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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. Going back to last week – I just listened to the first Midday Connection program and what stood out to me was :
    How smart people will prepare for the storms before they hit. We need to be praying through the Psalms, through Scripture, and HAVE OUR THEOLOGY STRAIGHT before the storms come.
    The hymn It is Well With My Soul, when sung by Kim Hill at Dee’s speaking engagement; Dee said that it didn’t feel well with her soul, but she knew this was truth.
    Listening to the different versions of the hymn on the program, lingering over the phrase “it is well with my soul”; my thought was that in the midst of horrific tragedy, we can say this if we are right with God. That’s got to make all the difference.
    I liked that Anita Lustrea called Dee “a modern day psalmist” – we get to read over Dee’s shoulder in the very personal journal entries in her book. God used Dee’s nephew who teaches creative writing to urge her to include those journal entries in her book!
    Sally’s definition of attachment disorder, and how Satan always tries to cause it when we suffer. But Sally said she is beginning to “see the pattern” of Satan’s tactics – he does the same thing over and over.
    If God takes away the stuff, do we still love Him?
    I had listened the first time this aired, but it was wonderful to go back and re-listen and glean even more this time!

  2. Good morning friends–I cheated and jumped ahead to listen to the Michael Card clip before heading off to church this morning–oh, what a GIFT. Thank you Dee!

  3. There is an Amy Grant song that keeps lingering in my head today–wanted to share: http://youtu.be/PDkL-hC74gc
    It’s called ‘Carry You’ and the lyrics are so fitting I think, I hope it blesses you too-

    Lay down your burden I will carry you
    I will carry you my child, my child
    Lay down your burden I will carry you
    I will carry you my child, my child

    Cause I can walk on water…
    Calm a restless sea
    I’ve done a thousand things you’ve never done
    And I’m really watching
    While you struggle on your way
    Call on my name, Ill come

    I give vision to the blind
    I can raise the dead
    I’ve seen the darker side of hell
    And I’ve returned
    I’ve seen those sleepless night
    And Count every tear you cry
    Some lessons hurt to learn

    1. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth! I will take a listen to it!

      1. Meg–glad you’re still here–I’ve been praying for you!

        1. thanks elizabeth for praying for me!

    2. Elizabeth thank you for sharing. The music video and lyrics blessed me today. I love Amy’s music. Today it was wonderful to think of Jesus carrying me; what a wonderful truth to carry in my heart, especially when Satan is pounding me.

      1. Silverlene, it honestly blesses me to hear that He used that for you. I am reminded to pray for you several times throughout my day–when I first read your story I was so moved, I wrote your name on a sticky note above my desk to remind me, yet He brings you to mind so often I never need it–you are here with many who want to carry this burden with you somehow, lifting you up in prayer.

        1. Elizabeth you are such a blessing. Thank you for your prayers it is such a comfort to know our children and i are covered by prayers.

    3. That was so beautiful. Elizabeth:) (The Amy Grant song)

    4. Thank you, Elizabeth. This is a favorite of mine.

  4. 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.
    My journey through infertility was a very lonely, hurtful time—whispers from those around saying it was my fault, voices within me of shame, and yet as I look back, I would want it no other way—to have the children I have been blessed with, to have experienced adoption, I feel like I got the ultimate ‘special treat” from my Abba! (hard to fit all that into one sentence 😉
    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?
    Wow–it’s beautiful. In the beginning I was struck by the gentle humility in her voice, and then her cries of “My Lord”, and finally by the joy, the peace she has—the stilled soul at rest that comes from loving Him for who He is and not His gifts.

  5. Dee I can so readily identify with your commentary on denial. In many ways my head knows my husband is gone, but I am still in denial. One month ago, at the six-month mark I had a major meltdown sitting at my desk at work. It seemed that all of a sudden I was hit with the knowledge that everything had just happened. I felt a sharp pain in my chest and then it seemed to move all through my body. All I could do was put my head on my desk and sob. It seems that I am struck with this feeling often at night, which keeps me up or causes me to wake up. I often find myself curled up in a fetal position on one side of the bed; it is the only way I can cope. I am feeling quite overwhelmed and anguished today. To date my response to all of this has been to withdraw from everyone; as a result I have few friends or family I am able to talk to. It seems that everyone wants me to move on, but it is hard to move on from something that my heart screams daily is not so. I dream of waking up and finding out I have been dreaming. My anguished spirit does not feel God’s presence.

    1. I am so glad Dee is ministering to you through the telling of her experience of suffering; I hope you feel you are not alone. Praying for you!

    2. Silverlene, My heart aches for you….I have not forgotten you either…you are in my prayers.

    3. Silverlene,
      I ache with you dear. I too have withdrawn. Well meanning people want me to feel better. It is too much, I don’t feel better. As the denial begins to wear off I feel worse. I have been amazed that I can move about and function when I seems a giant hole is in the middle of me. I imagine that it is about the size of a bowling ball, through my midsection and that it is just gone, like you could see right through me there. It is remarkable that I can move about and eat and such missing this part of me that feels gone forever.
      I am sorry to know your suffering too.

      1. Thank you Susan, Joyce, Dee and Chris S. for your prayers. I am so thankful to be able to just be me and not have to “put on my face” for others.

        Chris S. I so understand your description of the ‘ache’ and the feeling of being not connected to this world in the midst of grief. I also now know that most people cannot understand and as Dee says they think they are helping.

        I am praying for you; may we both have the peace to travel this journey at our pace.

  6. 1-Yes when I was very sick with Lyme disease. I could barely function. I wondered where God was but looking back He was there all along showing me Himself as Jehovah – Jireh my provider, Jehovah rappa my Healer, The God who sanctifies, and many other aspects of His character. Many forsook me but He never did even in His silence. I have a much more amazing relationship with Him because of it. It is more special now.

    2-Loved how beautiful that song was put together like a lullaby to our soul. Goes great with the Psalm.

    Elizabeth loved your testimony of God’s faithfulness.

    Silverlene- Sweet sister I am praying God will make His presence known to you. I am so sorry you are experiencing this. Trust He is there even though you cannot see or feel Him now. Cling to Him. I too withdraw when I feel the way you do. It can be dangerous. I pray God will put gentle people who will reach out to you in your life and give you strength to reach out yourself. So glad you are here. Sometimes online is easier to express grief and pain. We are here for you.

  7. 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?
    He will not be proud…Will not let his eyes be haughty(judgmental) or his mind overwhelmed with things he does not understand…
    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.)
    Oh this is good…He is saying He will be in perfect surrender. No idols of the heart for him. No need for approval of man, control of the situation, or coveting others things. Surrendered in God’s care is where he is.
    3. What does David say he has done in verse 2? He has calmed and quieted His soul. His hope is in God. That is where ours needs to be as well no matter what.

    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? well they did not like it. They still sought after the breast and fussed. However, once they realized they could get a better thing or more from a cup they readily took it. This applies to me because I think small. I want the small thing when God has the best bigger thing for me if I just let go of the small thing. I need to trust and let go of any other security beside Him.

  8. 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. Yes, when my best friends mom died suddenly this past February. (she was like a second mom to me) i felt like he wasnt there and that he didnt care about me and i was asking him why? It was very suddden. But now that i have gone through Grief share i have a better understanding and that he was with me the whole time.

    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? it brought me great comfort

  9. 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? He doesnt concern himself with great matters or things too wonderful for him; like a weaned child is my soul in me.

    3. What does David say he has done in verse 2? Like a weaned child is my soul in me; he has calmed and quieted his soul5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3?

    5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3? Who is this darkness counsel by words without knowledge; Now prepare yourself like a man I will question you and you shall answer me.

  10. do the video’s come with sound? or are they supposed to be silent?

  11. A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2? I know that you can do everything and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you.

    B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2? That God can do everything and it was God’s purpose that my best friend’s mom died

    C. What does Job say in verse 3? who is this who hides counsel without knowledge,therefore i have uttered what i did not understand, things too wonderful to me, which i did not know.

    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? I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.

    F. What does Job do in Job 42:6? Abhors himself and repents in dust and ashes

  12. 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?

    He will not be prideful in his heart, nor have a look of arrogance in his eyes. He knows there are things he cannot understand, and trusts in God’s wisdom.

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION:

    David has laid down the idol of self. He isn’t prideful, he isn’t sitting on the throne of his heart. His affection is on the Lord.

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

    He has calmed and quieted himself. This is so key for me. I think in my relationship with God, I do way too much of the talking, and not enough listening (actually applies to all my relationships!) But David quiets himself, so that he can hear.

    4. ANOTHER CHALLENGE QUESTION: What do you know about “weaning” a child?

    Having never given birth, I have not experienced this, other than weaning from a bottle, but that’s different!
    But I’ve thought about the metaphor often—am I a squirming baby demanding what I think I need, crying so loud I cannot hear His voice,…or am I growing into a daughter who lets Him hold me, comfort me, and remind me I have all I need in His arms, enjoying Him, not seeking for Him to give me something, but instead just resting in the warmth of His presence? I have to be quiet to hear Him tell me, be still and know that it is in fact God who is holding me.

  13. I’ve got to share what I experienced today; like many “kisses from the King”…
    Early this morning I listened to last week’s Midday Connection, at the end of the show, Dee and Anita talked about a modern praise song, “Blessed Be Your Name”, and the phrase from that song; “You give and take away… my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name…” I remembered that we’ve sung that in my church in the past, and I had a fleeting thought that wouldn’t it be a neat confirmation to my heart if we sang it this morning at church.
    Wouldn’t you know, Blessed Be Your Name was one we sang today! We also sang “Be Still My Soul”, and the one line that spoke to me especially from that was “Be still my soul, thy Jesus can repay, from His own fulness, all He takes away.”
    Our pastor was finishing his sermon series on the book of James, and all the worship music was about suffering, enduring, and praising the Lord. It just all fit together this morning for me. Something the pastor said in his sermon about depending on God; he used the example of when a child runs to her father when she’s hurt; she doesn’t run to him to show that she is dependent upon him, her running to him shows her dependence upon him.
    So in reflecting on all these hymns (Be Still My Soul, Blessed Be Your Name, It is Well With My Soul, and now Psalm 131), it seems to me that suffering leaves us stripped naked as it were of everything we’ve clung to; the “trappings” of this life become unimportant and the only thing remaining is our soul crying out to God.
    Lastly, tonite I got out a scrapbook I’d made in high school of different things, and one item in there was a card I’d got on my 13th birthday from the volunteer coordinator at the nursing home where I was volunteering that summer. The card said “Jesus loves you, you are precious in His sight”, and Annette had also written, “Never forget this”.
    I have always remembered her giving me a little New Testament, but I’d forgotten about this card and didn’t know I still had it. I had those words filed away in my brain because that’s the first time in my life I’d ever heard those words; that was one of the first seeds planted in my heart!
    I think this answers the first ice-breaker question – there are many times I don’t “feel” like Jesus is near, but then He sends me lots of “love messages” like these to let me know He is always with me!

    1. This is very true
      “suffering leaves us stripped naked as it were of everything we’ve clung to; the “trappings” of this life become unimportant and the only thing remaining is our soul crying out to God”

      Thank you for sharing your hymn story

    2. Oh, Su,
      so truth what you said-
      “there are many times I don’t “feel” like Jesus is near, but then He sends me lots of “love messages” like these to let me know He is always with me!”

      I’m crying… yes, He send lots of “love messages”! so truth, dear!
      polly

      1. Good to have you here with us, Polly! It’s always great when you join in!

    3. Really liked this Susan, “it seems to me that suffering leaves us stripped naked as it were of everything we’ve clung to; the “trappings” of this life become unimportant and the only thing remaining is our soul crying out to God.”

    4. Susan, thanks for sharing about your “kisses from the king”. I love the way you expressed what He did for you. I will probably borrow or steal that expression because that is what it feels like when he blesses us unexpectedly like that.

  14. B. Amy Shreve’s song does sound like a lullaby to the soul; the music is soothing and the first lines she sings from the psalm about my heart is not proud and my eyes are not haughty, and then it ends with my soul is like a weaned child; the soul could not find rest like that until it lays down pride and the trying to figure everything out – mysteries that are too great for our understanding.
    Like in Blessed Be Your Name, the line “my heart will CHOOSE to say, Lord blessed be Your Name”, we have to make a choice to either continue to flail our fists at God or to press into Him and allow Him to comfort us.

  15. Read Psalm 131.

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

    David tells God that he will not be prideful in his heart, he will not look around with haughty eyes like he’s better than everyone else, and he will not try to figure out God as if he could understand all His ways; he submits to the fact that there are things his mind can never understand.

    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)

    He has laid down his idols of power and control and given God His rightful place in his heart.

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

    “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother.”

    This is amazing that this great, powerful king kept his childlike trust in God.

    4. What do you know about “weaning” a child?

    It can be really hard on both mom and baby! But eventually, it is necessary for their healthy growth. Something they think they can’t live without has to be taken away so they can grow and mature.

    How might you apply this to your life?

    It’s usually through trials and suffering that I experience spiritual growth.

    1. Hi Night Owl! I really enjoyed your experience you had yesterday morning! So awesome !

  16. 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.

    I was in denial when Isaac was diagnosed with Autism-I believed he had it, but was in denial that I was in denial that I felt abandoned by Jesus. Oh He was with us in so many ways, so many times. In particular He came to us through an older couple we were being mentored by, Bob and Nancy. When we found out Isaac had it Bob lovingly said that God wired Isaac this way, it is by no accident he has autism and God has a plan and a purpose for Isaac, and his autism is part of it.” – Those words were SO comforting to me. When I look back, that was God speaking to us through our friend Bob.

    1. I love that God often chooses to use people to speak to us. Thank God that he gave you godly mentors and Bob was able to speka truth into your life when you were unable to. I have been there many times and that is why having relationships with others is so important for me.

    2. Those words also bring comfort to me…I still fall back into denial when things seem normal and okay then it comes out again…I wish I could just accept it. Maybe it is that we never got the official dx yet because we are watching and waiting if she grows out of this literal thinking phase…It only solidifies so I know it is what it is. it is okay. God has a perfect plan.

  17. 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.

    I have not been able to feel Gods presence in my trial, I have felt unable to connect, like the light of His love that I used to sense has gone behind thick dark clouds.
    But I have seen his hand on our circumstances.

    The day before our tragedy struck I have gone to my Moms in Touch group. A friend who was not usually a part of the group stopped in. She shared with us a story that had happened years before but I had not known of. Her brother had been murdered, poisoned by his wife. I thought and wrestled a lot about the painful struggle it would have been for them to on, knowing she was alive and showed no remorse.

    Bill and I went car shopping for me that same day. We filled out paperwork for a car loan for a brand new car. I had a well paying job at the time, but one that made me miserable. The standard of perfection expected was unattainable; no error was allowed to pass without it being held up before all the staff. Everyone working there was under incredible pressure.
    I began to tear up as we waited in the room for our paperwork to process, I told Bill I could stand to go to work there as long as I knew I did not HAVE to go to work there, I felt so strongly that I did not want a car payment to bind me to that job. We left the lot telling the salesman we needed to think about it. We had money to put down, I wanted to find a less expensive car we could pay cash for or would require just a very small loan for. We were at another car lot, when a Craig’s list seller Bill had contacted called him back. We went to see the car right away It was a used car of the same make and model as the new one we put $ down on it that day, it was $14,000 less than the new one had been, and had low mileage. I feel as though God protected me her, I never worked another day at that job.

    We had benefited from some investment moves Bill had made with his retirement account and had drawn out some of the money, the morning of the day Daniel was injured, we had paid off our credit card debt.

    Also that same morning I had been reading Psalm 107.
    I was feeling uneasy thinking of the family whose son was murdered and agonizing over the words of this Psalm that show God afflicting people so that they will cry out and he can rescue them.

    Psalms 107-150
    1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this– those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. 10 Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. 12 So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. 13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 16 for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. 18 They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. 21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. 22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy. 23 Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. 24 They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. 25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. 26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. 27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. 29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. 31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. 32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders. 33 He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, 34 and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. 35 He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; 36 there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. 37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; 38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. 39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; 40 he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. 41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. 42 The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. 43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.

    I am still struggling with it, but I know all of this was not by accident, that God was not surprised by what we would wake to in the early hours of the next morning.

    1. Thank you, Chris for posting that, it was so meaningful. Praying for you.

  18. The sharing on here is beautiful. I am teary eyed seeing how God is moving in your life Chris. Thanks so much.

  19. Good Morning Friends!!

    I could really use some prayer. We had some severe storms back the end of may ( I live in vermont) and ever since that night i have been scared of the rapture etc.. For a few weeks i was haing trouble sleeping at night and then i was fine and now my stomch is in knots alot. I rebuke satan in the name of Jesus and tell him to get lost. But i still have butterflies in my stomach? could it be that the Lord is wanting me to trust him. Yes i know that we can think sometimes about what it will be like when the Lord coems back or the rapture happens but we cant let it ruin our days and that is what is happening to me! Everyday I am so fearful and i pray to the Lord to give me his peace. He does and then it comes back to my mind again and again. Thanks Friends

    1. Praying for you right now Meg–that the God of all comfort will surround you with His peace, quiet your soul, and bring you rest. I will specifically pray for you at night as well, that you may rest without fear. I know how the night can be so difficult, I often feel most attacked in my mind in the dark of night. I’m thankful you shared, and pray today will be a new start for you–of looking forward to each day with trust, hope, joy.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth!

    2. Meg, just know that many of us are going to be praying that the God of all peace will give you peace and rest in him.

    3. Praying for you, Meg

      1. Thanks Ladies for praying for me!

    4. Praying Meg. I used to struggle with fear often. I just kept doing the same thing and quoting Scripture like God did not give us a spirit of fear but one of power, love, and a sound mind…And to cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me and God is love, perfect love casts out fear. I would say that over and over and over…Finally one day it took and settled in my heart. I have had peace since. I am praying God will settle that in your heart as well. He is with you and will never leave or forsake you.

      1. Thank you Angela

  20. 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.
    About 16 years ago, my husband was pastoring a church with a lot of internal problems. I was distraught and felt so alone, wondering why God brought us there for this, and where was God–we had prayed so much and our prayers were not being answered. I went to a retreat and when spending some time alone, was directed to Psalm 91 and saw it in a new way that day. “He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress and my God in whom I trust.” For the first time, I realized that when I am in a dark place, it may be because the Lord’s very presence is casting a shadow over me. The darkness is caused by his nearness. That gave me such comfort and it allowed me to go through the next couple years in confidence, when my husband was without a job because the church closed. I clung to those verses. I am so glad you asked that question, because how could I forget the impact that these verses had on me. they should cause me the same confidence today.

    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 love the peacefulness of the song, and the verse that says, I have stilled and quieted my sould like aweaned child with it’s mother. My daughter is trying to wean her 15 month old son and he is always concerned if he doesn’t see his mom. Am I like that with God sometimes, when I don’t see him, I am fretful and worried? Lord help me to quiet my soul, like a weaned child.

    1. I loved, Terri when you said-
      “For the first time, I realized that when I am in a dark place, it may be because the Lord’s very presence is casting a shadow over me. The darkness is caused by his nearness. That gave me such comfort and it allowed me to go through the next couple years in confidence.”
      My husband is a pastor and we have only six years of ministry. Sometimes the problems are so difficult… so, thanks for sharing and teaching, dear! I’ll remember what you said here. …engraved on my heart.
      loved: “…to go through the next couple years in confidence!” aleluia! teachings of the Father leads us to walk firmer.
      love, polly

      1. Polly, thanks for sharing and know that I will be praying for you, your husband and your church situation. I wish I could give you hug, but for now a virtual hug will have to be enough. Hugs to you my sister.

        1. thank you, sister terri!

    2. Love your testimony of Terri!

  21. 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.

    Yes, After my 2nd husband left me with my three little ones, mom kept everything done for us as I just rocked Kendra in disbelief and cryed and prayed. I honestly didn’t feel like God was with me, because he allowed my husband to leave us and gave me a baby, not “perfect”. Beside’s all that, we lost our home and our car, (and a antique car my brother gave me) and our health insurance. He had let everything lapse in payment and used our cars as collacteral, and the banks took them. I was left with no husband, no health ins. with a disabled child and had to move from our nice home to a rental in town and no car. I wasn’t working, and needed to get a job. Besides all that my dad was dying, and I lost a dear fiend. My dad loved Kendra so much, and died when she was one year old. Dad was so hurt to think we were alone now, after he thought I was going to be fine now (Out of that abusive marriage). Trevor was only 5 years olds and didn’t really understand what was happening, but Kyla was 8 years old and she took it all personnaly and started having anxiety attacks and needed counceling. Kyla and Trevor gave their hearts to the Lord then. I felt like the Lord had turned his back on me.
    Dee’s husband and the other Doctors gave me a job (Dee got me) at the clinic and payed most my hospital bills and put us all on insurance right away. My brother loaned us a car and mom babysat the kids. After dad died (I didn’t get to say goodbye and be with him then), mom was so lonesome she slept on our couch for 3 months and would only go to her house…only to get the mail and check it. I was still grieving about everything, so I was glad to have her there.
    This is way more than a sentance long! But Dee made our christmas’s for us for a couple years and gave and gave and gave. I ask “How can I ever repay you?” She said, “By helping other’s in need.” I’ve taken every opportunity to do that, since then. But, now that I look back on it all, I can see Jesus’s hand in it all. He was there with me all along and I began to feel closer and closer to him, and he protected and provided for the kids and I. I am walking a much closer walk with God. I looked back over those years and realize now, that it took all of that pain and sorrow to realize how blessed I was and how he was working in our lives every minute. I got to have my mom for 20 more years, untill 2-09. God blessed me with Kendra’s daddy now…only daddy she knows and he takes care of “his girls”!
    I can see now, how it was all in God’s plan! The kids real father, was not a good daddy, and God allowed me to have my children and then gave me the best husband and daddy for my kids. He had two the ages of my older two (his wife left him, same time my husband left us!) and he was fine with all the 4 older kids, but worried about taking on Kendra! Only God knew, he would be closest to Kendra and she loves her daddy so much!! The older kids were the problem! They would fight and there was so much jealousy, it was awful. But we got through it and they are all close now. It’s just us three at home now.
    Even tho you feel that God is not there with you, he is and he knows what’s best for you.
    It’s so hard to see that, tho when your going through the pain and grieving. My sister-in-law is dying and My brother is crying right now, as he has her home for the week-end. We have been there, and it is terrible. I am sure that my brother is not feeling blessed now. Hopefully, one day, we can look back and see that God was good and all thing’s worked out for the best.
    I’m praying for all of you that are grieving so badly now. It doesn’t seem possible that anything would be for the good anymore. Please Father, help those grieving so much, to keep their focus on you, to lead then out of the darkness and into the light again. Please help us all to be reunited with out loved ones that have gone before us, one day and have all of eterinty to Praise our Lord and be togehter!

    1. Joyce,
      You so remind me of Joni Eareckson Tada. You have been through much suffering in your life. And you never neglect to reach out to others and have compassion for them and you can understand grief and sorrow because you’ve suffered deeply, too. People relate to Joni because she suffers and is someone who can understand.
      You never fail to inspire me!

    2. Oh Joyce, what a testimony! So beautiful. You are so full of wisdom here. God has done amazing work in your life.

    3. Joyce, your sharing has blessed me. I am so glad we met. You are a sweet sister!

  22. I just read the study now. And I cried, cried …
    … touched my heart so deeply. Especially in part:
    “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 remembered when I felt very much fear for several nights after that thief entered the area of my house. I was afraid to sleep. I want Jesus more closely. I did not feel my trust in God. I was not alone. My husband was with me. But the feeling I had is that there was no place for refuge.So I remembered that trust not only be linked to feelings. So I started to pray and pray. So it was when I read Psalm 27 verse 4 and my heart burned (And God in His infinite mercy made me feel). It was all I wanted to escape into the arms of my Dad…and I cried in the arms of my Lord.
    “One {thing} have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD”

    1. Praise God, Pollyanna!

  23. 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 have the CD from the study book, so I listened to the whole song a couple times. It lulls me into a quite and peaceful contentment. Like the words in the song, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at it’s mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul.”

    These are the words from my bible in Psalms 131, not the song, so they may be different, but still calming and a song of a humble and a quiet heart.

  24. ICEBREAKERS:
    A. When my mother began to have dementia we did not understand what was happening to her. We thought she was depressed or still having difficulty with menopause. One weekend when Al and I were visiting she went into a full blown psychosis and it scared me to death. Never had anything upset me as that did and I think that may be because it was at that moment, I lost my mother, at least that security. But that was only the beginning of a very difficult road to her death. Yet in those last 5 years there were times of such sweetness. I would so love to have my mother with me today, but I trust that God in His wisdom and mercy took her when He did and in the way that He did. In my heart I am convinced that it was her childish heart that accepted Jesus when her adult heart never did. Another way that I can see that He was with me is that He prepared me. Just a few years prior I read James Dobson’s book ‘When God Doesn’t Make Sense’ and had the conviction that I was being prepared for something. It did prepare me by teaching me that I may not understand God’s ways. I don’t remember the book well because it was so long ago but somewhere I learned how to bring my distress to Him instead of letting it turn me away.

    B. Oh this is excellent after coming through the study on idolatry. The fretting of a child being weaned is very like the unrest in my soul when my idols are removed. She is speaking to her soul and calming her. Reminding herself that she needs none of those things. She is a child in her father’s arms. He will provide what she needs.

      1. Thank you Dee. You are a treasure and blessing to me.

    1. Anne, loved your story, but so sad about your mom. I pray Mary Kay doesn’t stay here in this way she is now for 5 years. She does seem like a child now, with short attention span and understanding. I’m so sorry about your mom. Love you.

      1. Thank you Joyce. Mary Kay does seem to be advancing much faster. I’m sorry. Still praying for all of you.

        1. Thank you, Anne

  25. I agree with the study that the 2nd year is hard. My nephew died July 31 2009. My family was here for the 4th; I caught my mom looking out into the yard, she seemed lost in another world. On the phone later tonite, she said she was imagining seeing Thomas running around the backyard – the last 4th of July he was with us, he was playing catch with the football with my son. As time goes on, I realize he’s never coming back. This is forever.
    Chris and Silverene, I am hopeful that being able to honestly share your feelings here will help with your healing. You both have suffered unimaginable losses. I can sense the heaviness and pain when reading your words. To say it’s hard doesn’t even begin to describe it. I pray God will meet each one of you at the point of your deepest need.

    1. I am praying for you, Susan, Chris and Silverlene, too, as you have all suffered great losses and struggling so much. Deep down, I am trying to prepare myself for a terrible loss, with this study. I fear for my husband and Kendra’s Daddy, if the Lord takes him before me. He is Diabetic and has high blood pressure and sleep apnea. His feet bother him and so do his hips. He has lost about 30 lbs since May and still working on it. I have my bad back (still no better) and bad knee’s, so it’s really hard to lose weight. We want so badly to always be here for Kendra, but know that’s not going to happen, so we enjoy each day we have with her.

      Thank you Lord, that the fireworks finally stopped!

      1. Dear Joyce, somewhere in Jeremiah there is a verse that asks the question:”when has what you fear ever come upon you?” I have lost it for now but will find it again. When I do I will send you the reference. It came to me as a kiss one day. I think about it often and for me I have to say that none of the things that I fear have ever happened to me. The trials are always things I do not expect and God always see me through them. You encourage me with your ability to accept each day with its blessings and its trials, one day at a time. I will pray for Maurice and Kendra, and you.
        Love, Anne

      2. Joyce thank you. I will be praying for you and your family.

      1. Thank you Anne and Dee

    2. Susan thank you. It warms my heart every time I think of the sweet prayers my children and I are receiving.

  26. 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?

    The song as a whole represents a ‘quiet, contented soul’ who is resting in Jesus.

    What stands out to me is the purity of her voice along with the harp. It was like God made her voice and the harp to intertwine together so beautifully and He made this Psalm come alive with her music. I correct this a bit..The Psalms ARE alive already as they are the living breathing word of God..You know what I meant I hope. 🙂

  27. 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?

    He won’t let his heart get prideful, perhaps thinking he is the only one who can comfort himself when he is surrounded by trouble, or let his eyes get haughty or arrogant trusting in himself to save himself from calamity. He won’t keep his mind focused on the pursuit of trying to control things around him.

    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.)

    David ran from God for a long time and I think he was in bed with his comfort and control idols and his pride grew. He found a faux comfort and grew to think he could control things around him by running and on top of that by running he would find comfort. He learned it was only a quick fix and that underneath it grew death and destruction inside him. He found he couldn’t really rest in the ice cold arms of his comfort or control idols, the fear and anxiety only grew worse. So He let go and he fled and turned to God. He put his hope in God. I think the weaned baby is a perfect picture of this. He is now like a weaned baby who trusts God will truly satisfy his needs for security, comfort and control.

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

    He has quieted his soul. He has turned from trying to be in control and has given the reigns to God instead.

  28. 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.) He will not put himself in God’s place, he will not think that HE has it all under control and that’s why he can have peace, rather that GOD has it under control so he can have peace and not have to think about every thing.

  29. Reading Psalm 131..
    I love, so beautiful. Imagine the original version with the song. This psalm so beautiful and easy to read, but hard to learn. Show us that after a difficult time, we can walk safer and bring our feelings to God’s will. That’s maturity.
    I imagine the serenity, emotion, context, history memory of each step with God, when this psalm was written. What in fact represented each word to the servant of God. Because we know that as with a child, there are stages for weaning.. Weaning of ‘idols’, weaning our feelings… until the soul to be weaned. Thank God, He is teaching us to go on the path to maturity found in this psalm. He is teaching us, like Terri said … “… To go through the next couple years in confidence!”

  30. 5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3?
    God asked Job—“who are you to question Me?…be strong, be a man, pull it together and open your ears to listen to me now!”

    6. A. Job 38:12-13
    Have you given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place…? God is reminding Job, reminding us, of His incomparable power. He instantly humbles man—we think we can do so much, we think we have the wisdom and ability to control our lives, to make the right plans…but God reminds us, we have no power, we have nothing without Him. Who are we to ask why He does what He does, or why we can’t have this or that. God is GOD.

    **Even the morning would not know to come without God’s command, nor be able to without His power. And yet somehow we think our success or our gains are from our own abilities. Nothing, not even the morning, can come without God. I loved the video! I imagined God’s hand raising up as He slowly lifted the sun into the sky, shedding its light on what had been darkness, warming us with His presence. My favorite simple pleasure of summer is the feeling of the sun on my bare shoulders—ever since I was a kid, I have loved that feeling—like a warm embrace of our Father.

  31. 5-This passage in Job always humbles me…God is God and who are we to question? WOW. The verses that follow prompt my heart to worship. Even in the loss of my health this book got me through. The friends and how they were wrong in speaking to him, the pain, everyone against you…all these things I experienced and wanted to put God on trial yet God shows me He is crazy in love with me and over all.

    6-
    A-Have you commanded the morning and told it its place? Watching that video just makes this more real. How magnificent the sun is and how amazing it is exactly the right distance from our earth to sustain life here. How God has control over that. How He has that taken care of…Amazing.

    B-We were trapped this winter in a cabin. It snowed greatly in the south unlike anything we have seen here. I was in awe because God brought this to mind. MY daughter is afraid of lightning and thunder and we speak of these verses in the storm…It comforts her knowing God is in control.

    C-Amazing beasts…It is amazing how God is in control of even them…How they are beautiful and powerful/How the birds are so aerodynamic and soar on the wind…38:36 is amazing thinking of God putting wisdom in our minds. We only know what we know because of Him…It is grace. (thinking of your discussion with Sally about Voscamp’s All is grace statement. Beginning to believe this too in my heart.

    7a-I know you can do all things. 🙂
    b-God can do all things/No matter the circumstances He will comfort and be my all.
    c-LOVE this because it is like the Psalm…I will not ponder things too deep for my knowledge. Trust and surrender is key. We will never understand some things but we can TRUST.
    D- The Psalmist is saying he has surrendered.
    e-Job has now had a real personal experience with God. One that has shown him who God really is. That is life changing and one of the treasures we will find in the dark places.
    F-REPENT – Sounds like the deep heart idols were being removed here. 😉

  32. 8. What stood out to you from the program? The song by Anita Shreve… Be still my soul. I have a hard time quieting my soul. Also the story that Dee shared and how God is always right here with us.

      1. I am so glad that i am a part of this study too!

  33. 1. David will not be proud, haughty or involved in things too great or difficult for him.

    2. David is saying that he will hope in the Lord only, now and forever. Any of the things in #1 involve hoping in himself.

    3. David has trusted in and waited for the Lord. He is not asking for anything but waiting.

    4. A child who is not weaned wants only milk. It is all the child has ever known and been sustained by. The child can’t want any other food because he has known nothing else. But mother knows that there is a world of wonderful and nutritious foods awaiting him. When he is weaned the milk must be removed so that he can become hungry and then food can be introduced and appreciated.

    I might apply this to my life in a way that will help me to understand the dry times, the times when my spiritual sustenance seems to be cut off and God seems far away. If I wait and trust Him, He will introduce the next step for me.

  34. Listening to Midday Connection now. Love when Michael Card says:”We have got to stop wasting our suffering.” I need to meditate on that.

    1. Anne–what player are you using? I’m so sad I can’t get it to work! I had no trouble listening last week when it was the same day as the program–but I can’t get this week’s to work I tried itunes, media player, quick time…I also emailed them, but thought I’d see if you had a trick?
      Thanks!

      1. I didn’t do anything special. It is playing on Media Player. Try again because I think it does not come available until it has aired on all of their stations. It may be because you still have it on radio stations in your time zone. I am in Eastern Zone.

  35. 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

    This is in the lesson above, Elizabeth. I just clicked on it and found Dee’s # 2 program about her book . It’s in “past programs”.

    1. clicked on the link but still have to click on past programs

      1. Thank you–I had to fix a “corrupted file’ in media player, restart and all is good. I really don’t know what I did, but my “help” section on the computer was actually helpful 😉
        I think Satan was trying to frustrate me from listening because it SO blessed me to hear Dee and the music!!

  36. As I think about lament I remember this song sung by Amy Grant. http://youtu.be/0nMvvoXa9Yk

    1. I love this one too Anne–and it’s my 4 year old son’s current favorite!

  37. 8. What stood out to you from the program?

    Well, Indelible Grace is mine and my husband’s absolute FAVORITE group, and we rarely find anyone who has heard of them, so that was a definite high point for me to hear Matthew Smith and Sandra McCracken! 
    I loved Dee’s definition of lament—to tell God the truth about how I’m feeling. The analogy Dee used, that our natural response to pain to to back up, to back away as we do when we touch a hot stove. But He welcomes us to worship Him with our wounds, for He is wounded too—He KNOWS, He is the God of All Comfort, the God of all compassion.
    When Dee said there are so many things we think we can’t live without. But our weaning is realizing our solid rock, our only need, is God Himself. Our cries are a gift—it is part of the conversation.

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

    Oh, I LOVED this song. I loved how he said there is no worship without wilderness, that those who know sorrow are closest to His heart—he’s waiting for me in my wilderness. As Dee said in her reflection—He is here, he has been here all the time. He wants to join in a conversation with me about my pain. Suffering was used to save the world—it has redemptive qualities we cannot understand. But don’t waste your sorrow—He will use it for His glory.

    10. I listened last week and want to listen again. I have thought many times this week about what Keller said of looking back to the Cross–it doesn’t explain the reason for suffering, but it does tell us that our suffering cannot mean He just doesn’t care about us. His death proves He loves us enough to die a brutal death, be separated from God for 3 days, all because He loves us.

    11. What is your take-a-way from this week? Did God meet you in any way? If so, how?
    God wants, craves even, our authenticity. He knows the complexity, the depths He created in me, and He deserves nothing less than my raw, honest, real heart—my laments, my rejoicing, all of it, He longs for—it is the road to intimacy with Him. Not asking for anything but His presence.

      1. What;s funny is that when I first started reading your blog, hearing your heart for hymns…before I began reading the God of All Comfort, I had really thought about sending you one of the Indelible Grace CD’s! I just KNEW you would love them–so it was fun to hear you have that connection!

  38. Sorry my answers are all out of order now, but I got excited abut listening to the program!

    6)
    B. Reflect on the following video, Job 39:19-25 and write down what God asks of Job. Contemplations?
    ‘Do you give the horse its strength, it’s flowing mane, do you make him leap? …’
    What strikes me is the amazing complexity of horses—their graceful beauty, their fierce neigh, their gentle canter, their silky mane…the same animal that carried men in battle, carries young with tender trotting. I had never thought before how similar we are to horses. A horse, like man, is wild and must be broken and tamed, brought under submission to its master. The same body is capable of such complexity we cannot fathom, and yet still able to be brought under submission to the Creator.

  39. Dee, I listened to the midday about 4 times to take it all in! It was wonderful and I learnt so much.

    Michael Card said, “God use’s suffering to save the world.” Like Jesus’s used his suffering to save us. Also, he said, To stop wasting our sorrow and help other’s to find the Lord, through our sufferings.

    Dee told about when she talked to God about the truth of how she was feeling, the night she cryed out (when she was 21 and a new mom). She said , when you lament (share our anger, wounds, confusion), instead of backing up from God, there is a possiblity of dialog.
    Dee said also, When suffering, our souls are like fretful babies and female deer (easily startled and upset) and our souls can get like that and we can not listen to God…all we can do is cry and go over and over our worries and fears. Instead of wallowing in those fears, use the truth of the scripture to talk to our soul.

    When Amy sang, My heart is not proud, Dee said, “One of the big things when your suffering, whatever it is, and you can’t figure out “why”, because it doesn’t make sence, is to accept the mystery of suffering. It really is arrigant to say “because I can not figure out a reason for this suffering, God does not have one.” You have to accept the mystery of the suffering and just say, God I don’t know why, but I just have to trust you.”

    I loved the songs also by, Michael Card…”Come lift up your sorrows” and Babby Mason…”Trust his heart”. and Sandra McCracken…”I need thee”. Did I get those names and titles right? They were so beautiful and meaningful.

    Dee, you answered this question for me on Midday! 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?
    You said, “Part of weaning is speaking the truth to the soul, that our solid rock is NOT our marriage or loved one, (or whatever we lost), but is Jesus Christ, so we can go on, so when our world is shaken, we cling to that which CAN NOT be shaken.
    That spoke volume’s to me, because just last night I was worring about my husband’s health and mine and Kendra’s world without us. I need to speak the truth to my soul. Our solid rock is not each other, (or the breast or bottle as in weaning) or anyone or anything else….it is Jesus Christ, whom CAN NOT be shaken.
    It’s okay to go ahead and plan for her future here and do whatever we can, but “I don’t know why, I just have to trust you, God”

      1. You just help me so much, thank you, Dee

  40. 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?

    Be proud or haughty or think that he can answer the questions or figure it all out.

    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.)
    I think he was saying, God is God and he, David is not. David is submitting to God’s Lordship and he will be totally submissive to the Lord and to what the Lord has for him. That is something that may be easy to say when one is on the mountaintop experience with God, but I am afraid that the working out of it when we go through difficult times is not so easy. It seems easy when life if going as we planned with all our trappings of comfort and ease, whether it is health, prosperity, nice home, relationships, healthy families, job security, however these so often do become our gods.

    3. What does David say he has done in verse 2?
    He says he has stilled and quieted his soul.

    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 we are weaned we then go on to have different food, a variety of tastes and textures and flavors. When we are only on the milk of our mother, we can’t imagine wanting those things, they seem distasteful. When weaned, the things that once were distasteful bring pleasure and delight.

  41. 5. What does God say to Job in Job 38:2-3?
    I like how The Message says it-

    “Why do you confuse the issue?
    Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?”

    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.)
    Have you ever told the sun to rise, or the dawn to take its place– What arrogance I show when I think that I know what is best, or think that I can tell God what is what or what I “need” or what he should do. He is the one who put the sun in place and told it when to rise, put the moon and stars in place and tells them when to appear. Surely He knows what I need and what is best for me. I love this song by Nicole Mullins–it reminds me everytime I hear it that God is my creator and sustainer. (Copy the link and paste it in your browser to hear it)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC6RXAJpPjo&feature=related
    B. Reflect on the following video, Job 39:19-25 and write down what God asks of Job. Contemplations?
    Do you give the horse his strength, or clothe the horse, Can you make him leap and strike terror with his snorting, his strength.
    God has done such an amazing thing with all of creation, He has made the horse and all the animals and their ways.
    God, you made the horse with all his beauty and strength, and you know just how he will react and respond to things.

    C. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:36 and write down what God asks Job. God is the one who has given us wisdom and understanding. Contemplations?
    There is nothing that I have that God has not given me. I cannot take credit for anything that I know or understand, God is the one who made my mind work the way it does.

    1. Thank you for the link.. I also love this song.. and listening to it right now. Thanks Terri!

      1. Terri,
        I go ahead and do my study before reading all the posts here, I am afriad if I don’t I will never finish. I referenced the Nichole Mullins song too, It is one of my husbands favorites.

        I agree with this statement of your too “There is nothing that I have that God has not given me. I cannot take credit for anything that I know or understand, God is the one who made my mind work the way it does.”

    2. Love that song, Terri!

  42. 7. Read Job’s response in Job 42:1-6
    A. What is the first statement Job makes in verse 2?
    He said I know that you can do all things and your plans cannot be thwarted.
    B. Look at your pain, your loss. What can you speak to your soul on the basis of verse 2?
    He could have prevented my loss, if that had been in his plan. Nothing is too hard for him, so I have to trust that he saw this coming, and could have prevented it. My loss was part of his plan for me.

    C. What does Job say in verse 3?
    He understands now that when God asked him “who are you to disagree with my plans, that God had a right to do that and that Job spoke about things that he really didn’t 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?
    I like how The Message says it, “I’ve cultivated a quiet heart”. Cultivating is hard work, and it says to me that we can get to this place where we have “quieted our soul” but it takes time, it isn’t simple and without work.

    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.
    He had heard all about God, but now he has actually experienced Him in the most difficult times, in a totally life-changing way– going through the good times with God is exciting and amazing, but going through the “deep waters” with God has the power to bring your relationship with God to a different level.
    This verse has spoken to me again.

    F. What does Job do in Job 42:6?
    he repented– it says in dust and ashes, which to me says that his repentence was deep, and he showed outwardly what God was doing in his heart.

  43. 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?

    There are several areas. I have found that perhaps I wouldn’t have His peace without the struggles.

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

    I could be way off but maybe it was like God was saying to Job that he is lacking understanding by assuming that God is allowing him to go through this because of what he has done or not done right, as if it is a punishment or something. God is telling him he has no clue why God allowed it. Obviously, Job wasn’t there when Satan approached God to ask permission to inflict him and even Satan doesn’t know why God allowed him to inflict Job. Perhaps job is struggling with the loss still and with having to know ‘why’ like an unweaned baby and God is encouraging him to be still and trust Him. It is really o.k. that Job has no idea why.

      1. Dee, I am a bit foggy headed. 🙂 I think I started to get what you said about if God had told Job about the conversation with Satan, but am not fully understanding it. Are you saying that If God told Job about the conversation with Satan then Job wouldn’t be loving God for God but merely would be loving God to prove to the world that it is possible to love God for God? If that is right, I struggle with understanding how you go about proving to the world you love God? Yikes.. I am mixed up I think. 🙂

  45. I am hoping there is no right or wrong answer.. also i see alot of ladies with answers that are quit lengthy.. I have been a believer for 8 years.. But still kinds “new” to this stuff so i hope short answers are ok!

  46. 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?

    He will not be proud in his heart, he is humble. His gaze is not raised, I thought of a defiant toddler who decides to rebel and locks eyes with his parent. He refrains from trying to understand things that cannot be understood. (oh how I need to do this)

    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.)

    Davids hope was in the Lord, he was looking to and hoping in him. Even when things didn’t make sense, he didn’t stray from the path.

    3. What does David say he has done in verse 2?
    He has calmed and quieted his soul

    4. ANOTHER CHALLENGE QUESTION: What do you know about “weaning” a child? How might you apply this to your life?
    There is a small herd of beef cattle very near to us. When they separate the calves from their mothers they make the most mournful long low cries, it is heart wrenching to hear.
    Weaning my babies was never a traumatic event as I recall. I think I missed the closeness nursing supplies more than they did.

    I wanted to share with you what I wrote for Daniels Memorial service There were more than 700 people there;

    Daniels conception was not a planned one, and at this time it is so painful to recount how unwelcome it was to me. But as I have always said, he has been such a blessing. He was funny and tenderhearted and I loved him so much it breaks my heart now with unspeakable searing loss.
    I did not understand when I conceived him that my loving heavenly father was giving me a good and perfect gift. I do not understand now why he allowed this to happen to Daniel and to all of us. I do trust him however to bring us through this nightmare and to bring good out of it.
    Romans 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
    I do not believe that God has abandoned us, or is punishing us, I believe that he is fully aware of our great pain at the earthly loss of Daniel. One of the mysteries of God’s greatness is that he allows some things come to pass which he forbids and disapproves of and uses them to accomplish his purposes.
    My hope is that all of you will pause to acknowledge the brevity and fragility of life.
    James;13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
    Rather than shaking your fists at God and hardening your hearts, allow this tragedy to till the soil of your heart and make it soft and ready to receive the love that Christ holds out to each one of you.
    Daniel will live on in our hearts and memories, but so much more comforting is the assurance I have that he belonged to Christ, that he is healed and whole and I will see him again.

    I had mostly forgotten what I had written, seems that I was /am preaching the gospel to myself.

    1. Chris, I feel your pain and your daily struggle, as you write this. I’m so sorry.

    2. Chris, this is beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing.

  47. A. Two and a half years into my time on staff with Youth for Christ, I had to make a decision whether to continue in ministry or go home. God felt so far away and I realized that He was there all the time, guiding my steps.
    B. The song is all about peace in the midst of a storm. That is how I would like to be able to react when difficulties come – having a peaceful, still soul that only comes from knowing who is in control and that He will walk through it with me.
    1. He doesn’t think more of himself than is true. His heart is not proud, his eyes are not haughty, and he doesn’t try to overstep into things that are more than he can handle.
    3. He has composed and quieted his soul.
    5. Who is it that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Where were you when I created the world?
    6. A. Have you ever commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know it’s place?
    6B. Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is it’s place? Have you entered the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of hail? Where is the way that light is divided or the east wind scattered on the earth? Who has cleft a channel for the flood or a way for the thunderbolt?
    There is so much intricate detail to God’s creation – no one but God could have the capacity to understand it, let alone control it.
    6C. Who has put wisdom in the innermost being or given understanding to the mind?
    Even our tiniest thoughts, we don’t understand completely how they work.
    7. A. I know that You can do all things.
    7B. God is so much bigger than my circumstances and He can do all things in this situation.
    7C. I have declared that which I did not understand. Things too wonderful for me which I did not understand.
    7D. The psalmist is acknowledging that there are some things, that with his limited understanding, are too big for him to control or understand. And so all he can do is rest in the understanding that God is in control, and nothing is too big for God to control or understand.
    7E. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. I think that it means that he knew of God before but through this experience in his life, he has know experienced God in a way that gives him a clearer understanding of who God is.
    7F. He retracts all he has said and repents.

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

    Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
    Job 38:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
    Job 38:3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

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

    Reading this brought to mind that my husband brought this song up on his laptop in Daniels hospital room when we knew the fight was over;

    “My Redeemer Lives”
    Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
    And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
    And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
    Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

    Chorus:
    Well I know my Redeemer lives
    I know my Redeemer lives
    All of creation testifies
    This life within me cries
    I know my Redeemer lives

    Ye-e-eah
    The very same God
    That spins things in orbit
    Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
    And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
    They conquered death to bring me victory

    Now I know, my Redeemer lives
    I know my Redeemer lives
    Let all creation testify
    Let this life within me cry
    I-I-I know
    My Redeemer

    He lives
    To take away my shame
    And He lives
    Forever I’ll proclaim
    That the payment for my sins
    Was the precious life He gave
    And now He’s alive and
    There’s an empty
    Grave!

    And I know
    My Redeemer lives
    He lives
    I know
    My Redeemer lives
    Let all creation testify
    Let this life within me cry
    I-I-I know my Redeemer

    I know
    My Redeemer lives
    *I know my Redeemer lives*

    *I know, That I know, that I know, that I know, that I know
    He lives
    *my redeemer lives*
    *Because He lives I can face tomorrow
    He lives
    *I know, I know*
    He lives
    *I spoke with Him this morning!*
    He lives
    *The tomb is empty*
    He lives
    *He Lives! I’m going to tell everybody!!*

    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.)
    Just contemplation here
    Within the first few weeks home from the hospital we got a puppy , (a reason for me to get out of bed in the morning) and had invisible fence installed. We live on a road that has a 55 mile per hour speed limit and have lost 2 dogs to the road in spite of being careful. I could not take another loss. Our 3 year old puggle Cosmo was so traumatized by the invisible fence training that he had hives. He would not go anywhere near the fence boundaries, he was so distraught because he could not understand what was happening to him. I almost abandoned training him to the fence, because in my weakened emotional state I could not stand to see him so miserable. He didn’t realize that we were trying to keep him safe.
    I acknowledged even then that I was in the same boat as Cosmo. I did/do not understand why this happened to us. I do trust that God knows why. And yet I feel like I have trouble separating grief that’s okay from spiritual defiance. The counselor I was seeing told me I judge myself for my emotions, and that emotions are neither right nor wrong, that actions are what ought to base our judgment.

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

    God asks Job if he thought up and created horses, with all of their attributes.

    C. Reflect on the following video, Job 38:36 and write down what God asks Job. God asked Job if he gave animals their instincts.

    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

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

    D. That God has a purpose in what has happened, and that he can do anything, even restore my soul

    B. What does Job say in verse 3?

    Job 42:3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
    That he has spoken without understanding

    D. This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 131:2.
    Psa 131:2 “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content”

    E. What does Job say in Job 42:5. Job 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
    What does this mean? Jobs understanding of God has been sharpened and clarified by meeting him

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

    1. Chris, That was amazing, what your said above. Is that a picture of you and Daniel, in your picture box? I’m praying for you.

      1. Joyce you come like an angel in the night, blessing everyone you touch, your encouragment means so much, I am sure I speak for others here too.

        Yes the picture is of Daniels and me. We had a photographer take pictures of our whole family on vacation in December of 2009, there were 13 of us and we had to be there pretty early. It wasn’t going real well so I asked her to take some candid shots. It was a splurgee to spend $ on such a thing, and I was not really pleased that day when we saw our photos. I am so glad to have those pictures now.

  49. I got to read all your wonderful answers while I waited for Abby to take a placement test. I have been discouraged this week and your words have been such a balm to my soul.
    Praying for all of you who are hurting.
    I am struck by the fact that a nursing baby is most easily weaned when you have learned how to fill his/her belly with other good foods. All my kiddo’s weaned themselves because they liked the table food better……
    sooooo If we start filling our souls with meat…the milk will loose its atractiveness.
    thinking I need to start eating some more meat, I have cryed for the milk way to long.
    I have been trying to fill my soul with my husbands love and approval (milk) I need to be much more focused on filling it with Jesus (meat) and Going to HOLY SPIRIT to fill that longing in my deepest soul.

    1. hey friend–I’ve been praying for you, and now I will more specifically. I’m so sorry you’re feeling discouraged–but I do empathize, and will pray. I had a bad case of that last week, so I do feel your pain!

      You always amaze me though–how you can bop back in here and have such nuggets of profound truth and wisdom!!–“I am struck by the fact that a nursing baby is most easily weaned when you have learned
      how to fill his/her belly with other good foods. All my kiddo’s weaned themselves because
      they liked the table food better.”

      much love & prayers~

    2. Cyndi were you refering to my responses or someone elses?

      1. Never mind…I see now that you said “all” meaning everyone…I wish I could delete that post!

        1. no biggie:) we all post things we wish we could delete:) praying for you!!!

        2. No Chris, it was wonderful….your posts. You had me in tears reading both of them. I think it may help you writing these thoughts and answers down, in your grieving, and we are here to help you, by listening and praying for you.

    3. Cyndi, that is such a good comparison (milk/meat) it helps me to understand it all better. Praying for you!