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QUIETING OUR SOULS

OUR SOULS CAN BE LIKE FRETFUL BABIES

Last week was exciting with so many new sisters! I’m praying for every single one of you, that God will meet you. I am also so thankful for each familiar friend still with us. I myself have been amazed that we are experiencing God in a place like this, but we are! If you have just begun, you are not too late. I know it is a busy vacation week, so I’ve shortened the homework.

The story I must tell you in this post I’ve told before, but I must tell it again for it was pivotal in my journey — but I’ll try to add a few fresh breezes.

THE SECOND YEAR

They say the second year after a catastrophic loss is often the hardest because the denial is gone. My denial after my husband’s death was so strong the first year that when Dr. Dobson interviewed me I told him I didn’t think denial was a real phenomenon. (I was in denial about denial, and they wisely edited that remark out of the program.) It wasn’t until I went for Christian counseling that my denial was unmasked. Truly, in my heart of hearts, I had not accepted that Steve was not coming back.

When denial fades, when you realize: “This situation — this death, this divorce, this infertility….is not going to change,” the pain can be engulfing. That’s what happened to Joan Didion after her husband’s sudden death and she describes her year of denial as The Year of Magical Thinking. She refused to write an obituary, because then people might think he was really dead. She refused to give away his clothes — for what would he wear when he came back? Denial, as crazy as it sounds, is real, God’s way, I believe, of buffering us until we are stronger. But by the second year, the magical thinking is gone. It is then that our souls can go wild, like fretful babies.

I remember the day  my soul went wild with grief. I was packing up to leave a house I did not want to leave. All day long I kept coming across things that made Steve’s absence feel so sharp: a white surgery coat with SGB on the pocket that he’d never wear again; his hymnal with turned down pages; a scribbled sticky note I’d kept in his dear familiar hand of things he wanted to tell the children [before he died]. He wanted to tell J. R. he was proud of him, Sally her financial debt was forgiven, John to spend more time with his children…

By the time I got into bed that night, I curled up in a fetal position and sobbed. I wanted Steve to comfort me as he had so many times in the past. I remembered how, when I was plagued with  insomnia, he would put his arms around me and begin to quote a nursery rhyme.

Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…

Though I had yet to study the lament in depth, I spontaneously lamented:

Lord, You promised to be a husband to the widow!

I need a husband right now!

I felt no evidence of God’s presence. Instead, I felt anger, despair…and so I asked God Almighty:

How can I connect with Someone who is not flesh and blood?

I don’t sense Your presence at all. Have you abandoned me?

THE MEMORY

At that moment I had a memory — all the way back to when I was twenty-one and a new mother. Our baby boy had colic, and cried, it seemed, all the time. My job was to make sure Steve, a first year medical student, got his sleep. So at the first cry in the middle of the night, I would run, unbuttoning my nightgown as I ran. I would take that little squalling bundle and put him to my breast, but he would not nurse. He would flail his arms and scream until his face was red. When I would stroke his little cheek to try to get him to turn toward me, he would turn the other way, and wail.

Finally, finally — he would find me, latch on, and nurse. His eyes would go to half-mast. And I would sigh: What was all that about? I was right here all the time.

THE DIALOGUE — COMING TO ME LIKE THE SPRING RAIN

And then I knew, the Lord was saying to me: Dee, what is all this about? I have been right here all the time.

The next morning, as is my habit, I turned to the psalms for prayer, and the psalm I “happened” to be on was Psalm 131. Amy Shreve sings it, and you can hear her sing part of it by clicking here:

      http://amyshreve.com/1%20mp3%27s%20TGOAC/Sample%20Psalm%20131.mp3

(This CD is available in The God of All Comfort Studyguide. The studyguide is different from the book in that it studies the lyrics of the songs, whereas the book is a study about how to get through grief.)

ICEBREAKERS:

A. Have you ever looked back on your life at a time when you felt Jesus was not with you, but now, you can see evidences that He was? Share a sentence about it.

B. Listen to Amy’s song above, which is almost like a lullaby to the soul. What impressions do you have? What stands out to you?

I knew the Lord was speaking to me when I read Psalm 131.  One of the secrets I have discovered concerning intimacy with the Lord is to slow down when a passage “quickens” you, brings something in you to life. But before I tell you how the Lord spoke to me, I’d like you to look at this psalm, and dig out some truths for yourself.

BIBLE STUDY:

READ PSALM 131

1. In verse 1, David, in speaking directly to the Lord, talk about what he will not do, referring to his heart, his eyes, and his mind. What are they?

2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: For those of you who have been through our study on idolatry, what do you think David is saying? (The contrast of verse 3 may help.)

3. What does David say he has done in verse 2?

4. ANOTHER CHALLENGE QUESTION: What do you know about “weaning” a child? (In biblical days children nursed longer, and weaning was traumatic, but finally, they were at peace without the mother’s breast — without what they thought they had to have. How might you apply this to your life?

When I read this psalm, I did not understand verse 1, until I went to a cross-reference in the end of Job, when Job responds, very similarly to David in Psalm 131:1, to hundreds of questions the Lord has directed to him. Job has suffered intensely, and has been asking, all through the book, for an audience with God so he can question God. God finally comes to Job out of a whirlwind.

5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3?

6. Consider just a few of the questions God asks of Job.

A. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:12-13 and write down what God asks Job. Also, because this is amazing poetry, slow down, and write down your contemplations. (Even secular critics agree this is some of the best poetry every written.)

B. Reflect on the following video, Job 39:19-25 and write down what God asks of Job. Contemplations?

C. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:36 and write down what God asks Job. Contemplations?

7. Read Job’s response in Job 42:1-6

A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2?

B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2?

C. What does Job say in verse 3?

D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2. How does this parallel shed light on the psalm? What is the psalmist saying?

E. What does Job say in Job 42:5. What does this mean?

F. What does Job do in Job 42:6?

In a discussion on suffering that Tim Keller has with six articulate unbelievers on his video, The Reason for God, Keller talks about how when a parent restricts a six-year-old, that child may be very angry and not understand why he is not allowed to do something, though it is very wise on the parent’s part. Keller asks, “Is it possible we are all six-year-olds when it comes to understanding the purposes of God?”

LISTENING TO THE PROGRAM

PLEASE LISTEN TO THE CORRESPONDING GOD OF ALL COMFORT PROGRAM ON MOODY — YOU CAN LISTEN LIVE AT NOON CENTRAL TIME MONDAY, OR LISTEN ONLINE. HERE IS THE LINK:

http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection.aspx

8. What stood out to you from the program?

Michael Card was interviewed on this program. Listen to his song, “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” — here it is from YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TciR2ITXbaY

9. What stood out to you from Michael Card’s song?

LISTENING TO KELLER ON SUFFERING

This is last week’s sermon, but if you didn’t listen yet, please do.  It’s free.

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

10. What did you learn from the program?

I am going to be recommending Keller’s messages on Job, but they are not free. They are 2.50 per MP-3, or a little less if you buy the series. They helped me so much in my grief. The money goes to ministries of Redeemer and they are very involved in helping the homeless and the poor in New York City. I listened to each of them at least three times, so if you want to get started, here’s the link: Click Here

11. What is your take-a-way from this week? Did God meet you in any way? If so, how?

UPDATE: Here is the link to the “God of All Comfort, Part 2” on Moody Radio: Link

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306 comments

  1. Listening to Moody program now..We are in denial of going into suffering…I downloaded and bought those Keller cd’s. Oh I am feeling myself fall out of remission. I am becoming weaker and tired. It is so sad to me but I think I am more prepared this time around. I know these will be a great help. When I say remission it is something like MS. It started with Lyme disease and now no one knows what is wrong. I have seasons of this. This will be my 3rd or 4th period of this if it goes on full blown. I am in a period of lament. Also listening to The Healing Place by Joni Earkson Tada. Really good stuff too.

    Dee I just love your voice…The grace and gentleness in it. 🙂 So easy to listen too.

    Accept the mystery of suffering…I like that. ha ha love the 6 yo example to the astronaut.
    Job is such a good book.

    1. oh Angela, I am praying for miraculous healing–I am so sorry you have this to bear, but am thankful too for how He has prepared you on this journey.

      1. Thanks Elizabeth.

        1. How are you feeling Angela?

        2. Really bad physically but God is getting me through it. So spiritually strong. I am in much pain. I am fasting pain meds (Ibuprofen, aspirin, etc) this week though. I really want to see how bad this really is and gets. Endurance is hard. I usually just take something for pain and move on. I really want an accurate report for the doc. We will see. God is showing me some stuff in this. Thanks for asking and your prayers.

    2. Angela, how did I not know about your health problems? I am going to put in extra, heavy duty, prayer time, just for YOU. Love you, sister.

      1. Thank you so much sweet Joyce. I just love how much of a prayer warrior you are. Maybe if I am forced to be still I will be like that too. 🙂

      1. Thanks so much Dee. Yes it is the Job series! They will be timely I am sure.

      2. I pray this also, in Jesus name.

  2. Psalm 131
    Q1 – I think Davis is saying he is humble and not full of himself; maybe he is saying this as a way of acknowledging God’s control and David’s inability to deal with things.

    Q3 David’s soul is at peace, like a weaned child who has had to adjust to a major change, so is David who has had to accept that God and only God is in control

    Q4 – I vividly remember weaning our children. It was both a sweet and a sad time. Sitting in my chair alone with the babies was such a special and intimate time. It was a relief to be able to sleep through the night (our son woke up every two hours to nurse, I was like a zombie), and a time of sadness to see such a precious time come to an end..

    Weaning a child does bring about a change for mother and child, but when it is a gradual process both can deal with the change and learn to love the next phase of their relationship. In Psalm 131 David seems to say he has been through trials, but has learned to give them to God and then rest. It is one thing to have time to be weaned and come to accept the process and the end result. It is quite another thing to be suddenly forced into the weaning stage. Losing my husband was not a weaning, it is a traumatic experience I never saw coming. I feel like I was walked to the edge of a cliff and then kicked off without any warning. I suddenly found myself in the bottom of a dark hole that I am forced daily to try to crawl my way out of. I would love to one day be like David and be able to still and quiet my anguished spirit. I think David is also saying his soul is quieted, because he does not concern himself with things too great for him to understand. I too need to be able to accept God’s will, especially when I don’t like it and don’t understand the “Why”

    1. Silverlene, My heart aches for you. I will pray that one day, you will be like David, and be able to be still and quiet your anquished spirit and soul. Praying for you…always.

      1. I am glad to know Dee that ‘still you need it quiet your soul’. I often feel I should be doing grief better somehow than I am.
        To know that you still have to work at it sometimes helps me to feel a little less like I am failing.

        1. Oh dear Chris, I just ached reading this–the feeling that you should somehow be “doing grief better”. I pray that lie will leave you. I am so thankful God gave you Dee and the gift of this study. When my dad died, I remember 4 months later a very close friend getting angry with me for not being able to go on our church’s women’s retreat/. I was on staff, and it was expected for me to be there, but I couldn’t stomach the idea of being away from home, my emotions still so raw and wounded. I know all of our stories differ, and I only share that snip of mine if in some way you can feel comfort of true empathy. He is with you in the wilderness, and expects nothing of you–He just loves.
          praying for you daily~

        2. Thank you Elizabeth. I struggle with feeling if I could be more focused on Eternity that I wouldn’t feel so awful now. I know that it is okay to be sad and to grieve, but have a hard time allowing it, I don’t really know if I even know whats going on inside my head and my heart, I sort of feel carried along by a tide.

        3. Chris, You echo my feelings so well and you express it so eloquently, you should be a poet. I pray for you all of the time.

        4. Oh Dawn…thank you, I was pretty sure I made no sense at all. It is good to know others are on the path too, though I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to be.
          Thank you for praying for me.

  3. I am so sorry not to comment more but I just can’t keep up. I want read everyone’s answers and also to answer myself because the questions are so rich. I just can’t seem to do both. Sometimes I have time but most times not.

    5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3? At first I thought that God might not be speaking to Job but to his friends for they did speak ignorant words. But I think that God just did not speak to them at all. God favored Job in that He spoke to him and compared to God’s wisdom his words were ignorant. God gives Job the opportunity to reveal his wisdom by instructing Him. It makes me shiver to realize that I have had the same audacity. On the other hand, God’s infinite mercy is showcased as I read the remaining chapters.

    6A. God asks Job if he can cleanse the earth. Can he cause the sun to rise or shake the wicked out of the earth? Equally impossible feats for a man.

    B. God asks Job if he can create a horse which of course he can’t. The magnificence of horses is perfectly described in these verses. They are strong and agile with muscles moving in perfect symmetry, manes dancing as they run. That only describes their physical beauty. They have noble warrior hearts. I will never forget the descriptions of war horses in The Twilight of Courage. These verses describe them in rich poetry. I never understood what noble creatures they are until I read that book.

    C. God asks Job if he understands how the hawk is able to fly without moving its wings. Spreading its wings to the south is a hint but he could not have understood about warm air loft. This is just another example of the symbiosis of God’s creation. It all works together magnificently. Warm air rises and hawks have the wings that can ride it.

      1. Dee, I believe the movie you are thinking of is Secretariat.

    1. I think a lot of us are in the same boat, would love to reply more, but need to make sure we have the time to do our lesson and at least read and ponder what the others are saying. I want to say again how blessed I feel to be a part of this group. I get so much from reading each of your posts and pray throughout the days for those that God brings to my mind. I think I need to start a log, so I can remember each of you and your specific needs.

  4. Dee I especially love your vulnerability in sharing that prayer journal. Authenticity also aids in healing. It is so important to be prepared for the storm. Indelible Grace is another blessing I got to download today for joining something. So excited to check them out!

  5. 7A. Job repeats God’s statement that he is ignorant. He knows that it is true.

    B. In my pain and loss I can remember that there is so much I do not understand. I can remind myself that the same God of creation also holds my circumstances in His capable hands.

    C.In verse 3 Job realizes that he spoke about things he did not understand.

    D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2. How does this parallel shed light on the psalm? What is the psalmist saying? In comparison to God’s attributes we are like a child of 3 in his mother’s lap. We have had our tantrum over her refusal to nurse us and submitted to her wisdom. Not because we understand but because we admit that she is stronger and knows best.

    E. In Job 42:5 Job says that he had heard rumors about God but now his eyes had seen Him. I think that Job is admitting that he had a head knowledge of God but that now his heart knows who God is, to him personally.

    F. In 42:6 Job repents. This is precious in God’s sight I think.

    11. I have a take away that I would like to share. Hopefully I will have more when I get to #11 but I was struck by this yesterday and now what I am studying brings it to mind. I realize a take away from the last year. I think the rubber of the repentance faith cycle is finally meeting the road for me. I told my husband the yesterday that I have come to see that the Christian life is all about repentance. I have to do it repeatedly and the awesome thing is that this pleases God. As soon as the words left my mouth I realized they were huge. They symbolized great growth for me. I have taken a step out from behind my idols and owned my own imperfection. The gospel is such an awesome thing!

    1. That’s wonderful, Anne!

    2. That is so wonderful, Anne…that takes so much courage!

      1. Anne,
        I am right there with you regarding wishing I could do better job of commenting on everyones posts. It seems such a battle to write my own.

        Your statement that you have “owned my imperfection”…hit me where I need to change I think. I am so tormented by thoughts of how I do not measure up.

        Blessings to you

        1. Chris, I feel the same way alot, about “how I do not measure up”. And the feeling of being inedquate, here. But I know God wants me to just be me and answer the best I know how. I get so much out of the study questions, even if I don’t get time to post them. It’s okay…just be yourself and do the best you can.

        2. Chris, you are speaking my words here:”I am so tormented by thoughts of how I do not measure up.” This is me exactly for the last few years. I was tormented until I began to suspect that God was allowing me to fail. Or perhaps He was allowing me to see my failure as I had never seen it before. In time I found this study and healing began. That reminds me of a song http://youtu.be/LartL77Nuqs The thing that I think He wants us to understand is that because of the gospel we don’t have to measure up. He wants us to be just who we are and that is how He loves us. I pray for you Chris that you will know how much He loves you.
          Love, Anne

      1. This so resonates with my soul. Thank you for sharing this Anne.

    3. praising God for this step forward Anne!! The gospel is an awesome thing!

      1. I have to share what happened to me yesterday. I have been having a long involved conflict with some of my co-workers and had decided after the last study that I need to really forgive them and not just ignore them (which I have). Yesterday, I brought a large coffee into work with me, and when I went into the break room I found that someone had dumped it out. They didn’t touch anyone else’s just mine. I instantly became so angry that I was literally shaking (I’m not usually so easily provoked). I was planning this nasty note I was going to write, how I was going to take everyone’s food and throw it away, maybe even run someone over in the parking lot (just kidding) etc., when I recalled hearing somewhere to remember that it is not them, it’s God who is using them to teach me. Then I imagined God saying “Consider my servant Dawn. Throw out a dollars worth of coffee and she has a complete meltdown.” I had to laugh it off!

        1. oh that was SO good Dawn! I’m using that one! I just had a very annoying event at the grocery store–to the point where I contemplated calling the manager to complain, and I’ve NEVER done anything like that! So I’m using that–“Consider my servant Elizabeth…”
          Thanks for putting it all back into an eternal perspective–so good!

  6. Dee, Love the picture of Sally and Sadie at the beginning…so sweet:)

      1. 🙂 I can only imagine how precious each new baby is in their lives!

  7. I am home with bronchitis today….appreciate prayers.

    1. praying for comfort and quick healing Terri!!

    2. Terri, I am praying for you, now…get well soon.

  8. 8. What stood out to you from the program?
    I love the illustration you used about touching a hot burner and backing away from it.
    a. There is no worship without wilderness. Oh what a concept.
    b. Most of the psalms are lament psalms.
    c.Don’t waste your sorrows.
    d.When you lament instead of backing away from God you open up possibility of dialogue with God.
    e.I was reduced to tears with your story of how God spoke to you when you cried out for God’s presence as a husband for you.

    f.You can talk to your soul—our souls are like fretful babies –instead of wallowing in your fears, use the truths of scripture to calm your soul.
    g.Accept the mystery of suffering, because I don’t understand the reason for my suffering, I shouldn’t assume that God doesn’t have a reason.

    h.Move into God not back away from him. I have done it both ways, two separate grief situations, and definitely two different results. May I learn from that and use grief in the future to draw me nearer to my Lord.

    9. What stood out to you from Michael Card’s song?
    Michael Card has always been one of my favorites, I love that song.
    when you’re heavy laden you may want to depart, but those who know sorrow they’re closest to his heart. Come lift up your sorrow and offer your pain, come make a sacrifice of all your shame…..There in your wilderness, hes waiting for you, to worship him with your wounds, he;s wounded too.
    All of us have experienced or are experiencing deep grief– Jesus did too, and I am praying that each of us will be able to move toward God in our pain.

  9. What stood out to you from the program?

    God wants me to be honest, to turn from my self focus to God focus

    The world needs my suffering…, reminded me of a John Piper sermon I have listened to several times the verse referred to below is:
    Colossians 1:24
    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of his body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

    “Now what does this mean that when Paul suffers for the church—extending the hope of glory to more and more people, and teaching them about the mystery of Christ, and suffering in doing this—he is “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”? How can any man fill up what is surely as full as any suffering could be?
    The Context Suggests the Meaning
    I think the context that we just looked at suggests that Paul’s sufferings fill up Christ’s not by adding anything to their worth, but by extending them to the people they were meant to bless. What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ is not that they are deficient in worth or merit, as though they could not sufficiently cover the sins of all who believe. What is lacking is that the infinite values of Christ’s afflictions are not known in the world. They are still a mystery (hidden) to most peoples. And God’s intention is that the mystery be revealed, extended to all the Gentiles. So the afflictions are lacking in the sense that they are not seen and known among the nations. They must be carried by ministers of the Word. And those ministers of the Word fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ by extending them to others.”

    I need to learn to speak the truths of scripture to my soul & to accept the mystery of suffering.

    I have not yet been able to be accepting of all of this and yet give myself permission to be crushingly sad. It is hard to sort out

    9. What stood out to you from Michael Card’s song?

    The Michael Card song caused me to think and to weep. How do I go about making a sacrifice of all my shame?

    I bought the whole Keller series that the Job messages are a part of. I am so glad to have such a resource, and this study.

  10. Brian’s mothers services were yesterday, Bill and I had a difficult discussion about money last night. It has been a tough week. I feel discouraged

    1. You have been through so much…God understands your discouragement and I am praying that you will be able to continue to move towards God and speak truth to your soul during this time. {{{hugs}}}

      1. I’m right here for you too, Chris…praying Dee’s prayer with her.

        How is Brian doing?

        1. Thank you all, I especially hope for the likemindedness in Dees prayer. We have done pretty well supporting each other through this ordeal, but money has always been a sticky subject for us. The money in the bank is dwindling down, with me earning about 80% less than I have at my last two jobs, we need to make changes.

          Thank you Joyce for asking about Brian, he is quiet by nature, but suprises us from time to time with deep thoughts about spiritual things. He seems almost too okay. My own withdrawal during grief allows me to understand that reaction, but he seems almost relieved. Time will tell. I offered a grief counsellor, he declined.
          Since Daniels death Brian has changed a lot. It was a struggle to bring him into our family as he was a rather selfish and short tempered boy. He directed most of that at Daniel, who bore up so well under it. Daniel was kind to Brian in spite of the way he treated him.
          We had a rough patch this past March with Brian when we found out that he had been smoking pot and had begun selling drugs at school.
          We were very firm, letting him know if this was to be his lifestyle he would not remain living with us, and if he failed his senior year he would not repeat 12th grade in our school system, he would have to live with his mom or his sisters.
          This all led too Bill telling him he loved Brian too much to watch him self destruct, tears and regret from Brian. and so far he really seems to have changed. He is working 2 jobs and being much more respectful around the house.

        2. I will remember to pray for Brian, too.

  11. 6. Consider just a few of the questions God asks of Job.

    A. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:12-13 and write down what God asks Job.

    It is like we are infants who are unable to do anything for themselves compared to God who has given orders to the morning, shown the dawn it’s place. God is so powerful he can take the earth by it’s edges and shake the wicked out of it. I have a word picture in my head of it. I can see Him doing that, and I can’t even move a rock from one place to the other in our yard! 🙂

    To know that this same powerful God who can shake the wicked out of it, is the same powerful God who can, if he wants, take away whatever ailes me, yet he doesn’t all the time and when I reflect on who He is in this passage I can trust the wisdom from the same God who can take the earth by the edges and shake out the wicked, that he knows what he is doing in my life in good seasons and bad. If it is o.k. to not know why he allows good things to happen to me, then it is o.k. to not know why he allows bad things. He is the God who gives orders to the morning and shows the dawn it’s place. He knows what he is doing and he is not detached from me or absent in the midst of my suffering.

    1. Love this, Rebecca, ” He knows what he is doing and he is not detached from me or absent in the midst of my suffering”. So true.

  12. 6 B. Reflect on the following video, Job 39:19-25 and write down what God asks of Job. Contemplations?

    Immediately on verse 19 I pictured the beauty of the horse. The details!! God designed the horse and the details are phenomenal from it’s beauty and power right down to it’s personality. God is involved in the details of a horse as well as the details in our lives. Job can’t give the horse it’s strength, he can’t match by his own creation anything like this. It is easy to see how we can rely on our own strength thinking we can figure out why and we can ‘do something’ to fix it, yet we are feeble, helpless and can’t control the things that happen around us, yet God knows that and wants us to rest in His strength, His power, His love, and His wisdom.

    1. I know! I love His creation. We are studying sea creatures in science this year for our home school curriculum. It is amazing how different and unique each creature is and all for His delight and for us to discover and then worship Him in our hearts. So creative He is!

      1. Amen!

        1. I always love it when we are watching secular nature shows that espouse an evolutionary ideology, and yet they cannot refrain from using the word “design”

  13. C. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:36 and write down what God asks Job. Contemplations?

    God has given even the simplest of creatures wisdom and understanding. Understanding when to crow in the morning for example. God has given all the animals wisdom as to how high to fly, when mating season is and where to go, how to sense danger, how to use their instincts effectively to obtain food. Can Job trust that a caring, loving God who provides so well for these animals so that they don’t starve and die can’t be trusted for Job’s sustenance as well? Perhaps God is asking Job to not focus on the why, or to feel abandoned, but to just trust in His sustenance for his whole being similar to how these animals do.

    1. I agree…just trust him.

  14. Hello Friends

    I am so glad that i am a part of this study but sorry that i cant keep up with everyone’s posts.. I have a prayer request.. I am in the midst of possibly finding a new job.. I have been doing respit for about a year but my hours just got cut, and today and tommrrow ifound out that i am working less than expected and i cant keep doing it. I need something steady so i am looking to do more respit with someone else that will be more steady. But i am praying that the Lord will show me where i need to apply etc.. I am making a phone call today about a respit position.. Would you pray with me?

    Thanks Friends!

    1. Lord I pray for Meg today, that you would give her the right contacts and leads, that you would direct her to the position that is best suited to her abilities and needs, and that she would find favor with a future employer. You have promised to be our Jehovah Jirah–our provider and I ask that you would provide all that Meg needs. Lord, give Meg peace and confidence in you as she goes through this process.

      1. Thank you so much Terri!

    2. Meg,
      I prayed for you this morning and I think it is wonderful that before you started looking for a new job, your first thought was to seek the Lord’s wisdom and help and to ask for prayer.
      “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
      and lean not on your own understanding;
      in all your ways acknowledge Him
      and He will make your paths straight.”
      Praying this Scripture for you today!

      1. Thank you so much Susan. I had an appt with my cousnler at church and she read me this exact same verse 🙂

    3. Praying Meg may God grant you the wisdom to know exactly where He wants you.

      1. Meg, I’m praying along with your other sister’s in Christ here. I wish you were in Kearney, to give me some respite care for Kendra:) I pray the Lord leads you to the perfect job for you, with the perfect person and perfect hours you desire. Trust in him.

        1. Thank you Joyce, I know i wish i was there too 🙂

      2. Thank you Angela!

  15. I have been dying to get to the Moody program, but for now I am loving this contemplation in Job. 🙂

    7. Read Job’s response in Job 42:1-6

    A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2?
    Job tells God he knows He can do all things and that nothing can thwart his purposes.

    B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2?

    God has a great purpose in my pain. If He can give the Rooster understanding, then he by far knows what his purpose is in the midst of my pain so I can trust that He has a purpose for it and I can rest in that rather than wrestle with trying to find out where he is going with it or to try to figure out why.

    C. What does Job say in verse 3?

    Job confesses to God he spoke of things he didn’t know and didn’t understand. He confesses he was trying to be god essentially and try to grasp the why and the purpose, but he has realized now when he has measured himself next to God that he is without words-who is he to even try to figure it out. This brought him to repentance. He probably feels foolish, yet at the same time thrilled and overwhelmed.

    D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2. How does this parallel shed light on the psalm? What is the psalmist saying?

    He reflected on God’s majesty, His power, His omniscience and Omnipresence and He knew God had his issues all in His hands as well-that God could provide and sustain him, and that calmed and quieted him and kept him from squiggling around.

    E. What does Job say in Job 42:5. What does this mean?

    I think perhaps Job had a lot of head knowledge about God and the knowledge he had didn’t sink down in the depths of his heart.

    F. What does Job do in Job 42:6?

    He didn’t have real understanding until God showed him and it brought Him to his knees in a sincerely deep repentance. I think he let go of his idol of control and ran to God-opened his heart completely in trust and fully gave over his wounds to God to heal.

  16. Funny how every time we go into a new study series I think, Hmmmm..How will God use this, I don’t have an idol problem..After learning I was wrong about that, we come to this study and now I am thinking..O.K. God, go at it I know you will use this in my life to un knot the thick roots of a weed I think is impossible to get rid of, and here He is..My faithful God loving me so much that He wants to free me yet again-to untangle anything that is hindering me from resting in Him!

    Tuesday night a wave of a high tide swept in, and as painful as it is I am welcoming it. I am unable to give details but God is at work. 🙂

    This contemplation in Job just helped me keep my focus straight this morning. Here is my lament that I couldn’t write last week.

    Lord, when I focused on the majesty of the horse, the dawn, how You have directed every detail of life. How you have sustained the animals in different seasons and how you have given them understanding and instincts to survive, and how you have made provision for them..I too fall to my knees..for I was taking this into my own hands trying to figure out how to fix it as if you weren’t already working, or as if you were distant and unaware. No God, you are in every detail. Lord I was wrong and I can say with Job I do despise myself-my pride-that I would think I could take this on when it is already in your hands and you have a purpose and a plan for it. Help me to not look at the future but to rest in your arms and trust in your sustenance and sovereignty, for you are GOD.

    1. Wow Rebecca! very powerful…

    2. So good, Rebecca…praying for you.

  17. 5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3?

    “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?”
    In other words, who are you to question Me?

    6. Consider just a few of the questions God asks of Job.

    A. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:12-13 and write down what God asks Job. Also, because this is amazing poetry, slow down and write down your contemplations.

    He asks, “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?”

    What an interesting poetic picture of how it implies night and the cover of darkness is for the wicked to do their evil deeds and it hides them – but then comes the dawn and the wicked are shaken out and exposed. It makes me think of that final day when God makes everything right and all the wickedness and evil will be shaken out and done away with for good.

    B. Reflect on Job 39:19-25 and write down what God asks Job. Contemplations?

    “Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?” “Do you make him leap like a locust?”

    The description of the horse here shows God to be the Intelligent Designer of the horse and all its attributes; the flowing mane, how fast he runs; “he eats up the ground”, he carries his rider into battle without fear.
    Like Anne posted, Job could not create a horse; only God could create like this.

    C. Reflect on Job 39:26 and write down what God asks Job.

    “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom?”

    We can understand (because God gave us the ability) the laws and principles of flight, but we didn’t set those laws and principles into place. All the things that we humans “discover” – we have just discovered things that God designed and set into place by His wisdom. Again I was helped by Anne’s post about warm air loft!

  18. Ok all this may be super cheesy but I LOVE dance and expression through dance. So I am posting a video of a dance performed on the stages of grief. It is to secular music but I thought it was well done. It moved me. So if you like that sort of thing maybe it will move you too. The dance starts half way through it but the beginning explains what the choreographer was going for. It is 7 stages of grief. There are 7 dancers.
    http://youtu.be/C9reWy5XkUo

    1. Angela, thanks for this! I am a liturgical dancer and this is cool. I am going through my own “grief” because my daughter is still living with us, but not engaged in our family. She is 19 and I feel like she should be on her own by this time. I left my family home when I was 18 and have raised my children with the idea that by this time you are ready to be free from your parents. However, I suppose we all grow at different times.

      here is another video you might enjoy. Although it is about teens and their struggles, I think the message is clear and powerful; we all need Jesus, he can take on our burden and save us.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSwCOs-uXzU&feature=player_embedded

      1. I liked that one too! Thanks for sharing. I love how powerful a message can be conveyed through music and dance.

  19. This is a simple thought–but I had always read Job and thought how frustrating it must have been that God took so long to say anything! But this morning I was thinking how gracious it was–He just listened to Job’s heart pouring out…He wants that, He wants to hear our cries out to Him, and He patiently listens, knowing sometimes we (at least I know I do!) just need to vent before we can receive His tender, merciful loving response.

    1. I like that Elizabeth…Job seemed to do okay too until people started speaking lies to him. Oh if we would just consider the power of our words. Keller said in the first Job session that people often try to give pat answers for suffering and we should not do that. Either the moralist kind (you did something wrong to deserve this) or cynic kind (God doesn’t hear you or care). I know healing comes in community but sometimes we do just need time to vent and pour out our hearts to God without influence like that.

  20. Just an update, ladies! God is doing amazing things since I lamented this morning-I lamented in a more personal way offline, but He came to me like the Spring rains! Wish I could give detail but trust me, He is moving!

    1. So thankful Rebecca!! God is good. I feel Him moving here as well. He is so good in the midst of this present storm.

    2. 😉

  21. I lost my mom to cancer in April, right after Easter. I miss her so much! I feel like it is a dream and she will be back any time. I’m leaning on GOD for His Comfort. The grief is so strong. I feel like sometime other family members are already over her death and dealing with it better. I was really close to her, like a best friend! She was a christian and I know she is in heaven. I know she is in a much better place, but she is not here.

    Carrie

    1. Oh Carrie, I am grieving with you. As I write this, I am at my brother’s house far away from my own home, spending time with my mom who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 2.5 years ago. I am trying to spend as much time as possible with her because I don’t know how much longer she will be here on this earth. She is 84 and has had a difficult adult life. My dad died when he was 50 and she never remarried. She is also Christian and I know she loves God. We are lucky she is still here this long (chemo every other week), but I anticipate when she won’t be here anymore. You are correct, to lean on God. He loves us all.

      Please Lord, wrap your strong arms around Carrie, who misses her mother. Let Carrie feel your warmth around her and have the comfort of the knowledge that her mother has been kissed by you and has peace. Amen.

      1. Carrie and Laura, I am so sorry. I lost my mom 2 years ago and she was here everyday, as she loved Kendra so much and Kendra loved her. She was 89 and died of a heart attack. She lived alone 23 years since dad died and still missed him so much. It still hurts losing her and Kendra is still is so sad when she see’s a picture of her or I mention her. I know your pain and sorrow. I’m praying for you, both.

    2. Carrie, am praying for you. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. So glad you are here.

  22. Missing you, Tammy, Tracy and Kim!

    1. Here I am! Reading and catching up. Miss you too, dear.

  23. Dee, I am torn as to what to do. My nephew’s girlfriend is in jail, here in Kearney. She was a RN and got caught stealing drugs and lost her license years ago. (she is 45) and now she is in jail for missing a drug test, as she is in drug court. (where you are tested alot and checked on alot) She is really trying hard to change her life. I have been with her at family functions and like her alot. I forgive her, after all who am I to judge? I am a sinner, too.

    I want to go visit her and take her a book about Christ, maybe. I don’t know where she is with her faith, but have a feeling she does love the Lord. She’s had a very hard life. Divorced, kids taken away, drugs, etc.

    I’ve never visited anyone is jail before and am alittle scard. I love your prison visit’s and comments there and those women looked so desperate and thankful you were there. What book can I take to her? Falling in Love with Jesus? Please suggest something to take and what I should say!! Thanks so much. (Anyone else have an idea?)

    1. I know Dee will have great wisdom for you…but in my humble opinion and the couple of times I have been in prison to do ministry with the women, I have found you just being there to love on them and pray for them and really listen to them. They are more desperate for Christ there. That book Falling in Love with Jesus rocked my world and completely changed my life. It may be a good one for her too. A sad thing I observed is that in prison they are just trying to pass the time away so most of them would just sleep all day or as long as they were allowed. Some reading material would probably be good. I would probably take her a Bible as well. Again, I am not the expert here. :)But I am praying that God will give you wisdom Joyce.

      1. Thank you, angela, that helps!

    2. I have done a lot of going to jails with my job. Make sure to check the jail website to see if you are allowed to bring books in. In the jails and prisons I have been to in Florida, we are not allowed to bring books with us. We have to have them sent directly by US mail with the sales receipt from the publisher or bookseller to the inmate. They only allow softcover books including Bibles. It may be different in your state, but you will have to check.
      I remember that feeling of being scared the first time I went to a jail, but after going, I found I love jail ministry. The inmates are always eager for visits and it seems they are more open than the average person. I will pray for you!

      1. Thank you, Terri. That helps too!

      1. Thank you, Dee!

  24. I am still thinking about what Chris and Joyce said about not measuring up. I have always wanted to do great things for God but never have really. Here is a quote from Rich Mullins on the subject. “In terms of eternity, those people who did the greatest things for God were the people who weren’t trying to do anything at all. They were just simply being obedient. Those are the people God can use. And I want to be one of them. If God should use me, that would be great but if He doesn’t there is a very interesting thing you can do. In the gospel of Mark or in any of the four gospels, you go through the gospels and you say, what people are absolutely essential to this story? So Mary is essential to the story because Mary had to give birth to Jesus. And you could say, well someone else could have. But lets say that if she wouldn’t have done it then the story wouldn’t have happened. So, you have God who chose to become flesh, you have Mary who gave Him flesh, you have Jesus who was God in the flesh or who was the child of Mary and God, you have Pontius Pilate who had, in an artificial sense, the power to kill Christ, you have Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ and handed him over to the bad guys, you have whoever it was that nailed Him up to the cross. Out of those people that God used to accomplish His will in the gospel, only a couple of them were very nice people. Most of them were bad people. We all want to be useful to God. Well, its no big deal. God can use anybody. God used Nebuchadnezzar. God used Judas Iscariot. Its not a big deal to be used by God and the shocking thing in the book of Mark, and the reason why it is so shocking is because Mark is the briefest of all the gospels but he has these terrific little details and one of the little details is that it says, ‘and Jesus called to Him those that He wanted.’ And you realize that out of the twelve people that He wanted, only one was essential to His goal in coming to earth. The other eleven people were useless to Christ but they were wanted by Christ.” And here is the beauty of what he is saying here: “I would much rather have God want me than have God use me.” This is what we have sisters, a God who wants us so much He died for us. I know that we all understand this but I love to look at it again.

    1. Anne, I have always loved this one from Rich!

    2. Thanks Anne. I love this; “I would much rather have God want me than have God use me.”

    3. Thank you Anne, I sense that I have work to do in this area, I am glad to know that you have found victory. I long to be there too.

      Your comment before about perhaps God was allowing failure resonated with me. The last two jobs I have had I had really ridgid female superiors who searched for and treasured any mistake I made, I had previously had just 2 employers who valued me as an employee, I had been at my previous job 17 years. I took the next job because it was full time and close to home. I left there when Daniel was injured, thinking that I would be caring for him full time.
      I was shocked when my next job, I worked there Dec.-March of 2011, was so simalar in supervision to the last. I felt shredded by her on a daily basis. I wondered if God was trying to show me something by placing me back in that type of enviroment. I wanted to stay there and overcome evil with good, but in my grief, I just couldn’t take anymore.

      1. Chris, I don’t know about that being God allowing you to fail. What a huge burden to be in such grief and also new on a job. I believe that God has something for you that is just right and I am praying for Him to reveal it to you. In the mean time I think you are doing exactly the right thing just by pressing in to Him. I pray also that you will be able to find for yourself the time and the space to grieve properly. Love and prayers to you Chris.

        1. Thank you Anne, I am closer to pressing in I think, than I have been in a long time.

  25. Dee and sisters,
    I am back. So good to read the posts. We had a wonderful, hot and blessed 10 days. God is good and took us through so many trials with peace. I grieve my dad this time of the year b/c he started this fireworks business. He loved the holiday so.
    Wow, love and appreciate each woman in this study. Such good answers. We are blessed!
    Dee, I feel like I have never done this study before. I wonder if it is because I am getting old and forgetful or if it is that I had just lost my dad last time.
    ICE BREAKER: This question dredges up a big pain in my life and something I have had a hard time forgiving myself for. I was not able to attend my dad’s funeral-I can barely type those words. I still can hardly take it in. I became deathly ill the night before. I threw up about every 20 minutes for over 24 hours. An I.V. finally gave me some relief. If my dad was here today and I could ask him why that happened, he would simply sing a line from an oldie, “We will understand it better by and by.” Wow, I think God just gave me peace I have needed concerning that. Thank you God, you are the faithful one!

    1. So glad your back, Kim. Kendra loves her Black Cat T-shirts! I love what your dad would sing……“We will understand it better by and by.” Did he know the Lord? Sounds like he did understand, that we would all know the answers one day.

    2. So sorry that you were not able to go to your Dads funeral.
      It is bittersweet I am sure, his love for the 4th of July.
      I am glad you busy season went well in spite of the trials.

    3. Kim,
      That must have broken your heart to be unable to attend his funeral, yet you couldn’t help it. And you did type the words, and God is giving you His peace over it. Thankful for the healing He is giving you!

  26. Just finished listening to Midday Connection. 🙂

    8. What stood out to you from the program?

    Can I say, the whole program? 🙂 I wrote down a lot of things, so I will try to narrow it down.

    1. Dee said our souls are easily startled, easily to be fearful-vulnerable. Scripture often refers to our souls as female in that sense of vulnerability. – This brought me comfort to know when this happens it is the way God made me so I need not think I am too sensitive, but the point is what do I do with it.

    2. Instead of wallowing in my fear, use the truths of scripture to talk to my soul. -Loved that..I needed to be reminded of that. I can so easily forget.

    3. When she said that even her cries for help were a gift from God. She didn’t think she could have cried out to God without His grace. That spoke to my heart. I haven’t looked at it that way.

    4. Also, when she talked about praying through the Psalms she said the soul can’t pray by itself, it is like the difference between rowing upstream in my own strength and catching the wind of the Spirit.

    5. This REALLY spoke to me. When we cry out to God and say I need you, I need you and we aren’t asking him to fix our marriage or fix our situation, but we truly lament and want Him for Him not for the stuff he can give us. That is what God wants. – You know, that is all around us. I am guilty of it, and when we do prayer requests it is always centered around praying for stuff. Nothing is wrong with that, but it seems to be the center of our prayers as a body. I have wondered what it would look like and how it would please God if our prayer requests were more God centered. This just spoke to me and revealed how deep down inside I long for God on one hand, yet on the other I desire for Him to fix my problems and that I can’t be truly content like a weaned baby unless they are fixed, but that is changing by His grace.

    1. Rebecca,
      5. Yes, God really spoke to me through this too. Thought about our own kids and how hurt I would be/have been if/when they only came to me when they wanted something. I love when my kids want to just spend time with me with no agenda, no list of things they want me to do for them or buy for them. I know our Father feels the same way about us. Am I only going to him when there’s something in it for me, when I am in need and want something, or am I just spending time in his arms enjoying his presence and praying his word.
      Prayer is so much more than that list of needs.

  27. Dee, you so encourage me. may I encourage you? 🙂 I didn’t realize how shallow my faith was until I came here. How much in denial I was as to how much deeper in God wanted me to go. That is why I am staying. I want to go deeper in. My nature is to ‘back up’, and I am starting to press closer in but it is because by His grace you have been a willing vessel, and God is using you in a huge way to open my eyes. I wonder if Steve is rejoicing with Jesus now as He sees the fruits of your ministry- our hearts are pressing closer in to the Lord.

    I am taking away with me this week the truth about wanting Him for Him and not for his stuff and to start a habit of praying through the Psalms.

  28. 7. Read Job’s response in Job 42:1-6.

    A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2?

    Job tells God that he knows that He can do all things and that nothing can stop or interfere with God’s plans.

    B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2?

    One of the sorrows in my life right now is watching the inevitable aging and decline of my parents who are both 84. They still live in their own home and are independent, but it’s been hard to see them decline in their health and my mom is getting forgetful, and the loss of their grandson has caused them so much pain. Dad was saved last summer, mom is still not. So I look to this verse with hope. I worry that mom will die without Christ. Yet I know that God can do all things. The circumstances and trials of this life cannot hinder God from carrying out His plans for my parents.

    Job had to be reflecting on the loss of his children – every single one of them. He knows God could have prevented their death, but did not. I see an acceptance here of God’s plan. As God has demonstrated to Job His power over all of creation that is unmatched, unchallenged by anyone or anything, Job responds with submission and trust.

    The only other alternative is to be like those referenced in Revelation 16:9; “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.”

    Perhaps in his heart, Job has understood that at the core of all of God’s power and might, the power to give and to take away, God is just and good. I know God had the power to deliver my nephew from drugs, but he died. Through our study on idolatry, way back when we looked at Jesus coming to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died, a prayer for me was answered when I “saw” that when Thomas died, Jesus was there, and he wept. In the Psalm we looked at last week, I “saw” a rescue for my nephew, who was drawn out of deep waters and rescued from his powerful enemies.
    It’s in my nature, when someone has a problem, to think that I can somehow “fix” it and make it better. But I didn’t have the power to save my nephew, to turn his life around.
    In alot of ways, I failed him. God doesn’t make mistakes, and not only can He do all things, but He does all things well.

    C. What does Job say in verse 3?

    Job speaks the words that David spoke in Psalm 131 in that when he first began to question God, he spoke of things he did not understand, things that his human mind could never begin to unlock and grasp.

    D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2. How does this parallel shed light on the psalm? What is the psalmist saying?

    David is choosing to trust God and to leave the details and plans of his life in God’s hands. Both Job and David suffered adversity and had to rely on the Lord.

  29. Ladies, thank you for your kind words. Joyce, my dad was a precious saint and we played old hymns the weeks he was in the ICU b/c he loved and sang them to us in his deep baritone voice, growing up. As I typed that I was not able to attend his funeral I was holding my breath and I can see now I had not yet dealt with that pain. My dad would never hold anything against me. I was doing a great job of that myself. The healing I received last evening was a precious gift. Thanks to the idol study I see a pride issue lurking. I concerned myself with what people would think of me not being at his funeral. I am amazed as truth comes forth in my daily living since studying idol worship. My life and thinking is so different. I love the work God is doing in me. I laugh when I think of a time I thought I had my christian life “together”.
    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION:
    This has “the gospel” written all over it. David’s soul is resting in God’s higher plan but in previous verses he is crying out of the depths of his pain like I did when I saw my idols for the first time. He asks who could stand if God were a God that holds our sins against us. He hopes in God. Vs. 7 of chapter 130 says it beautifully, “Let Israel hope in the Lord: there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption”. David’s soul is counting on God to come through for him and redeem this pain. Beauty out of ashes.

  30. When I read Job (and I have at least once this past year to remind myself of true pain and suffering) I often am confused as to why it was “okay” that God took Job’s first family away and “replaced” them with a new family. I’m sure Job missed his original family deeply, and how could a new family fill that void? It seems callous to me. Is it just to emphasize how Job’s faithfulness was rewarded in the end?

      1. I can’t wait to hear your wisdom Dee, and other’s. Such a good question Laura. All my immature mind has ever thought from it is that it tells me God does allow Satan to bring us great pain–all of us here have experienced in some form, suffering, even devastating suffering—and that doesn’t mean God isn’t with us or doesn’t deeply love us, as He did Job. It also demonstrates God’s power over Satan—while He allowed the family to be taken, He did not allow Job’s life to be taken. The new family part doesn’t make sense to me either and yet there are so many similar questions I have in my own life—why did my dad die before I got to the hospital, why before any of my children were born…lots more questions…none of it makes sense to me. I guess Job’s life provides the “answer” that it doesn’t always make sense. I think in a weird way that’s what I like about Job—the reminder that we cannot understand His ways, and that all the answers we try to give for why He has allowed pain and trials—we have no idea. But we do know His character– as Keller said, we know it’s not that He doesn’t care about us.

        Ok—I’m ready for the wise ones here to speak—all I can say is great question! And please correct me on my “off” points as necessary–I need all the teaching I can get!

        And I’m planning to get the CDs–so maybe that’ll help me 😉

    1. I sure don’t feel like I have answers to this question. I only have few minutes to jot down a initial thoughts. I agree Laura that no one will ever replace children that have died … I guess I don’t draw the conclusion that God thought the new family would replace the one he lost. But for Job, after losing everything and having gone through the loss he did, as things were restored, it must have been a relief, because he lived to like over 200 years old…. I can’t imagine living that long and not having any of the things he lost restored including having more children. I am sure that some of you have more insight into this, I can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say.

      1. Perhaps as with Kellers nightmare analogy, having lost children maybe Job’s joy in his new children was intensified by the loss of the others. Not that he would not always be pained by the memory of those he loved and lost, but that he would hold the new children all the more tenderly because of having experienced such loss.

        1. I was thinking about Laura’s statement all day yesterday on and off and into this morning. I went all the way back to the garden and rabbit trailed a bit! I tend to do that a lot! 🙂 WHAT A GREAT,CHALLENGING QUESTION!

          My thinking right away was that while God so desires to walk with us through our suffering, God doesn’t view death and suffering like we do. It isn’t final. He hates for us to hurt, for us to suffer loss-he really does..He wept with Mary when she was grieving over the loss of Lazarus. He can identify with us in our humanity, but His understanding is so much greater than ours for he is both here with us and there in eternity with our loved ones who are with him. He knows what comes next and wants us to trust Him with that. It doesn’t take away the grief and pain of loss for God designed us to grieve! 🙂

          I am going to look up Dee’s question..

        2. Job 42-

          I noticed the names of his sons aren’t listed, only the daughters..Wow, yes there has to be significance in that.

          So far, I have looked at a couple of resources. the first one isn’t a Christian resource, but it did have an in depth study on the Hebrew words and meanings of their names, and then found another site that is a Christian resource with an explanation of the names that lined up with what I read before but related them to Job’s times of suffering.

          So far I have found Jemimah to mean little Dove, or lady daylight-

          Kezia means meaning cassia, a kind of sweet smelling cinnamon powder, harvested by scraping it off from trees-used as perfume.

          Keren-a paint that females used to paint their eyelids..-it also implies the beauty of all the daughters. Relating to a beautiful countenance perhaps in regard to Job’s journey of restoration spiritually??

          I found a great comparison run down in a reliable source with commentaries, but not sure about who Jamieson Fausset Brown is:

          Jemima-“daylight,” after his “night” of calamity; but Maurer, “a dove.”

          Kezia-“cassia,” an aromatic herb (Ps 45:8), instead of his offensive breath and ulcers.

          Keren-happuch-“horn of stibium,” a paint with which females dyed their eyelids; in contrast to his “horn defiled in the dust” (Job 16:15). The names also imply the beauty of his daughters.

          Before I went to this commentary, and was looking at just the names and what they meant God brought to mind the word restoration!

          I am thinking the daughters’ names were symbols of Job’s restoration spiritually as explained above, but why the daughters? Why not the sons???? Hmmmm… So in Dee’s question as to what could this mean for women, I sense a quickening here but I can’t discern it in whole. God is lifting up the female’s vulnerability, which put her ‘beneath’ men in the past, into a place of high honor-or restoration. I don’t think I am getting it yet, but I really want to see it. I wonder if the inheritance part goes further, such as our inheritance in Christ?

        3. Dee, Really? Wow, I haven’t heard of that group before. Hope I wasn’t ‘going there’ with the freemasonry group in thought though..yikes!

          I tend to go deep into the ditches of thought and need others to say, “O.k. Rebecca, let’s get out of the ditch your sinkin’ too deep.” 😉

        4. whew..Good! 😉

        5. Jemima=Dove, Cassia=one of the principle spices used in anointing oil, Keren-Happuch=Horn of the face paint (cosmetic box). The first 2 don’t seem that hard to figure out. A dove is the symbol of peace; the main ingredient in anointing oil would mean healing and blessing, something much needed and desired; a cosmetic box?? icing on the cake, perhaps? Something that contains beauty? I read John Gill’s expository on verse 13, it was too long to quote here but it said that Jemima could also mean day and Keren-Happuch a glittery stone of great value, which make it easier to interpret the symbolism. Horn also means a turning which could symbolize God’s turning Job’s circumstances.

        6. I think that the fact that Job’s daughters received a share of the inheritance was so unusual and significant that it needed to be recorded. It showed that Job valued each and every one of his children. Also the past pain and loss caused Job to love and treasure his future blessings more.

  31. 11. What is your take-a-way from this week? Did God meet you in any way? If so, how?
    The importance of speaking God’s truth to my soul especially in difficult times when there are no easy answers or quick solutions. I am still processsing this, but I think that I got stuck in talking about my loss and circumstances over and over and over and over to God and others, then when there was no change, I got discouraged and quit talking to God about it. I never got to the place where I spoke truth to my own soul. This caused me to get kind of calloused.
    I want to begin writing my laments to God.
    I think writing is a powerful thing, because I have seen even in this study how when I and others have written down what God is impressing on us, it is the beginning of God changing our hearts or bringing healing.

  32. Dee–I hope it’s OK to share this–this page lists a few free Keller sermons on “Suffering and Tragedy”. I have begun listening to “Praying our Tears” and thought it might be helpful for others. I’m still purchasing the Job series–just thought this might be helpful for some as they are free, but not on Job.

    Here’s the link to the page http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=24

    But as always–please feel free to delete 🙂

  33. 9. What stood out to you from Michael Card’s song?

    I have heard this song before and it really spoke to my heart about how Jesus understands my pain. This time what stood out to me is the verse that says “Those who know sorrow are closest to His heart.” I have not yet suffered anything that is not worth that. I have not lost a child or husband but if I do I hope that I can find my way to that place.

  34. I’m finally finishing up–just a little out of order!

    6 C. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:36 and write down what God asks Job. Contemplations?
    “Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?”

    Looking at these videos of God’s creation—I am struck by the combination of power and grace—like love and truth—there is almost a dance displayed in nature.

    7. Read Job’s response in Job 42:1-6
    A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2?
    “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

    He recognizes God’s power, God’s sovereignty.

    B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2?

    Nothing is too big for God, and nothing is hidden from Him. He can bring healing to my heart, even though so much time has past and my Dad is now gone. And with my daughter—I have seen, and continue to believe in, His mighty restoring power. I cling to this truth—that He can do all things, He makes all things new—it is my hope, my oxygen, my lifeline.

    C. What does Job say in verse 3?
    You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

    Job is humbled. He understand now that there is so much he cannot understand about God’s ways. He reveres God in His rightful place on the throne.

    D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2. How does this parallel shed light on the psalm? What is the psalmist saying?
    “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

    There is rest, there is peace. The struggle has ended, replaced with pure trust. No longer wanting to fight to understand, to question, argue, beg…but quieted. When we finally feel heard, realizing that our heart’s cries have been listened to by the King, we are able to quiet our own thoughts and voices, and rest, trusting the One who carries us, content in His arms.

    E. What does Job say in Job 42:5. What does this mean?

    “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job had intellectual knowledge of God, but now God has revealed Himself in such a powerful, intimate way, Job, after being humbled, really sees Him. I have know of God all my life—and the older I get the more I realize how very little I really know of Him, and what a gift it is when He reveals more of Himself to me. I see this through trials, and also through the amazing times of blessing—He opens my eyes to a deeper understanding of Himself.

    F. What does Job do in Job 42:6?

    “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job humbles himself and begins the cycle of repentance. He gets it—the Christian life is repentance and faith.

  35. My take away this week is that I can’t understand, and will likely never know in this life the whys of my tragedy. Even my fears that it has come upon us because of my prayers for God to move upon my family with his power, to do whatever it takes to bring them to himself, or my fear that my own character was so in need of purifying that it had to be put through the hottest fire, these fears may even be correct. But even if they are, all has been allowed by the Father out of love.

    I have thought of Mary, she was highly favored by God, but her pregnancy was surely a difficult thing for her, and the crucifixion, what incredible suffering she must have endured, she could not have understood.

    I have thought of John the Baptist, Jesus said that there was no one among those born of women who was greater than he, and yet while Jesus lived John was imprisoned, he questioned if Christ was the Messiah, then he was beheaded. Hard to understand & surely not what was expected by Johns disciples.

    I woke up this morning thinking that to hurt is not to be in defiance to God. Jesus wept, he knows this hurts. After listening to one of the Keller sermons I realized that I have actually done better than I thought through this whole thing. Satan wants me to believe that to hurt and question and struggle is sin, but it is not. I am not bitter.

    I also see my anxieties about my imperfections as a real area I need to work on. It would be nice if just being aware if something made it go away, but I have struggled with sin enough to know that’s not how it works. The roots of this one go pretty deep I think.
    I friend once told me that the walking the path of Christian life and allowing God to reveal our sin is like having heart surgery with a butter knife, again and again.

    I want to express to you all my deepest thanks for your prayers and support.
    Dee your invitation to join this group has been a lifeline to me. Thank you!

      1. Me too. I am moved and blessed Chris every time I read your posts.

        1. Thank you Dee and Rebecca, I wish I could make a heart symbol here, like you can on facebook!

        2. Again Chris, you give me so much to think about. Thanks. I too, don’t know where I would be without this study, but I don’t need to know because God brought me here!

        3. He brought me too Dawn, it is nice to see your picture!

  36. Chris,
    I really agree with what you wrote, especially, “Satan wants me to believe that to hurt and question and struggle is sin, but it is not. I am not bitter.” He tries that with all of us.

    what did your friend mean about heart surgery with a butterknife? It is the butterknife that I am not sure I know what she is referring to.

    1. Terri,

      I think it means that it would be extremely painful to have heart surgery this way.

      1. That’s my take on it too Laura and Terri, that as we walk by faith and God shows us our sin layer by layer, it takes a longer time than we want it to,to overcome and it is very painful.

  37. 11. I have always loved the last chapters of Job when God ‘arrives’. They are the most majestic poetry about the works of God. I never liked trudging through the rest of the book, it is so painful, with all that Job went through and the advice of his friends. But even in my ignorance I knew that you can’t have the last part without the first and now I understand that better. The suffering of Job set the stage for God’s glory to be displayed (having trouble with the words). I think that is what Job is saying in 42:5, he knew of God but through his suffering and then God’s revelation of Himself, he saw Him. Maybe this is what suffering can do in our lives if we ‘pass the test’ and handle it right. Maybe we can actually see Him.

    1. I hope so Anne

  38. Ladies

    There is a song by Selah that has been running through my head all week. Its by Selah and its called You deliver me. Not sure how to post the link on here but its on you tube if anyone is interested in listening to it.

    God Bless

  39. Anne, what you said in regard to Job that there are times you can’t have the last part where God reveals himself without the first part-the trial-the pain-the struggle. I wonder if it is almost impossible without the struggle.

    1. That is what I am contemplating. And maybe Job’s lost children were replaced (though that doesn’t seem quite the right word) by God Himself.

      1. hmmm..yes..good..I wonder if ‘doubled’ or ‘enhanced’ is closer?? Not sure. 😉

  40. Renee if you are reading, I hope you will comment soon. I am thinking of you.

    1. me too.

  41. I read some post and my heart felt pain with you all. I am praying for you, dear sisters. God is in control and He is caring and warming you with His whole heart. God bless!
    my love, Polly
    Dee, God bless you for all that you are providing here. May God multiply these fruits. polly

  42. My take away?

    I have always lamented, just didn’t know that was what I was doing(!)

    I still have much to learn because I don’t understand why I am going through such pain with my daughter at every waking moment. I can’t seem to let go and let God take control because I am always fearful that she will harm herself or others, or get killed or raped or some horrible tragedy will occur because she isn’t all “there.” God didn’t give her much of a brain and I tend to fill in for her.

    Any of the above could happen and just like Job I would need to humble myself and realize that God has a plan and is in control no matter what ends up happening.

      1. Amen, Laura

  43. Chris, I have been thinking today about our discussion about not measuring up. I am not sure I was clear about how I found healing in this. It was not in the trying harder to do a good job in all the things I do. I tried harder for years and failed continually. What I had to do was give each and every failure to God and ask Him to fix my mess. And you know, He did, and I think it was what He was trying to show me all along. He was teaching me how His yoke is easy and His burden light. We don’t have to do it all, He is here to help us. Lately I have been seeing how I was trying to cover myself with idolatry. It is hard to explain but I was always trying to make myself feel better when what I should have done was to repent and trust Him to heal my life.

    1. Anne, Love this…..”but I was always trying to make myself feel better when what I should have done was to repent and trust Him to heal my life”.

    2. But isn’t even that something you had to work at doing? I mean the giving of your failures to God?

      1. I wouldn’t call it work. It was more of a ceasing to work and accepting my weakness. I wasn’t really good at anything and I think God allowed failure in my life so I would see it. I became like a weaned child in her mothers lap. Letting go of all the things I thought a ‘good’ Christian mother/wife/nurse/friend should be/do was painful. I think that was the weaning. I have a friend who has great trauma in her life and my instincts were not good on how to support her through it. I did not feel that I had really been a good friend to her. She recently told me that she loves to be around me because she can really see Jesus in me. It brought me to tears and was a revelation for me. This is what I want. It is where the rest is. Jesus in me. But I can’t have that when I am ‘working’ at perfection. I am so imperfect and Jesus knows that. He wants to cover me instead of me trying to cover myself which is what led me to idolatry.

  44. I found out that my nephew’s girlfriend was transfered to Kansas to a rehab center for 60 days. That is good news…I pray it will help, but she was gone before I could visit and now I will have to find out where she is exactly and mail her a bible and a book. Thanks for your help with this.

  45. I have been out of town but have been reading and “working” on the questions this past week. Like many of you I have also lost my mother. Her death followed an 8 year battle with cancer that was such an emotional roller coaster for all our family. An added challenge was that my Dad is a pastor and I can tell that some of you out there know what it is like to be part of the ministers “family”! At my Mom’s funeral these verses were read from Job Chap.1 vs 20-22: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” Throughout my Mom’s illness the Lord taught me many hard lessons. Lessons I did not want to learn at the time!One of those lessons is that when I am weak then He is strong- I don’t think we can truly learn to know God in His strength until we allow ourselves to be humbled by our own weaknesses.

    Q. 2- David did not run to his idols to worship or try to “produce” his own answers or attempt to reduce or simplify that which was impossible to comprehend- instead he quieted his soul in submission before the Lord and acknowledged that God is indeed sovreign and many of His ways are beyond our understanding.
    My take away from Week 2 was: Knowing “about” God is not comforting or even convicting but knowing God is both!