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WELCOME TO THE SUMMER ONLINE STUDY OF THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT!

god-of-all-comfort-revised

I’m so glad you’ve come! Even if you are not internet savvy, this is easy — and if you have trouble getting started, just send your question to david@deebrestin.com.  There is both a Bible study to do and a Moody program to hear.

If it’s your first time participating in the online Bible Study please check out the
Getting Started page for more information.

BIBLE STUDY

Every Sunday for ten weeks a new Bible study will appear for you to do at your leisure throughout the week.

The first time you post, it will need to be approved, so we keep out spammers — but after that, whatever you write will simply appear.  I will give other enriching resources: U-Tube videos of the featured hymn or spiritual song or free sermons from the best of the best. You may want to order the book to read along, and I believe it would enrich you, but you do not have to have it to do this online study.

MIDDAY CONNECTION ACCOMPANYING PROGRAM WITH GREAT MUSIC!

Every Monday for ten weeks, you can listen to the accompanying Moody Broadcast. You can either:

Listen live at noon central on Mondays if you have a Moody station or listen live online by clicking here: http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection.aspx or listen online at your convenience a day after the program has aired by clicking on the above and going to past programs. We will give a link here as well when it is available.

BIBLE STUDY

Whether you have come because you are in the midst of suffering, or want to be ready when it comes, or long to comfort others who are suffering, you will be strengthened. The image the psalmist uses frequently for the feelings that we have when catastrophic news comes is that of drowning.

drowning_man_by_the_psycrothicI felt that way when I received news that my husband had cancer, and then again, when he died. I also had similar feelings when my daughter was in a dangerous relationship and when my son had prodigal years. Many of you have had those feelings when you faced betrayal, bereavement, or broken dreams of infertility or divorce. With many circumstances we feel we have lost control, which is what a drowning person feels.

Suffering is a part of life. Christianity, of all the world religions, is unique when it comes to suffering, for we alone have a God who entered into our suffering, who is acquainted with our sorrow. Behind the laments of the psalmist, you can often see Jesus, the suffering servant who was acquainted with sorrows.

ICE-BREAKER

1.  Share your name and one reason you have decided to participate in this ten week study on The God of All Comfort.

We will begin with a psalm this week. One important principle for interpreting Scripture is to interpret genre according to genre. Psalms, for example, are poetry — and you interpret poetry differently than prose. You look for the central meaning of the word pictures, rather than pressing each point. For example, the psalm you are about to look at pictures God riding on the wings of the wind to come to the rescue of His distressed child. This is a Word picture designed to show you the heart of God for His suffering child — and that is what you must see.

Read Psalm 18:1-5

jesus-rescuing-peter

2.  What are some word pictures the psalmist uses for God in verses 1-2?

3.  How does he describe himself in verses 4-5? How does this express the feelings of drowning?

4.  In Psalm 18:6-19 the psalmist uses a dramatic word picture to describe God’s response to His child’s cry. Describe it.

5.  What phrases particularly impact your heart and why?

When we imagine a rescue, we usually think of being delivered from our circumstances — and yet the Bible talks about two kinds of “rescues.”

6.  In Hebrews 11:29-31, find three examples of being rescued from circumstances. Share a time when God rescued you from your circumstances.

7.  Read Hebrews 11:36-40

A. Give a few examples from the above of those were not rescued from circumstances.

B. And yet they WERE rescued. What promise is given in Hebrews 11:40? What is the “something better?”

C. How can their trust in the midst of suffering help to make us “perfect” or mature?

D. Share a time when God did not rescue you from your earthly circumstances, but gave you hope that one day things would be made right.

ship Spafford daughters perished fromA contemporary example of someone not rescued from circumstances but who was sustained by hope is Horatio Spafford, author of “It is Well With My Soul.” Spafford has often been called a contemporary Job. He lost an infant son, his wealth in the Chicago fire, and then sent his wife and four daughters to England to a D. L. Moody Crusade, with the promise he would follow soon after.

But that ship went down at sea and his four little girls perished.

His bereaved wife sent this famous telegram with the message:  “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

telegram

There is a video with five hymn stories called Amazing Grace: Hymns that Changed the World, that I heartily recommend. Watch an excerpt from it below.


The lyrics that came to Horatio all revolve around the cross and the hope it gives us. He knew this wasn’t the end of the story — that his daughters were delivered to “something better” and that they would be together with them one day.

Meditate on these lyrics:


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.

8.  What stands out to you from the Horatio Spafford story?

9.  What truths can you find in his lyrics that might sustain you in the midst of suffering?

10.  What water images and rescue images can you find in this hymn?

Listen to the Midday Connection program # 1 online (past programs will be available on Tuesdays) and share what stood out to you.

11.  What stood out to you from the program?

12.  If time permits, you will be greatly blessed by listening to this free sermon by Tim Keller on suffering: Click here: http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

What stood out to you from this message?

When I learned that my husband had advanced cancer, I was speaking at a large retreat where Kim Hill was leading worship. Truly, I felt like I was drowning, even when I was speaking, I felt like the words were coming out of my mouth in slow bubbles. After I spoke the retreat coordinator announced Steve’s diagnosis and Kim came up to lead in worship. She led us in “It is Well with my Soul.”  My daughters and I were frozen with grief. Annie was silent. Sally was weeping. I had the fleeting thought I should be a better witness.

13.  Why was the fleeting thought I had a wrong thought?

One of the things we will learn in this ten week study is that God wants honesty from us because He wants intimacy with us.

14.  Why is it impossible to be intimate with someone who is dishonest?

15.  The psalmists often lamented, as their way to hang on to God in the midst of grief. See, for example, Psalm 13. If you are in the midst of high tide grief — write a short lament here.

 

16.  What is your take-a-way this week and why?

UPDATE: Here is the link to the “God of All Comfort, Part 1” on Moody Radio: Link

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.

375 comments

  1. I am having a nagging thought. I was struggling today with this, but here is my thought. Maybe when I am choosing to close up and not be honest with God it is because I am not reflecting on the cost. Jesus made himself vulnerable and died so that I can be honest before Him in a deeply intimate relationship. I was ransomed at a great cost. My heart should melt, and any pretense I might put before Him should drip away.

    Lord remind me to reflect on the cross when I refrain from honesty with you..Lord help me to be honest with you. Lord I need your mercy today. Lord I want to love you like the Psalmists did in their laments.

  2. Hello everyone,

    Thank you for all the warm welcomes to all of us new ladies participating in Dee’s study. I’m sorry I have been silent. My husband and I farm plus work jobs off the farm. We have been trying to harvest our wheat and finish planting beans and life has been crazy.

    I finally had the chance to read over Psalm 18:6-19 and when I read this section I thought of the love I have for our daughter and our grandchildren. If they were in trouble and needed my help, I would move heaven and earth to help them. It dawned on me that this is exactly what God does for us when he hears us cry. He really is our Abba Father. Thinking about it this way helps me to focus on and realize how much God really loves me and cares about what is going on in my life. I think I take this for granted way too much! Cyndi I loved your Little Mermaid clip. I am very much a visual person and this really helped me visualize Psalm 18.

    Hebrews 11:29-31 The three examples are: The Israelites were rescued from the Egyptians when God parted the Red Sea, God made the walls of Jericho fall, and Rahab was spared from the destruction of Jericho through her faith in God when she welcomed and helped the spies.

    I know God rescues me daily, from things I don’t even realize. When I make this statement I think about the Amy Grant song from years ago “Angels Watching Over Me.” I know there are times God rescues and protects me from things that I am completely unaware of. My husband and I went through some great financial difficulties back in the 1980’s. He helped us make our way out of that and helped us save our family farm. Just a few months ago he made a way for us to financially be able to buy back some farm land that been lost to his family several years ago by another family member. We knew it was God who had made this possible. It meant a lot to be able to buy this land back and be able to pass this down someday to our daughter and her children. It makes me think of the story of Boaz and Ruth.

    Hebrews 11: 36-40 A) Many of the early Christians were mocked, stoned, beaten, even beheaded because they refused to stop preaching the Gospel (Stephen comes to my mind and Paul.)

    B) The something better to me is the reminder that we are just pilgrims in this land. Someday, because of my faith in Christ, me and all believers will experience the somthing better. We will be rescued from our sins because of God’s great love and Jesus’ great sacrifice and spend eternity in our true Home.

    C) I think trials really show us a great deal about who we are and what we truly believe (who do we really trust). I heard someone speak recently about James 1:2-4 about how God wants us to be perfect and complete. I know I won’t be on this side of heaven but I know the trials we go through bring us closer to this completeness. The trials grow our faith and mature us. The trials we go through also help us to minister to others. It is only when you walk through a valley that you can really minister to any one else about it.

    D) I lost my mother in 2000 after she battled a long illness. I wasn’t ready to let her go and prayed so hard that God would heal her. My only daughter got married a few months before she died and mom was so ill she couldn’t even go to her wedding. I was angry because God wasn’t healing her and I knew she would be missing so many things that I had wanted to share with her. I grew to realize that I had to give up my will and let God’s will be done. I know what Dee means when she says “Do we love God for who He is or for the stuff He gives us.” I had to let my mom go. I realized God “saved” her in the end but it just wasn’t the way I wanted. I had to accept that my timing for things is not necessarily God’s timing.

  3. Joyce, I appreciate you for requesting prayer for me.
    Thank you for praying dear sisters! I am better. My sister is better. Our machine problems are solved. The two generators that went kaput were replaced! Most of all God is helping me and very near. I love Him for the way He brought me through it all. I feel so thankful and blessed to have been in this study and to be spiritually where I am. I went to sleep singing “It is well.” Through all of it there was such a sweet undercurrent of peace.
    I miss you all and will be back when the fourteen hour days are over. Love you!

    1. Kim, I have to admit I am jealous-in a good way-that you get to be in the presence of Joyce, and that Terry lives there too! I would be trying to plan a get together. They both would be such sweet sisters to be friends with.

      I look forward to the day when we are all together with Jesus. I really believe we will know and see each other then. I don’t think when God weaves us into the tapestry of life here on Earth together that our fellowship here is it. I can’t imagine how sublime it will be experiencing ‘something better’ TOGETHER.

      1. Thank you, rebecca, I hope Kim and Tracy and I can plan a get together and maybe read some words from one of Dee’s books and be able to share…it would be fun! There is also a friend of Dee’s here that follows us and did comment a few studies back, that could join us!

  4. I seen Kim later and she was doing better, but they have a long time yet to be in a semi trailor in this awful heat. (107 today) Please keep her and her sister and their families in your prayers.

    Barb, I wish I was in Alaska this time of year! I dislike the hot weather so bad!!

  5. Good morning! The Sunset is beautiful indeed this morning. Listening to Keller. 🙂

  6. There is so much here. What struck a note with me is this: (Pardon my’crib notes’ 😉 )

    How did Jesus get through his furnace? Hebrews 12-for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross. What was Jesus’ living hope? His living hope wasn’t bliss with his Father.

    (I personalized what Keller said here while I took notes, but this was huge for me.) I am his living hope. The only thing he didn’t have in heaven was me. What He had to come to earth and plunge himself in the fiery furnace for is me. Beautified, unspoiled, unfading, perfect, restored, glorified. Me in his arms. THAT IS WHAT FILLED HIM WITH JOY. That is what filled him with resolve.

    I also LOVED this: Knowing that He thought that I am his living hope will make Him my living hope and I will be able to walk through the furnace with Him.

  7. What stood out to you from the message?

    The richness of Isaiah 43–Again I was reminded that I will go through deep waters and fiery trials, but I will pass through the waters, and the waters won’t sweep over me, nor will the flames burn me or set me ablaze. He, the Lord himself will walk through the trials with me. He was there for me, wanting to carry me through the time of loneliness but because of my fear I chose to look at the flames and I didn’t connect with him in a way that would deepen my faith and build my character.
    Verse 4 goes on to say that we are precious and honored in His sight and he loves us. I have to hang on to that.

    13. Why was the fleeting thought I had a wrong thought?

    Because it was based on what you thought you should do, rather than just being honest and authentic. I have to say, that in being a part of this study, I have struggled with feelings that my loss was so small in relation to the losses of those in this group. As I said in an earlier post, one of my biggest struggles through the years is the sense of shame that I feel whenever I fail or feel like I have failed. So it is here too, when I see the depth of all of your losses, there is this little voice that shames me for “making such a big deal over my losses”. “You should have been mature enough to handle this ”.
    Being a part of a group does give me perspective, and I appreciate that. My heart breaks for you who have suffered and are suffering such deep losses and as I am getting to know each of you and your story, I am committing to pray for you.

    14. Why is it impossible to be intimate with someone who is dishonest?
    Because intimacy is not possible without trust, and dishonesty erodes trust. I wonder too, if our dishonesty with God has to do with not fully trusting that God will hear us and respond to us in a loving way. And of course we might have our definition of what a loving response would be and it may not be God’s definition.

      1. Actually, I am not from Kearney, and don’t know where that is…..:).
        I did read that book by Jerry Sittser– a grace disguised. It was a great book. And I am grateful that this group is for everyone–I tried to go to a grief and loss group at a church and was told it was only for those who lost a loved one through death.

        1. Terry, Kearney is in the low center of Nebraska. But what I wanted to say was, that we got my brother to go to a grief share group and he got alot out of it…and his wife has not died yet, but is given only a few months to live. They welcomed him with open arms. I can’t imagine anyone not welcoming you when you are grieving, no matter what for.

        2. To be fair, I guess i should say that I never actually got the the grief share group, because I asked a staff at church if I could go and she said it was only for those who lost a loved one. If I would have gone to the group, I may have been welcomed, but at that point, I had experienced too much pain in that church, I couldn’t bring myself to risk it.

  8. 8. What stands out to you from the Horatio Spafford story? That he was prepared for tragedy. He prob never imagined losing everything but He was standing on his solid Rock. He was able to be rested in Christ and trust.

    9. What truths can you find in his lyrics that might sustain you in the midst of suffering?That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul. These lyrics…Oh beholding HIM…looking to the cross. Christ has experienced everything we ever will. We enter into His suffering this way.

    10. What water images and rescue images can you find in this hymn? nd Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
    The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
    Even so, it is well with my soul.
    Rescue!! Christ is coming back for us!!

    Listen to the Midday Connection program # 1 online (past programs will be available on Tuesdays) and share what stood out to you.

    11. What stood out to you from the program? I loved the program. It summarizes the book so well. I commented about the program above in my answers on the last page…

  9. 13. Why was the fleeting thought I had a wrong thought? Cuz we are not called to be stone…We are called to fall into His arms and let Him comfort us. We are real and have emotions and feelings.

    One of the things we will learn in this ten week study is that God wants honesty from us because He wants intimacy with us.

    14. Why is it impossible to be intimate with someone who is dishonest? Fakeness never brews intimacy. They just cannot co-exist like fear and faith together. You can have one or the other.

    15. The psalmists often lamented, as their way to hang on to God in the midst of grief. See, for example, Psalm 13. If you are in the midst of high tide grief — write a short lament here.http://refreshmysoulblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/temptation-to-be-hard-and-fake.html Wrote it as a blog post.

      1. Loved it too, Angela

    1. Angela,
      I appreciate what you wrote in your blog. I could have written that blog, but I am not a writer–but my heart has been there. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    2. And I love how you expressed that we are not meant to be stone, we are meant to fall into his arms and let him comfort us.

    3. I am SO GLAD you shared this. IT was so good!!!

  10. It’s interesting to me how “coincidences” occurs sometimes in my life. let me explain….last weekend (on Sunday) I went to a mountain condo with one of my friends. We wanted to watch a movie but didn’t know what to choose. We decided to go to a local mom and pop shop to rent a movie, and the first one I saw that was new to the store was called The King’s Speech.” I didn’t know what the movie was about but I thought it looked interesting so I suggested it. She agreed.

    What a wonderfully acted movie! I won’t give it all away, but the premise is about Queen Elizabeth’s dad (the King of England during WWII) and his difficultly with stuttering. The actor (Colin Firth) did such an incredible job and as I watched the movie I felt like when he stuttered that I was having trouble breathing! I even thought to myself how I felt like I was drowning….If you haven’t seen the movie I highly recommend it to you. I think my husband would really enjoy it too.

    The coincidence? Well, I logged on to this blog Monday (I think) and many of the analogies and writings were about this very feeling when we go through strife in our lives….When I listened to Dee on the radio I loved how she said there is “bad” stuff and then there is “really bad” stuff! How true Dee. When I read the Psalms there is a similar reference or feeling of not being able to control the situation at all. We are called to FROG (as my son would say to me) “Fully Rely On God.” there is NO other way. I don’t understand it all…how life works out, and I guess I’m not supposed to understand it. I have to trust and obey, oh yeah, and breathe through the drowning feeling.

  11. 6. In Hebrews 11:29-31, find three examples of being rescued from circumstances. Share a time when God rescued you from your circumstances.

    1) The Hebrews passed through the Red Sea which God had made it part for them, giving them dry land to pass through; they escaped the pursuing Egyptians.
    2) God gave the Hebrews victory over their enemies when He miraculously made the walls of Jericho fall down.
    3) God preserved the life of Rahab.

    I can think of many ‘little’ rescues, but the biggest one is being rescued from the darkness I was living in when I did not know Him. I didn’t know anything about God or that I was spiritually lost. God initiated His saving love and mercy toward me and first called me. He rescued me from an empty, meaningless life and from an eternity that would have been spent without Him.

    7. Read Hebrews 11:36-40.

    A. Give a few examples from the above of those who were not rescued from circumstances.

    Many believers were imprisoned; many were put to death as martyrs; many lived persecuted lives; many were poor.

    B. And yet they WERE rescued. What promise is given in Hebrews 11:40? What is the “something better”?

    The promise of an ultimate rescue with the something better being Jesus Christ, the One who can ultimately save us through His death on the Cross. We will be saved from sin and death and be with Him in heaven forever.

    C. How can their trust in the midst of suffering help to make us “perfect” or mature?

    Their trust gives us an example of persevering through suffering; it encourages us to hold on and hope for what we know God has waiting for us in heaven.

    D. Share a time when God did not rescue you from your earthly circumstances, but gave you hope that one day things would be made right.

    It’s still hard for me to accept that many people have drug and alcohol addictions but are then saved and completely turned around but my nephew was not and instead he died from a drug overdose. I can only cling to the hope that, because he accepted Jesus as a young boy, he is in heaven now and one day I will see him again and he will no longer be the hurting, depressed, struggling young man he was at the end of his life. I long to see him happy with his dad, who also battled addictions and died 17 months before his son from a fall. God gave me this: 2 weeks before my brother-in-law died I got to see him baptized at church and I was able to tell my niece and nephew all about it. They weren’t there because my sister had divorced their dad. I almost went home after the first service that day and felt convicted to stay for the 2nd service; I would’ve missed it.

      1. Thank you, Dee.
        Praying for you, too, this morning. You’ve suffered your own loss with Steve’s death, yet you willingly bear our burdens, too.

  12. 16. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

    Three things. One thing on Midday connection was when Dee mentioned it is wise for one to prepare who hasn’t gone through high tide grief yet. I know when it happens I will grieve, but I want to be prepared.

    The other thing that stuck with me is what I mentioned above about honesty before the Lord.

    Third, Was Keller’s Sermon where He said that Jesus’ joy that was set before Him was my redemption. The only thing Jesus didn’t have was me so He went to the cross.

    OH MY..A song just popped in my head, a song I sang back in the late 1980’s early 90’s. I just found the best acappela version on you tube. The lyrics aren’t deep, pretty simple, but anyway, here it is. It is called, “How could you say no to this man”:
    http://youtu.be/I-tm3UQMVEA

  13. 8. What stands out to you from the Horatio Spafford story?

    When he was on the ship at the location where the other ship sank, drowning his daughters, and Spafford said that the darker it got, all of a sudden the light of God’s promises began to shine in his heart. I can only imagine, as Spafford looked into the depths of that ocean, the horrible darkness and despair that must have engulfed him. God came running to the rescue with the “all of a sudden the light of God’s promises began to shine in his heart”. Only God could dispel such darkness.

    9. What truths can you find in his lyrics that might sustain you in the midst of suffering?

    Through trials and attacks of Satan, I must cling to the assurance of the Cross; that Jesus does take notice of my helplessness; first, for being unable to save myself, and so He died for me; but he doesn’t just stop after that. He will be there for me throughout my whole life.
    It is interesting to me that as the Lord “gave” these lyrics to Spafford at this moment in his life, the focus of this hymn is not so much even being reunited with our loved ones but the centrality of the Cross. It takes me back to Keller’s sermon about the Centrality of the Gospel and that we see everything in life through the grid of the gospel.

    10. What water images and rescue images can you find in this hymn?

    Peace being like a flowing river; sorrows like sea billows – a roiling, stormy sea; Satan can buffet us like strong waves.
    Rescue comes when Jesus takes note we are drowning and comes to shed His own blood to save us; the final day when the clouds are rolled back and He will descend; our sin being nailed to the cross and it’s awful burden is taken away!

  14. Listening today to Keller’s sermon…
    How much suffering would cosmic suffering be…Oh how any deep level of pain to me is a paper cut comparatively. How Christ loved us so much to suffer that as an innocent person.

    “No matter how hot it is for you. He is walking right beside you.” Keller – like that.

    interesting word usage how angels obsessively look into gospel.

    Love how he said too how Jesus endured…for the joy set before Him. His living hope. Like we have a living hope. Is. 53 The results of His suffering He will see and be satisfied…WOW! That is good. We are His living hope…This makes me want to please Him even more but also receive that pricey grace when I do not and confess to Him. That thought I am His living hope does make me His living hope. WOW! Great stuff.

  15. 16. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

    1. that satan tries to take our pain and cause attachment disorder between me and the Lord. That picture was so real for me, and recognizing the problem is the first step to working through it. I need to draw near to him tell him the truth and fall into his arms and let him comfort me.

    2. I need to continually combat the lies that satan throws at me with the truth. It isn’t enough to know the truth, I have to speak the truth, like Jesus did when he was tempted in the desert.

  16. Hi all,
    I haven’t posted in a few days, just have been a little downcast, but I’ve enjoyed others’ posts, and have been praying for each of you. I had put off listening to the sermon because honestly, I’ve been depressed and didn’t really want to hear about suffering, as much as I love Keller…but of course, it was just what I needed!

    My thoughts:
    When in the midst of suffering, look back to the Cross. The cross doesn’t give us an answer to the “why” of suffering, but it does tell us what it CANNOT mean. Suffering cannot mean that Jesus just doesn’t care or doesn’t love us–the Cross proves that.
    Look ahead to the hope, our inheritance with Him, in Heaven. And Look into the Gospel, never tire of it. He went through the ultimate fiery furnace FOR me, I can be assured He is in my furnace WITH me. And not only that, not only am I not alone, but my Lord feels my ache, He has empathy, compassion, tenderness towards me. He is not somehow above the pain, He endures WITH me.
    And all the suffering and pain is swallowed up by victory–He is risen! I AM His Living Hope–and He is mine!

    I’ve thought a lot lately about the loss of my grandmother, just before my dad. She was the truest example of unconditional love I ever experienced as a child. I can’t write much more, even after all the years, that loss is still excrutiating, and yet–to know He has victory over death–to know as a fact this is not “it”, to know He is with me, in this and doesn’t expect me to be strong or plaster a fake happy face all the time, He just loves, He understands, He gets it…it’s an amazing profound truth, this faith we share.

    1. Elizabeth, I prayed for you this morning. I can so relate! You are an incredible mentor/encourager here, and especially so to me. I see you drawing closer in to Jesus and Satan doesn’t want this so I think it is possible satan is attacking you. Will keep praying.

  17. Elizabeth, I get down and depressed too. Don’t feel like you have to keep a happy face all the time. Just come on here and we can share your feelings and pray. I will pray for you.

    1. Thank you Rebecca, Dee, and Joyce–thank you all so much. I am thankful for this Lord’s day, the light feels stronger and the clouds much less, so thankful for this place of fellowship.

  18. Everyone’s answer’s were so great, I’m going to kinda skip around alittle…besides I waited too late.

    6. In Hebrews 11:29-31, find three examples of being rescued from circumstances. Share a time when God rescued you from your circumstances.
    By Faith in all three examples.
    God rescued me from an abusive marriage, from 17, for 10 years. I divorced him, after he nearly killed me. I remarried and prayed for a baby girl that I could name Kyla Faith and he provided her for me, when I was 29 years old! She will be 33 this month! He gave me a son then, now 30 and Kendra 24. I didn’t think I would be able to have any kids, for years.

    B. And yet they WERE rescued. What promise is given in Hebrews 11:40? What is the “something better?”
    C. How can their trust in the midst of suffering help to make us “perfect” or mature?
    The “Something Better” God promises us “In the midst of suffering” is growing closer to him and becoming more like Jesus, maturing in the Lord and saving us from that horrible drowning feeling. (helpless, like a baby) And the most important thing, is God’s promise that we will be with him and our loved ones, for all eternity.

    D. Share a time when God did not rescue you from your earthly circumstances, but gave you hope that one day things would be made right.
    Then after 10 years of a good(I thought) marriage, he left me when Kendra was born, seizuring in the hospital, with Cerebral Palsy, I felt like God abandoned me, because he did not rescue me from my pain and sorrow of losing my husband, to someone else, and not making my baby perfect. That was when I felt like I was drowning. Helpless as a baby, with a new “special needs” baby and two other little ones, at my side. I felt frozen too, like I couldn’t even move. If it hadn’t been for my mom and people like Dee, I just couldn’t do anything but sit and rock Kendra and nurse her. I dropped 50 lbs in a month. I was numb. Mom took over and done everything for me, so I could just rock and rock and think and cry and pray. I thought my life was over.
    Then, slowly, God began to put hope in my life, that things would get better.

    8. What stands out to you from the Horatio Spafford story?
    Horatio said, “I am glad to trust the Lord when it will cost something.” He said this when he was in so much pain, “Clinging desperatly to his faith in God.” It took alot of pain in my life to turn to God in desperation, but I
    can’t even imagine the horrific pain he was in…the worst possible, losing your children. God loved ME enough to break me down to where I clung desperatly to him, too. I’m so thankful he love me that much, to give me trials in my life to make me more like him. I am a work in progress,always!
    “Sorrow became Hope” for Stafford as he felt “strengthened by the assurance that one day he will be reunited with his children in heaven”. Wow, that is so awesome!

    9. What truths can you find in his lyrics that might sustain you in the midst of suffering?
    The last sentance says it all for me….
    “And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
    The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
    Even so, it is well with my soul”.

    10. What water images and rescue images can you find in this hymn?
    “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll”.

    11. What stood out to you from the program? (Midday Connection #1
    When Dee said something like this, “I could hardly bear to sing “It is Well with my Soul”, when Horatio, in so much grief, WROTE those words!”

    And I liked Sally’s discrition of Satan and what we can do to defeat the lies.
    It was so good to hear the both of you together, Dee and Sally. Hope you can speak together again…you compliment each other!

    12. I’m still listening and comtemplating Keller’s message. It is so good, I want to eat it up.

    weeping. I had the fleeting thought I should be a better witness.

    13. Why was the fleeting thought I had a wrong thought?
    When you got the news of Steve’s diagnois and your two daughter’s were in shock and crying and everyone started singing that song…how could you possibly be a better witness when your were in shock and grieving too? You were probly trying to be brave and protect your daughter’s….mother’s instinct.

    14. Why is it impossible to be intimate with someone who is dishonest?
    When someone lies or cheats on you, or hides things from you in a marriage or a friendship, you can not trust them anymore. That is why you, Chris S. are one of a kind. Talk about forgiving! I could not do it. By the way, how is Brian’s mother doing?

    16. What is your take-a-way this week and why?
    God is always there, even if he doesn’t answer your prayer like you think he should. And he rescues us, and even in the worst suffering, we grow closer to him and we become more intimate with him. He saves us from that awful drowning or frozen feelings and gives us “HOPE”.

    Can’t wait untill the next lesson in the morning, I will try to answer soon er next time. Thank you so much, Dee!

    1. Your story just humbles and amazes me Joyce. It quiets my soul because from my perspective I read what you wrote in #10 above, and I just cannot imagine the pain–and yet to know you as I do here–it is such a testimony of how He carried you through and has used it all to reflect His light in you. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Too late to edit…between 12 and 13.

  20. I want you all to know that I a limping along in this study.

    Thank you Joyce for asking about Brian’s mom, she passed away on Friday. Brian is very quiet, not talking to anyone about his feelings. I understand that.

    One of his older sisters began an online dialogue with a pastor who is a friend of my husband who has a nontraditional but gospel based church after Daniel died. The whole family is planning to go to that church this morning. My husband is going too. I have to work. I am so sorry for them all. Her mom has lost 2 of her 3 children. They have all lived such chaotic lives. Pray for my husband, that he will be a light to them, some of them are angry they have such hurts and so many questions.

    I am too far behind to answer all of the study questions. I am working more hours at work as a couple of the girls are on vacation but I have been following along, I find it hard to write my responses. I listened to the Midday program and the Keller sermon, which interestingly, I had already listened to more than once, I had it bookmarked in my favorites.

    From the Midday program:
    First I want to join the chorus of gratitude to you Dee for being willing to be honest and to lay open your struggles, you are building up the body.

    I appreciated that you shared your inability to enter into worship. I think it was 6 months before I could do anything but weep during singing at church.

    I am going to TRY to begin spending time in Psalms every day.

    Dees thought about being a better witness resonated with me, I have worried too much about how other perceive me processing my grief.

    It is okay to lament… In my rush to be “okay” I have tried to stop, to not take in the horror of it all, to tell myself that Daniel has gone ahead to heaven and I should just stop feeling so very bad, that doesn’t work, I am changed by this loss.

    I really identified with the attachment disorder description, I feel to a certain degree, unable to be comforted. I question me, my ability to be trusted not really the goodness of God or think I don’t trust Him, but the result is the same…distance

    The verses that say that trials are allowed in our lives to refine our character make me think my character must really need to be overhauled, it sickens me really.

    That the fight is to trust God

    We used “Blessed Be Your Name” as one of the songs during the slideshow at Daniels service. He gave him to us and he was a good and perfect gift.

    From the Keller sermon:

    Especially meaningful to me was his nightmare story that the loss of his family in his nightmare intensified to wonder of having them.
    Everything sad and horrible will be brought up into our future glory and resurrection and make it infinity better than it would have been if we had never had them.
    Everything sad will come untrue
    I do wish though, that I could better follow how he draws this from the text.

    As I listened to the part of the sermon about the suffering of Christ, I thought of a message I heard from Michael Easley where he was speaking to his congregation, he said that he would undoubtedly be willing to die for his wife or his children, that there were some in the congregation for whom he might be persuaded to die, but that he would never ever give his son for any of them. This impacted me when I heard it years ago, but has even deeper meaning to me now.

    When Keller said that “you are his living hope “I had an almost visceral reaction, I said no, no no out loud, I felt/feel very distraught. I am not sure what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to take this in.

    I am still struggling with prayer. I think my attachment disorder extends to my husband as well as to God, I tend to build walls and isolate, preferring solitude to intimacy with possible rejection.

    I am seeking to be honest with God that I am confused and that I know my thinking is flawed, I need Him to change me.

    I know this is all over the place, sorry, wept a lot trying to get it out. Thank you everyone for your compassion to me

    1. Continuing to pray for you Chris, so thankful you are here, so faithfully staying with Him.

    2. Oh Chris, my heart aches for you. I’m praying for you.

  21. Just this morning managed to walk through the study questions and listen to the message on 1 Peter 1:3-12. I listened to Dee’s message earlier in the week. I will try to reference which question I’m referring to, but I won’t be tackling all of them here, just the ones I am able to share. This study has taken great emotional energy, since I have so recently lost my husband. I am thankful for it, and for the fact that God is walking me through.

    10. It is Well With My Soul – This song touched my heart in the last months of my husband’s life. I had struggled so much with anxiety and fear of losing Bob that at times I was afraid to read God’s word, as I knew it would bring me to tears. There was never any question of “if” concerning his death, only “when” and “how” as the kidney cancer was incurable. A few months before he died, I heard this song again, and clung to the message that God’s peace is available amongst earthly turmoil. I still cling to this song today, making a distinction between “it is well with my soul” and “I’m handling daily life okay”. I am comforted by God’s peace in my soul, even though I am struggling with the waves of grief daily and the tasks and decisions that come with losing a spouse.

    13. Dee’s comment about being a better witness, along with the question about the relationship between honesty and intimacy – From the moment of the cancer diagnosis, my prayer has always been that God be glorified somehow through this. It is difficult to be a witness through rough times, yet I think now that what God asks of us is to be honest, to allow others to see the human struggle we have and at the same time, to see any reliance we have on His power.

    15. My lament. How long, O Lord? It was three years of struggle from the cancer diagnosis to Bob’s death. I was unaware of the struggles I would encounter after he died. Maybe you protected me from that reality, as I had enough to handle at the time. But how long, O Lord? When will I get back to living? Yet I don’t want to complain as I know that you are near, especially as I struggle, that I am the student of your love right now. And you have allowed me to be witness to your glory as Bob was dying. I just pray that you will use this all for your glory.

    16. My take-away. God has left us with his Holy Spirit to protect us in the fire. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach us of God’s character, to interpret God’s spirit and word. I must rely on God’s strength, the Holy Spirit, and God’s promises through trial.

    1. Karen, God is being glorified through your post. There is so much here that is so meaningful to me even though I haven’t gone through it. It kind of reminds me of Dee’s testimony and how it touched me. Thank you so much for posting.

    2. Karen I too have recently lost my husband. I will be praying for you. I can so understand how you can see the difference between “It is well with my soul” and i am surviving. I cannot say it is well with my soul and some moments I am more drowning than surviving. I had just 23 days and even then i was not prepared, because the doctor’s never indicated my husband was not going to survive. He had a routine surgical procedure that went very wrong. I understand how you feel about struggling with the day to day things. I am open about my daily struggle, but i think it is difficult for others to accept that losing a spouse can be a long journey. I am praying daily for the strength to hold on to God’s word in the middle of this fire storm. I admit there are days when I just give in to the raw pain. Thank you for sharing your feelings and struggles. You give me hope in this journey.

  22. Thank God for His word that is life changing and Thank God for women who allow the spirit to work through them to teach us all. Gratefully Patti

  23. A friend suggested that I check out this website and this study intrigued me. My husband died unexpectedly March 25 of this year of a heart attack. There were no warning signs and no time to prepare. He was 39 and we have two boys ages 6 and 8. I knew someday I would be a widow, but not at 39. I was really confused as to why it happened. We were both being called into missions and serving the Lord faithfully. I loved being his wife and I miss him immensely. He was a great dad.

    The Lord continues to speak to me through His word which has become more alive than it ever was before. I know He has a purpose and a plan for our family and we will continue to serve and worship Him while we wait to be called home ourselves.

    Psalm 39 is one that continues to keep me focused when I begin to despair…”O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all makind stands as a mere breath!” (vv 4-5)

    Also, a phrase from Elisabeth Elliott…”Just do the next thing.” I cannot plan out my life I just need to be available for the LORD and listen to His leading.

    I have always been a planner and list maker. I realize now that the Scripture is true that “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

    The day Steve died we had gone to get the boys’ passports. A couple of weeks later my passport arrived in the mail and it had been issued on March 25th. I remember crying out, “why! We were going to share You through the world.” And it was like the Lord said to me (no audible voice just in my spirit) I can still use you.

    So the boys and I are going to serve refugees from the Middle East and North Africa in Greece next month. The Lord had put North Africa and Middle East on my heart a year ago and I wanted to serve the people there and this opportunity arised. Praise the LORD, for He is good!

    That is probably more information that you wanted but it is who I am now.

    From Psalm 18 I draw great comfort from v19…because He delighted in me. Thank you Lord for always being there for me and drawing me out of the waters of despair when I call out to You.

    I could recount many times the Lord rescued me. Some happened before I even knew Him. I can see His sovereignty at work preserving me from my poor choices. Then after I was saved but not walking with Him…He continued to be faithful and protected me.

    I know that the Lord has been preparing me for this time. Steve and I did not always live for the LORD, but the last 8 years (we were together 19 and married 13)we both began to truly live out our faith. We were rescued from our sinful states and Steve has been rescued from this sinful world. He is enjoying communion with our LORD. I still miss him and want him back with me and our boys but I cannot dwell there.

    Elisabeth Elliott wrote how when she thought of her husband Jim dying so young she found comfort knowing that he would never experience pain of old age, his body failing. That thought has given me some comfort. Steve was a very active healthy man. His heart attack was caused by genetic heart disease that was never detected. So he lived a full and active life here. I called him monkey man because he could climb anything. : )

    I like the hymn writer above have to remind myself that it is well with my soul…though trials come and they will we are told to expect suffering …that I have a hope in what comes later. My hope is in Jesus and what He did for me and the world on the cross. And the cross was not the end of the story. His resurrection is where our hope is found. I will see Steve again and when I do I will be seeing Jesus too.

    I have told our boys that maybe Daddy will get to introduce us to Jesus…wouldn’t that be awesome.

    Thank you for this opportunity to share.

    1. Hi Barb! I see you found it. I love reading your comments. God is so evident in your comments. I am going to do the study, too. It will be a challenge for me because I am not very patient about sitting down at the computer when I’ve had to be on it all day at work! God challenged me this morning through Psalm 16. With God’s help I am going to memorize verses 5-11. May God continually give you strength in the days to come, dear sister.

  24. Barb,

    Welcome! I read your post via this week’s bible study. My heart is heavy with your suffering at this time. Know that you are welcome here and we are so glad you came.

  25. Hey everyone!
    I am sorry that I have not been on in the past weeks. Not to make excuses, but I was just so busy with my internship at the hospital and without internet at home that it made it difficult for me. Today we got our internet hooked up though, whoo hoo!! I apologize, but I am back now and ready for revelation! I look over all your comments to one another and I see such love and acceptance here. Thank you all for that!

  26. I am joining the study because I heard Dee on Midday Connection and was really blessed. I have had a difficult year with my adult special needs daughter and could use the encouragement.

  27. I just finished this Bible Study. All I can say is WOW! It is so amazing
    how God touched my life when I thought I was dead. I wanted to die. But
    through this study God touched my life and restored the joy,hope and peace
    that I thought I would never feel again! Please, if you are hurting and
    you need comfort, do this study and be ready to meet Jesus!!

  28. I’m joining this study because I feel like I’m dying inside and am in need of comfort peace joy ect. Ive Been trying to deal with my husbands affairs all though the years of our marriage was the worst and I just cant get over or deal with it. This storm is so overwhelming and no matter how hard I try I cant find any peace or comfort in it I’m hoping that through this study I will

    1. Pam, this is not the current study. This link should take you to it. http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/2012/07/surviving-when-your-worst-fear-becomes-a-reality-two-weeks/ It changes every week, sometimes every 2 weeks. The current study is always at the top of the blog portion of Dee’s web page.

    2. I am sorry for all that you are going through. I think I can speak for all of the women on the blog and say that we will support you in prayer and encouragement. We would love for you to join us. There is peace and comfort in the Lord and we are finding Him as we study.