Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God Will Use This in Some Way

Leslie Basham: Here's Bill Hogan remembering a conversation with his daughter right after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Pastor Bill Hogan: I was sitting on her hospital bed and the test results had just come back and we knew that it was very serious. I said, "Amy, I would give anything if I could trade places with you."

She smiled in her bubbly way and said, "Oh, Dad, I wouldn't want that because God has entrusted this to me and He will use this in some way."

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, October 10th. God can use terrible circumstances in amazing ways as we'll hear about today. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's been such a joy this week to talk with my former pastor, Dr. Bill Hogan. Bill, thank you so much for joining us on Revive Our Hearts.

Pastor Bill Hogan: You're welcome.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You've been long time dear friends of our family. I grew up with your children. Your children and I went to Christian school together. But, we've also been through some times of great loss and we've had times as families of weeping together--a couple in particular come to mind and you are so familiar with these.

Bill, you participated as my pastor in the funeral of my dad, who was a dear friend of yours and also the funeral of my brother who was killed in a car accident in the mid 80's.

Then, not only as a pastor helping people (like my family) walk through these seasons, but then as a parent. A number of years ago you lost one of your two daughters, a peer of mine and a dear friend of our family and the mother of four of your grandchildren.

As you have walked as a pastor and as a parent through times of grieving and loss and weeping, I just want you to share with us some of what God has taught you and your wife about how to face grief and then perhaps how we can encourage and help others who are facing grief in their own walk.

Pastor Bill Hogan: I think especially of our Amy's death. She died of a brain tumor six years ago. Her husband was and is a pastor. She had four little children: 8, 6, 3 and 2 at that time. She began to have headaches and went to the doctor and she was diagnosed as having the most virulent kind of brain cancer there is. They gave her two years to live, max. She was 32. She lived one year and died one day short of the first anniversary of her diagnosis.

I remember the day I was sitting on her hospital bed and the test results had just come back and we knew that it was very serious. I said, "Amy, I would give anything if I could trade places with you.

She smiled in her bubbly way and said, "Oh, Dad, I wouldn't want that because God has entrusted this to me and He will use this in some way." So that was just a remarkable thing.

When Amy got sick, I discovered something on the Internet called "The Brain Tumor Mailing List." This is a group, I think, of over 900 people in 37 countries (at that time) who had some special interest in brain tumors.

Most of them were patients or caregivers. And, I began to put on the mailing list myself every new piece of information about Amy's condition and the day she said to me, "God will use this in some way" I put that on the mailing list.

Several days later, I got a phone call late one night from a woman who identified herself as a member of the Brain Tumor Mailing List. She said, "I've been sitting at my computer for an hour trying to compose a message but I can't express myself as well as I think I can personally. I hope you don't mind that I've called you."

And she said, "When I heard that your daughter said, "God will use this brain tumor for some good purpose," I was struck by the fact that if there is a good purpose in a brain tumor, there must be some purpose for my life. So, I have given my heart to Christ and I thought you might like to know."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wow!

Pastor Bill Hogan: Later on, there was man here from Minneapolis. He had an eight-year-old daughter who died of a brain tumor and he put on a detailed description of her memorial service. It was so beautiful and so moving that I sat at my computer weeping and I wrote him a note and thanked him for it.

And he wrote back and he said, "I was raised a Lutheran but for many years I have been an atheist. But I followed the story of your daughter and I have become a Christian as a result and it was that that carried me through the death of my own daughter. I couldn't have endured it otherwise.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wow!

Pastor Bill Hogan: I have a long list of stories like this.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That you know of.

Pastor Bill Hogan: That I know of. The ways that God used her illness were just amazing!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you, Lord!

Pastor Bill Hogan: In terms of biblical support, the thing that has helped me the most is my confidence in the sovereignty of God. "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28)--even a brain tumor.

There's something I used to say often in sermons. I would say, "Nothing touches the child of God that does not pass through the perfect will of God in order to get to them."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's really what you mean when you say, "the sovereignty of God."

Pastor Bill Hogan: God is in charge of all things. And He's going to use all things. I think it was that statement in that sermon that Amy listened to as a child and grabbed hold of and really believed. Talk about encouraging pastors--to see your own child walking in the truth that you have taught, that's the most encouraging thing imaginable.

But, she had that confidence that God was going to use this somehow for His Glory and He did in many ways. So, I would say with confidence that God is in control of all things; that He knows what He is doing. He makes no mistakes. He knows the end from the beginning and somehow, in the midst of our pain and our grief and our deep loss, He's going to do something that will glorify Himself.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And, that has to be our ultimate objective. More than our comforts or our personal happiness has to be our preoccupation with the glory of God. That's what really, really matters.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Exactly. I just preached on Isaiah, the vision of the Lord in Isaiah, chapter 6. "In the year that King Uzziah died," King Uzziah was a good and righteous king who made a mistake at the end of his life and died tragically; but through most of his life he was a good king and he strengthened the country and made it prosperous so there was deep grief when he died.

At the same time, the Assyrians were rising to world power so there was a fear of the future. So, Isaiah, with his grief and his anxiety about the future, goes to the temple and he gets a glimpse of God. He says, "I saw the Lord"¦high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple."

And seraphs were flying around crying out to each other, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts." Through that vision, God called him to one of the toughest ministries imaginable. "I'm sending you to be an unsuccessful evangelist."

Now, how in the world would a man have the courage and the dogged determination to keep doing that for years unless he had seen the sovereignty of God? He had seen God in charge of the universe. Judah's throne was empty but heaven's throne was not. The king was dead but long live the king.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Amen.

Pastor Bill Hogan: That's what I mean by the sovereignty of God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And it doesn't mean, at the same time, that we don't grieve.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Oh, of course not!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That we don't feel the pain intensely.

Pastor Bill Hogan: No.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You said something a moment ago that I don't want to pass by too quickly and that is that we even give thanks.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know that sounds, on the face of it, a little impossible or nutty at best. How do you do this?

Pastor Bill Hogan: There's a big difference between giving thanks and feeling thankful. A lot of things we do in the Christian life we do by faith. And sometimes they're even contrary to the way we feel at the moment.

But to give thanks is to say, "God, I believe that You are a good God. You make no mistakes. Whatever You do is right and good and holy and true and I thank You for that. It's not something I would have chosen. It's not something I am enjoying, but I thank You that You know what You're doing.

Leslie Basham: That's Pastor Bill Hogan helping us remember to thank God in every circumstance. Maybe you are going through the type of crisis that we heard about today. Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to share more insight and to pray with you.

We have a team of people right here at Revive Our Hearts who pray for our listeners. Would you write to us with your request?

 We wanted to bring you this week's conversation with Nancy's former pastor for a special reason.

It's Pastor's Appreciation Month and we want to celebrate big. We want to help you do something special for your pastor's wife and we have put together a gift package that includes a signed copy of Nancy's book,

A Place
of Quiet Rest, along with a CD, Psalms from the Heart, a lovely scented candle and some herbal tea.

We'll even provide everything you need to put it in a beautiful package. You can order it for your pastor's wife for a suggested donation of $30 when you call us at 1-800-569-5959 or go on-line to Revive Our Hearts.com.

Next week we'll find out why the phrase, "I surrender" has important spiritual meaning. I hope you can join us. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Bill Hogan about learning to trust the sovereignty of God. Let's continue with that conversation.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want to say to our listeners that I don't know what experience you are walking through right now but, whatever the circumstances and however deep and dark that valley is right now, God is sovereign.

And He intends to use that circumstance in your life and in this world as a means of revealing Himself and His heart and His ways. His grace will be all that you need it to be in this season of your life. I want to pray for you and just lift you up to the Lord and ask God to strengthen and encourage your heart.

Oh, Father, how I do thank You for the beauty and greatness of this theological truth of Your sovereignty. Right now I want to lift up that woman listening whose heart is so very heavy right now.

And I ask that You would minister grace and strength and peace and comfort to her heart and, most of all, I ask that You fix her mind, her emotions, her thinking, her spirit on the reality that You are God and You are good and You are sovereign.

May she care about You being glorified in the situation more than anything else that could matter to her at this moment? Lord, we do worship You and we give You thanks for You are good. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.