10:07):
He goes, and there's this another one. I was a star and you're all stars and dead momma, their moon and the sun. And guess what? Everybody bowed down to my star. And Jacob pulls him aside and he's like, Joseph, ixnay on the dreamsay. You are not helping yourself here. The brothers hated him. When Joseph goes to check on the brothers, they grab him to kill him. And Reuben steps in and says, don't kill him. They throw him in a pit. And while they debate killing him, they see some traders that are going by headed down to Egypt. And Judah says, why should we just kill him and not gain anything off of this? Let's sell him. Can you imagine? You're down in a pit hearing your brothers debate, do we kill him or do we sell him ? And they sell him, dip his coat in blood, go back to Dad so sad thinking Dad maybe now will shower that love on them only to watch Dad withdraw that much more into his pain over the loss of his son.

Tim Lundy (11:26):
Guys, this is the hall of fame family. And as you look at it and you look at all the generations of it, boy, there's a level of dysfunction here. Now I don't say this because it's an expose, kind of like I want to do my TMZ version of let's tear down the hall of fame family. I'm just telling you what's in Scripture. And I say this because the issues that plague this family, they go back to Adam and Eve, what we saw last week. But they continue to our day. Look at some of the issues that stand out in it, in this story. Things that we still struggle with today. Passivity of the father. Passivity of the father. Over and over again, where the father was called to step forward, to stand for what was right. It goes all the way back to Adam. Adam, as he stood there and he watched as Eve talked to the serpent. He watched as truth was being torn down and lies were being told. He watched as Eve grabs the fruit and says let's eat it. And then he eats with her. With the greatest failure, there was passivity.

Tim Lundy (12:42):
Passivity of Abraham. Instead of stepping forward and going, Sarah, we're not going to do it that way. God promised a baby. Let's bank on Him. Let's stick with His word. The passivity of an Isaac, of a Jacob with this sons. When he should step forward and when he should lead. Over and over again. And the challenge, this is something we all struggle with, guys. I'll dive in this more in a later message. It's just a reality for all of us. We just need to know that. And I think where it shows up the most is in our homes. It's always interesting to me and I find it in my own life as well. The things I'll throw myself into, the things that we will lead out in. You'll see guys. We'll step forward in our companies. We step forward in sports. We step forward in a lot of arenas. And the last word you would say about the guy in that arena is passive.

Tim Lundy (13:38):
But something about home and relationships. When we're needed most to just step up, to just speak in, to just be fully present, it's so easy to pull back. And families pay for it. Look at the second thing that you see here. Sexual failure and fallout. There's a lot of it in this story where people just go outside and I didn't even tell you all in it. But again, it highlights. And one of the things I love, I love the honesty of our God about His people. It's one of the things that makes me trust the Bible the most. If I was making this up, wouldn't you come up with better heroes than this? Literally, if this was fiction as people like to say, why would you include these details? But see, we have a God who used real people, real people with real issues. And He tells the whole story because in it, we see both how God intervened and we also see the damage of denying what He has said and doing outside of it.

Tim Lundy (15:00):
Guys, when God gives us boundaries, it's not because He's a God of limitation. And especially hear me on this, when God gives sexual boundaries, the world wants us to say that the church and God is against sex. God's not against sex. He's actually the one that came up with it. He's all for it. In fact, He knows how powerful it is and He wants to protect it and protect us and protect families and protect your heart. The pain and the damage that comes when you don't listen to how He designed it and the boundaries He put in place. And the reality is everybody that wants you to say, well, it's just about you and what you want, if you look through these stories, especially where there's sexual brokenness, it impacts more than you and it's felt in the home.

Tim Lundy (15:58):
The third thing that you see that's common all throughout, favoritism and jealousy. Favoritism over and over again where a parent is favorite to a child. Sometimes it's a good child. I mean I can see why Jacob was drawn to Joseph. Joseph was a Godly young man. In fact, as you read through his story, it's amazing how he responds be faith over and over again. But the pain that produces. You see it in homes when a parent favors one child or when a grandparent favors a child. It's interesting. I've had grandparents even say, I'll hear them say, oh, well, that one's my favorite and everyone knows it. We just have our special bond. And I always want to say, oh, I'm sure everyone knows it. I'm sure the other grandchildren really know it. And it causes wounds.

Tim Lundy (16:55):
When you have people having to compete for affections, wives competing for affection, children competing for affection, and you look at it and I think for all of us, we have to look at it and go, man, is that showing up in our home in any way? Do I compare the kids in any way? Do I highlight the one? Man, if you could only be like X. Man, if you only made grades like them. They keep their act together. Why can't you? It's so easy to do as a parent. You drift into it. When people and kids and even our spouses feel a competition for us. Now, hopefully, we're past the days of many wives and concubines and sister wives. Oh, we're not dealing with that. But they still have to compete. Is your spouse competing for your affection? Not with another wife but maybe your job. Maybe your phone.

Tim Lundy (17:59):
Does your phone get more attention than the people in your house? Yeah, I know. We're preaching now. We're meddling. We're moving in. Do the people that you love in your household know that you love them, all of them? Because here's the other hard reality. I would say all of us go, I love my family. I love each of my children the same. And I believe that's true. But they don't always feel it the same because they're wired differently. As much as you say, well, I treat them all the same and I tell them all I love them. But if they receive it differently, the hard truth is their perception is their reality. So what they feel is actually what's real. And they feel different ways. That's why it's so important as kids that I have to look as a parent at each kid and go, okay, how do they feel most loved? What is it that connects with them? It's what we have to do in our marriage as well.

Tim Lundy (19:04):
I mean you may be a guy that you're the most loving with words. You're the most poetic. You could tell her poetry every day how much you love her. But she would actually feel it if you'd wash a few dishes and help out around the house a little bit. She doesn't any more love songs. She just needs some help. You may be a wife that you go, oh, I tell him all the time he's loved. He knows he's loved. But he might actually feel it if you took time and you made love to him so he felt it personally. See, it'd be a great exercise for all of that. I would just challenge you no matter what your household, whether you have a family or not, maybe your circle of friends, you would do well to go home, look at your circle, write down the names of the people in your household, in your circle and then go, how do each of them most feel loved?

Tim Lundy (19:59):
Do you even know? Then if you want to take the exercise one step farther, then on the last column over here, how am I doing with each of them? When's the last time they felt that from me? Because these wounds can lead to jealousy that divides families. There's a lot of adults that walk around jealous of a sibling. They just are. And it usually goes back to these kinds of wounds. Now I heard the story of Al and Elliott Golden, both successful guys, twins. Grew up in Brooklyn together, married within the same month in the 1940s. They were close throughout life, but there was always a sense of jealousy. Al was the more successful. He was a mirror salesman, then a life insurance salesman. Made a lot of money. Had a big boat, fishing boat.

Tim Lundy (20:52):
His brother Elliott was an attorney. Very distinguished. Ended up on the state Supreme court for the state of New York. But it drove Elliott crazy Al had more money. He'd even say that. How do you have more when I'm the attorney? And Al would relish that because he knew what he meant. This is what Al heard when he said that. How do you have more money since I'm the smarter one? Because growing up, Dad always compared them, always felt the grades, always felt the parts till finally, later in life, one day Elliott accused Al of not taking care of their mother enough. And Al had had enough. He said, I'm not speaking to you anymore. And for one year, he wouldn't. Wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't answer letters, emails. His brother reached out. Nieces and nephews reached out. And one day Elliott sent him a final email. He said, Al, I read a story about two brothers the other day who were divided like us. They shared property right next to each other and there was a stream down the middle. And to show the divide, they hired a carpenter to build the fence right down the middle of the property.

Tim Lundy (22:10):
But the carpenter got the instructions wrong. And instead of a fence, he built a bridge. Elliott said, Al, what would it take to build the bridge again? And Al responded. Elliott, I want that bridge. I'm willing to walk over. And he apologized not just for the year, but for the years, for the stuff that had built up. Three years later, Elliott died. And Al said, I'm so glad we walked over that bridge before. Some of you maybe need to build some bridges. Maybe there's some pain that goes back a long ways, pain that you're not even responsible for and have inherited. But I would encourage you, this stuff has a way of haunting and hurting. Step into it.

Tim Lundy (23:24):
Couple last characteristics and then we'll turn and look at some hope that we see in this story. The scheming and deception, the scheming and deception, lies. In fact, every generation, you just see a level of lying. And that's, you know, you hear the phrase, the sins of the father that are continued on generationally. It's because they catch them. They see It. Kids know it. Sometimes it's the lies that you tell to yourself as a family because you don't want to address what's really going on. You don't want to act like there really is an addiction. You don't want to act like there really is a problem here. So everybody just kind of lies to themselves about it. We all just pretend it's not there when we all know at our core, there's issues. Sometimes it's the lies you tell to each other. And those are so painful. You know, in the years of counseling, it's always interesting to me, the people that I have counseled, especially couples, where one of them has broken that relationship through an affair.

Tim Lundy (24:27):
I cannot tell you how many times though, the spouse that was hurt in that will say to me, you know, I can forgive the affair. What I can't handle anymore are the lies. The lies just tear me apart. The lies that go with scheming. And it's a great check for all of us. Am I scheming anyway in my home? Even in white lies or little ways. Are you as a wife kind of scheming that he doesn't really know what's going on over here financially and that's okay. Some things he doesn't need. Yeah, he does Husbands, that does the same with us. Is there any part of my life that I go, well, I'm kind of keeping that from her. See, once those little seed beds start, they grow. And as they grow, they have impact not just personally, sometimes generationally.

Tim Lundy (25:29):
The last thing you see in this story is betrayal and heartbreak. Just betrayal and the heartbreak that comes with it. It's easy for us to read those stories and for us, it's a story from afar. If you're the person living it, if we hear the Ishmael that's sent away and grows up without dad, if you're the Leah who knows your husband doesn't love you, if you're the Joseph who even though you're trying to do everything right, you look up and your brothers sold you. And then you find yourself not only in a household, ultimately in an Egyptian prison going, God, this is not what I pictured at this stage in life. There's a pain that comes with it. And it's easy in this to go, man, Tim, I looked at these generations, what is our hope in this? What do we turn to?

Tim Lundy (26:34):
And again, I'll just remind you, the reason God tells us the full story is there's great hope in looking at if God can work in these people, if God can turn in these stories, if God can show up in this brokenness, if God can show up for each of these individuals, I know that He cares about my story too. In fact, just as we close, just some of the principles that I'd want you to take away out of it. Just recognize, first of all, people of faith are not immune to the problems of life. I find hope even in that statement. Just recognizing as people of faith, we're not immune. There's trouble in life. It shows up in our homes, it shows up in our families, it shows up in our struggles with that. And there's hope in just embracing, almost just again, taking that deep breath of going, I'm not alone in this. God knows. He actually cares.

Tim Lundy (27:32):
And it's one of the reasons we need church so much. You know, one of the chapters that I go to again and again is Matthew 6. There's a section on it when Jesus teaches about worrying. And maybe I struggle with it too much because every time I read through it, I'm like, yes, Jesus, I need that. It's interesting how he ends up though. The very last verse of that he says, therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. I love the honesty of this. Notice what he doesn't say. He says, do not worry about tomorrow because if you love Jesus, all your worries will go away because you're not going to have any problems tomorrow. Jesus never says that, does he?

Tim Lundy (28:23):
He says, no, don't worry about tomorrow. Because you know what? You can't do anything about tomorrow. You can't fix tomorrow. And actually today has its own trouble. I love that he tells us, yeah, there's trouble in life. And he says it from a perspective of one who knows and one who cares and one who's actually in it with us. You know, Murph mentioned earlier, this is National Mental Health Awareness Month. I'm so glad we're recognizing and just telling different stories about it. Because this is one of the troubles that I think the church, we just need to be honest about Godly Christian struggle with mental health, struggle in real ways. And in it as a church, it's just good to embrace how do we walk through this together? You know, one of the couples that have been instrumental in the ministry, Living with Hope and Mental Health, Jason and Megan Noriega. They have stepped into it. But it's interesting even as they stepped into it to help with leadership, how it's impacted their family as well. In fact, I want you to watch their story with me.

Jason Noriega (29:53):
Hi, I'm Jason Noriega.

Megan Noriega (29:54):
And I'm Megan Noriega.

Jason Noriega (29:56):
And we're here today to share our story about mental health. My mental health journey started when I was involved with a local nonprofit that helped severe and persistent people suffering from mental illness. When I started researching more about mental health and what that meant, I quickly learned that it affected way more people in our community than I thought. And so that fueled my fire even more as to there had to be something that I could do to increase the conversation about mental health here in our community. And so we started Living with Hope and Mental Health.

Megan Noriega (30:31):
So when Jason decided to provide the mental health support at Venture, it was kind of ironic timing. However, not ironic. It was God's timing. I started having panic attacks. I didn't realize that they were panic attacks at first. However, after kind of experiencing different episodes, I realized, okay, this is what's happening. I'm having a panic attack. Because I am so type A and like to be in control of everything, going through something like that was debilitating. As I got connected with a Christian counselor, she helped me talk through different situations and how to handle myself when I'm going through a panic attack. I remember thinking, well, what if I'm with my kids when this happens and I have to pull the car over? Breathing through a panic attack, what's that going to look like? So there was a lot of unknown and that was really scary. When I finally decided to start taking medication for it, that was a really hard step. And I thought, are my kids going to look at me and think why does my mom always take that medication every day? And I remember crying at the counter and Jason just talked me through it and said, we're going to take it step by step

Jason Noriega (31:54):
Day-by-day, step-by-step. And it quickly became our new normal and something that we weren't going to be ashamed about. Community is important when you realize that you're not alone and that's really what we're about here at Venture is everyone belongs. God created each one of us to have a unique purpose. And we're here to help you discover that. We're in this journey together and it's one that we feel like God placed on our hearts to be the voice of those who don't have the voice. And we want Venture to be known as the church that cares.

Tim Lundy (32:39):
Isn't that great? I appreciate them just stepping forward and telling their story because here's the reality. Guys, there are good, Godly people who struggle with depression, who struggled with bipolar behavior, families who struggle with schizophrenia, struggle with anxiety and attacks with that. That the church isn't immune to that. And so as we step forward and we recognize in all of these issues, we have a God who meets us there. And we need to be a church that meets other people in that journey. Now I would encourage you because maybe you look at it and your family's pretty dysfunctional or you've been pretty wounded with it. Another principle that just stands out to me in these stories is God can produce the best of people in the worst of families. God can do such amazing things in the middle of the brokenness. There's few people like Joseph in Scripture. Honestly, you read through his stories and every step along the way, he had every opportunity to go, forget it, I've been wounded too much, I've been hurt too much. God's not showing up in my life. I find myself in a prison. I find myself betrayed. He could have written it off. And yet he becomes this instrument to bring life and hope not only for his family but for the world.

Tim Lundy (34:17):
And so maybe you've grown up in a really bad family. Maybe you've grown up in a hurt family. Maybe you've grown up with wounds from it. And the enemy wants you to think you're damaged goods. Don't you believe it. Maybe you're having to raise kids right now and it's not what you dreamed. You're a single parent who's trying to do it alone. And you're having to step in in ways that you never thought. And the enemy wants to pound you with the thought that your kids don't have a chance. They're going to be so messed up. He loves those fears. Hear me, God loves to step in and He can raise the best of people in the worst of situations. You pray that over your child. You pray that. Now to do that though, our families shape us and sometimes wound us. But we are responsible to God for our choices and actions.

Tim Lundy (35:18):
We have to claim that for ourselves, that we recognize the wounds, we know how we've been shaped. But instead of using it as the reason why we can't do what God's called us to do, at some point, all of us have to step forward and go, yes, that impacted me, yes, that shaped me. But God defines me. God redeems me. And I will choose, no matter what they've done, I'm going to choose to do what God's calling me to do. My spouse may not respond. My kids may not respond. Those around me may not respond. They may never make the right choices. My parents may never come back and give the healing that I want. I pray that for all. They may not. But I'm choosing. I'm choosing to do what God's called me to do.

Tim Lundy (36:14):
You know, Joseph, at the end of the story in Genesis 50, it's interesting. After Jacob dies, after Joseph has rescued his brother. So they've been restored. But once Jacob dies, they get real scared again. Maybe Joseph's going to punish us for what we did because we deserve punishment. And look what Joseph says to them. But Joseph said to them, do not fear, for am I in the place of God? Am I God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today. He continues on. So do not fear. I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus, he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. In that moment when everything in you would want to go, yeah, it's my turn to exert for what you did. I love Joseph's perspective that he steps back and he goes, I'm not God, guys. And yes, it was evil, it was wrong. But I've got a God who can even redeem those kinds of situations and I'm going to trust Him.

Tim Lundy (37:29):
The final thing I would say to you here today is when your family's life is not what you had planned, trust that God still has a plan and that He redeems. He redeems. And this is a key word in this. Redeem doesn't mean He takes all the stuff that was hard and suddenly, oh, it becomes good again. No, it's still hard. It's still painful. And if you're in it today, sometimes it's so hard to even see. God, I don't know how this works with your plan at all. I don't know how what I'm going through could ever be redeemable. Because there's nothing about it that feels good. In fact, all I feel right now is the pain. And those are the days that you have to rest in Him the most. Hear me. Not because you're going to get some answer that explains it. But you do get a God who loves you in it, and He loves so much that he went through the pain of losing His son so that really there is redemption.

Tim Lundy (38:46):
Guys, I don't say these words lightly. We're walking through it as a family. Just the last few days. I've told you guys in the past, and many of you have been praying. My wife's brother and his wife had three little girls and the two youngest afflicted with just a terrible disease, Batten disease that attacks the brain, attacks the body. Three years ago, their daughter Milla died from Batten at the age of six. And the youngest, Elle has been walking the same journey as Milla. A couple of days ago, we got a call in the night that she's not doing well. And Lea got on a plane and has been in Memphis with her family. And then yesterday we got the call that Elle went home to be with Jesus. Seven-year-old little girl. And it's a hard way to die. What do you do on those days? There's nothing good about this disease. I'll just say that. And I don't have quick answers for me, as I sit and cry with my kids. And the only thing I know to do and I'll call you to do as well is I turn to a God who I know is good and I know that He cares.

Tim Lundy (40:38):
And I don't know how these days match with the overall plan. I really don't. But I trust Him And He'll never make what was bad good. But I trust Him to redeem it. Now I'll tell you what I know that I know as sure as anything. I know there are two little girls, sisters that were reunited in Heaven and I have that hope and we have that hope as a family because Jesus died on the cross because He loved them so much. And so if God could do that, I trust Him today in the pain. And I call you to do the same because a lot of you have pain too. Maybe you haven't lost a child. I haven't lost a child like that. But guys, pain is pain. And for some of you, it's relational pain and it's tearing you apart. Some of you, it's the pain of a disease you're fighting or you've lost someone. Some, it's just the pain of loneliness. Some, it's the pain of mental illness you're struggling with. I don't know. I just know we're not alone in it. And I know that the God who shows up for me and our family is the same God who's there for you. And so, as the enemy tells you this pain is without meaning, don't believe the lie.

Tim Lundy (42:28):
If all you can hold on to today is to say, I trust you, God. I know that you care. I know that you redeem. In fact, I want to encourage you, if you just close your eyes for a moment, I'm going to pray for you. But I'd also like to pray with you. And some of you in particular that are here, even as I've been speaking, you're struggling with something. You're struggling in your home. You're struggling with pain. You're struggling with something that maybe no one else knows. And so before I pray, if that's you, would you raise your hand just so that I can just recognize and pray for you? Yeah. Man, a lot of hands. All right, I see your hands. You can put them down. Let's just pray together. Father, I do just pray for those in this room, those who raised their hands, some who don't even have the strength to raise their hand but they need you.

Tim Lundy (43:36):
Lord, I thank you that you're a God who redeems. I thank you that even now you have told us that one of your roles is comforter and I pray that. I pray for each person here. I pray for those that raised their hand, that they need comfort. I pray that for Frazer and Dana and Ann Carlyle as they grieve the loss of their daughters and their sisters. I pray that for those who are walking through that kind of pain right now, pain of loss. I pray for those who are fighting disease and feel the pain of it. I pray for those who find themselves in a broken relationship, a broken marriage. I pray for those who are struggling with the pain of loneliness because they didn't plan on being alone at this point in life but they find themselves there.

Tim Lundy (44:38):
I pray for those who are struggling with the pain of addiction. I Pray for those who struggle with the pain where mental illness has impacted them or impacted their home. Lord, I lift up each person here. God, we don't always have answers, but we do know where to turn. And I do thank you, God, for the hope that we have. It is not a vain hope. It is not a wishful hope. It's a real hope because we have a real savior who died on the cross and because you rose again, because you brought redemption over the sin of humanity, we believe you will redeem in our lives and we hold fast to that truth. And we look to Him now and we pray this in His name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600