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TO GOD AND TO THE LAMB, I WILL SING

 

“Each new morn

New widows howl,

new orphans cry…”

 

Suffering, Shakespeare knew, is a given in life.

Yet God has not hidden His face.

 

Earthquakes come to places they have rarely come.

Hurricanes increase in frequency and ferocity.

Yet God has not hidden His face.


Our own sins reap us sorrow

cut us to pieces

Yet God has not hidden His face.

 

When the storm is raging

When the terror and rumble of

the world, the flesh, and the devil

come to us

He asks us to come to Him

To find shelter under His wings

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, would that I could gather you under my wings

 

When we suffer

God is not punishing us

For He took that punishment

He is the Lamb of God

Who takes away the sins of the world.

Francisco de Zurbarán, The Bound Lamb

 

And when the mighty waters come

I will find refuge in Him

and to God and to the Lamb,

I will sing

I will sing

 

We are at the final week of The God of All Comfort, and it has been a privilege to journey with you. This week will be a review, and I have found that reviews are a way to truly etch truths in our hearts. I want to use pictures, for pictures penetrate the heart, and I will share from just a few of you who have journeyed long and faithfully with us. (Don’t feel slighted if I don’t share from you, for I may another time.)

Next week will be an individual study for the Labor Day weekend, and then we will return to The Stonecutter, which is about how God can remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. I will begin with a review, so if you haven’t been with us, please consider joining us, beginning on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Many of you have been so good at looking carefully at the artwork and photographs that illustrate a phrase from the psalms — and I am expecting that from you again. Take, for example, the beautiful photo Joyce sent me above of the mother bird shielding her babies. When Elizabeth looked at it, she wrote: I want to be the little bird on the right of the picture–eyes shut! trusting and only listening to His voice.

Seeing the Psalms by William Brown

One resource that I recommend to you in praying the Psalms is William Brown’s commentary: Seeing the Psalms.

Brown tells us to read the psalms “as a lover reads, lingering over the images.”  I truly believe this is the best approach to the psalms.

I have been in classes where the psalms are categorized and dissected, and left dead on the operating table.

This approach to the psalms reminds me of a comment Luci Shaw’s daughter Kristen made when she had to dissect a grasshopper in her high school biology class.

Knowing a grasshopper

AS IF THAT’S ANY WAY TO KNOW A GRASSHOPPER!

 

Likewise, we must let the psalms live.

We must let them come leaping into our hearts.

Let us linger over the images and  allow Him to penetrate our hearts.


ICE-BREAKER

A. What stood out to you from the above and why?

B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from the artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.

PART I. BIBLE STUDY REVIEW


1. Repeatedly in the psalms of lament, the image of drowning is used. That is how we feel. Silverlene, a new widow, expressed it so poignantly:

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.

A.  Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?

B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.

Our own Anne, in contemplating the above painting and Psalm 46, which is also filled with water images, said:

It makes me think of the unraveling of creation. The first thing I noticed about the painting is how the waves seem to have claws and the ability to grasp and pull in. Fear seems that way to me.

It was so interesting to me that Anne talked about “the unraveling of creation.” That’s what hurricanes, earthquakes, and death all are — yet God is also the One who can stop the storm, give a new earth, and give us a new raised body.

2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?

3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you?

4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.

A.  A Mighty Fortress

B. Be Still My Soul

Another famous “water hymn” is “It is Well with My Soul,” which Horatio Spafford wrote after his four daughters drowned. Our own Susan wrote:  Jesus takes note we are drowning and comes to shed His own blood to save us; the final day when the clouds are rolled back and He will descend; our sin being nailed to the cross and its awful burden is taken away!

Likewise, Joyce wrote: God is always there, even if he doesn’t answer your prayer like you think he should. And he rescues us, and even in the worst suffering, we grow closer to him and we become more intimate with him. He saves us from that awful drowning or frozen feelings and gives us “HOPE”.


Our own Chris, who lost her teenage son just a year ago, has, even in her fresh grief, been ministering to us. One thing she said that I hope we all have learned is:

I have realized that to be grieving tremendously is not sin.

She also told a story of seeing a painting like the above in the hospital emergency room when they were there with their son. She talked about how it comforted her.

5. Contemplate on the above painting and how it portrays Psalm 46. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer — whether it was a hurricane force or a lesser storm. (Terri confessed she felt guilty her storms were smaller — yet if we put these principles to work in the “smaller storms,” we will be better prepared for the hurricanes.)

6. There are four water pictures in Psalm 42.

A. Do you remember what they are? What do you learn from them?

B. The last was a waterfall with the famous phrase “deep calls to deep.”

What do you think this means and why?

7. In addition to the psalms, we considered the three appearances God made to Job, where “Deep called to Deep.” Most of us are familiar with the closing of Job, where God does not really answer Job, but points to the sunrise, the stars, and the seasons as evidence that He knows what He is doing. Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us.

8. In a relatively unknown passage in Job 14 we see the value of the lament, for God actually speaks to Job in his spirit. Do you remember what He tells him and how this shows God’s love for us?

7. The most famous passage, perhaps, becauses of Handel’s Messiah is Job 19 where Job has a vision of the day he will see His Redeemer on the earth. What did you learn about heaven that was a comfort to you?

When Tim Keller gets to the part in his sermon where it points to Christ, my heart always stills. I loved how Keller said that Job demanded to see God’s face and did. But “a greater Job,” when He hung on the cross, and longed to sense God, sensed instead abandonment, for God turned His face away as Jesus was bearing our sins. Then Keller said, and I cherish this and sing of this: “Because He was abandoned, we never will be.” So unto God and to the Lamb, I will sing. I will sing.

8. Many of you listened to Keller’s sermons on Job. Is there anything you would like to share with the group?

 

We studied “sitting shiva,” and Kim tells of how her friends and father lived this out:

The catastrophic loss I will comment on is not a death it was when our youngest son walked out of our home to live in a drug house. My best friends came around me and let me cry. They had no verses or words just love. One day my dad drove out to our place and simply said, “I don’t know what to say.” and sat and cried with us. That divided our pain.

 



9. What will you remember about “sitting shiva?”

 

 

When there is no one to “sit shiva” with you, Jesus, the Man of Sorrows does. Perhaps the hardest thing to trust in the midst of high-tide grief is God’s love for you. The lie that threatens to undo us is that we have lost His love. We think about how sinful we are, and we think, “It makes sense.”  That’s why I loved what so many of you wrote (how you encouraged my heart) after listening to Midday Program 9 on Jesus Lover of My Soul. Elizabeth, for example, wrote this:

“…in our romance with Christ, I am not worthy of His love, I have, by God’s standards, fallen way short- un-loveable on my own. Without Christ, I am dirty, smelly, and even if I clean myself up on the outside, my mind has unclean thoughts. BUT, because of Christ, I am the sought-after, chased-for, fought-for Bride! Through Him, because of Him, I am beautiful, clean, new, and my prayers a fragrant offering. He never, ever gives up on me, He pursues me like the Ultimate Leading Man, and no matter how many times I turn away, I doubt, I use my words for pain…He not only forgives, but He pursues. And His arms never cross or push me out of His embrace.”

Kim said that this truth about Jesus being our “Lover” is something Satan does not want us to know, because it is such a powerful weapon again his lies.

 

10. When the storm hits, what arrows of truth will you have ready to fire at the enemy?

Suffering is a given in life. Death is certain. The enemy will prowl. But we have One who will never leave us or forsake us, and one day, He will make all things right. As He told Job, He will call for us, because He will miss us, He will raise us out of the grave with new restored bodies, and we will be with Him and our loved ones who have gone before forever.

 


11. Psalm 90, which was the psalm I happened to be praying through on my birthday, prays “Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Suffering is a definite in life, but if we do not let go of our only lifeline, He will enlarge our souls and make us great hearts. I am seeing that in you.  I would love for you to share something you have learned here, and how you will apply this wisdom to your life.

PART II. Listen to Midday.

Because we do not know if the tech people at Moody Radio will get the link working, I encourage you to try to listen live on Monday central time. I realize that might not be possible, but if you can do. They have also now fixed the links to programs 7 (A Mighty Fortress) and 9 (Jesus, Lover of My Soul)  if you missed either, you could choose one of those. Here is the link: Link

12. What stood out to you?

PART III.

Heaven is our real hope. You can hear our own Rebecca’s voice singing Sara’s Grove’s song: Going Home. Listen — read these lyrics — and respond. Here is the link: http://youtu.be/EjOgZ2pr9NE

Here are the lyrics to read as you listen to Rebecca sing:

I’ve been feeling kind of restless
I’ve been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can’t write
And it echoes of what I’m always trying to say

There’s a feeling I can’t capture
It’s always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway

Of going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home

I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with you in sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home

Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be

Cuz this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

13. What are your thoughts?

PART IV. EXTRA CREDIT! Listen to this free sermon from Keller called “A Spirit Hath Not Flesh and Bones” Link

I PROMISE THIS IS WONDERFUL — PASSIONATE — WILL GIVE YOU HOPE!!!!

Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas

14. What did you learn from this message?

Angela tells of how God can enlarge our souls through suffering:

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.

15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?

16. What is your take-a-way from this series?

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297 comments

  1. A. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    Earthquakes come to places they have rarely come.

    Hurricanes increase in frequency and ferocity.

    Yet God has not hidden His face.

    This stood out to me becasue just this weekend we people on the east coast are experiencing Hurricaine Irene, but yet God has not hidden his face i just love that, brings me so much comfort!

  2. A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm? yes i believe it does soun like silverlene’s account the cords of death are entangaling her.

    I see cords of death entangling us and not letting us go

    B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.
    The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

    This spoke to me because, God is my rock, he cannot be moved, he is my deliverer, my shield and my stronghold. I need to remember this later today when the storm hits us!

  3. 2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?
    I see waters roaring and foaming, i think of someone who is angry and is about to explode!

    The mountains quake with their surging.. What i picture here is a earth quake? But God is our refuge and strength.

    3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you? This verse spoke to me because i feel like God is telling me especailly this morning to Be Still Meg i am in control.

    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

    4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them. A might fortress has spoken to me, especially the verse.. though satan should undo us. He has been “undoing me” and i havent liked it.. but i have given into him too by not trusting God. Please pray that I would trust in the Lord with all my heart.

  4. 6. There are four water pictures in Psalm 42.

    A. Do you remember what they are? What do you learn from them? no i dont remember what they were can someone help me remember?

    B. The last was a waterfall with the famous phrase “deep calls to deep.”

    What do you think this means and why? not sure can somone help me on this one as well?

    7. In addition to the psalms, we considered the three appearances God made to Job, where “Deep called to Deep.” Most of us are familiar with the closing of Job, where God does not really answer Job, but points to the sunrise, the stars, and the seasons as evidence that He knows what He is doing. Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us. We had a couple of Rainbows here this summer, and they were beautiul. When i saw them i remember just praising God for his creation and thnking him for showing me that he is still on the throne!

    8. In a relatively unknown passage in Job 14 we see the value of the lament, for God actually speaks to Job in his spirit. Do you remember what He tells him and how this shows God’s love for us? I need help with this one too please!

      1. ok, I went back to the deep calls to deep, i see that water image of the big wave and of the waterfall, and then a picture of a lake with trees? The big wave one teaches me that there will be storms in my life. The lake, reminds me to be still, the picture is so calming and peaceful looking. The waterfall not sure on that, its a beautiful picture and i love water falls and it reminds me that God created it.

        1. The psalmist compares himself to a deer panting for water.. In verse 2 the psamist wants to go and meet wiht God.

          Verse 3; my tears have been my food day and night, meaning thats all your doing is crying and weeping.

          Deep calls to deep
          in the roar of your waterfalls;
          all your waves and breakers
          have swept over me.

          Verse 7: I guess that i am not really sure what deep calls to deep really means? but when it says that all your waves and breakers have swept over me that is telling me that a “storm” is hitting you and it even sounds a little bit like your drowning in sorrow?

  5. What did you learn about heaven that was a comfort to you? That i will see Jesus face to face and that we will get to know our friends even better and that there will be no more suffering, sorrow , pain or tears

    9. What will you remember about “sitting shiva?” that when someone i know has lost someone or has been hit with a storm, that i dont need to have words i can just sit wiht them and listen to them, and let them cry, and cry with them. and I pray that they will do the same for me.

    10. When the storm hits, what arrows of truth will you have ready to fire at the enemy? The he loves me, even if i was the only one on this earth, he still would have died for me, I am Child of the most high king! I am his princess, he is my lover, and he delights in me.

    Suffering is a definite in life, but if we do not let go of our only lifeline, He will enlarge our souls and make us great hearts. I am seeing that in you. I would love for you to share something you have learned here, and how you will apply this wisdom to your life. I have learned that suffering is a part of life and that, our days are numbered… that brought me to reality when my best friends mom died in Februrary at the age of 50, it was a very sudden death and that brought alot of things into perspective for me.

  6. ICE-BREAKER

    A. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    I looked at this quickly before leaving for church this morning and all the way there I could not get the tombstone image out of my mind. I shared it with my husband and he was so moved—he said “she must have chosen that, it was her choice…” and he got choked up. All through church I kept pondering it…and I realized what had struck us both about it—their commitment to one another-united for life, written in stone.

    I thought of what an example Steve and Dee’s marriage has been to all of us, and while no human relationship can be perfect, it may be the closest model I have of true godly commitment. But I pondered more, and thought this is the Bride I want to be for Christ! United for life, written in stone…a love even death cannot separate. And as Dee’s name waits upon the stone, we wait to be united with our Bridegroom on that day when He will take us Home.

      1. I want to add one more thing because this has really been neat for me–my husband brought this up again last night–he kept stressing how you had CHOSEN Steve for your mate for life. And I saw such a gleam in his eye, of what a loving gesture towards your husband…, and seeing it from the perspective of my husband, how he equated that with true love, I thought–THAT is what Christ wants–for us to desire Him and only Him, to that degree, as our Bridegroom.

        I was also thankful for the picture because I had been wondering Steve’s birthday! I know, I’m weird about dates 😉

  7. I get to drop in for just a few moments to say hello! I have been silent this study and I want to savor this last week of study for it comes a few weeks before the 3rd (can’t believe it’s been that long already) year anniversary(good pun) since the annulment of my marriage.

    I am currently in a season of much, much work. I am working at night (13 hrs) with a client who is now bedridden and currently needs injections 2x daily. She is recovering from a blood clot in her right leg. She’s also had a chest infection and persistent cough but is now on anitbotic for that and it’s helping her rest better. I still have my other clients I clean for but they are not daily so I get some time to myself but not enough to sit for hours and ponder like before, but that’s okay because I know life is seasonal and one day I will have time, as the Lord allows, to ponder more and more. It’s hard to ponder when you are dealing with a fretful 84 year old husband who does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He does allow me to pray for him and his wife (the client I’m staying with at nite) and I have seen God answer my prays for their care. They have one son who is a college professor at Ole Miss and he tried to get them to move out there several years ago while they were still in good health but they didn’t want to leave Georgia. It’s good to feel useful after my devestation.

    Since absorbing the loss of the fourteen years I was married to my ex-husband I find myself thinking less and less about the loss. I have noticed that I am able to share happy memories with my ex-husband. Just yesterday he cut up wood for me to have for the winter. The Lord is merciful!

    I will be here-hopefully-this last week sharing as I am able.

    Dee, you will be glad to know I am studying Reformed Theology via Dr. R. C. Sproul’s program on the NRB network. It’s an overview but well worth the effort to listen and learn.

    Have a blessed week my sisters. I look forward to the days to come. Love to you all!!!

    1. Bless you, Tammy…miss you!

      1. Tammy, We miss you, but understand!! Please come back when you can, I always am encouraged by your input here.

        1. Me too Tammy–sounds like you have a lot on your plate–but always glad to see your posts!

    2. Welcome back Tammy!

  8. B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from the artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.

    I really love all of them—it’s hard to choose. I’ve always loved Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son from a few weeks. I have Sally’s print of Aslan in the room I do my study, and I have looked at it often during this series—finding comfort and security in His fierce strength amidst our trials—His fighting for us. Sorry, I digressed! Of these pictures above, I still can’t get past the bird with the babies under its wings. (Joyce—can you tell me where you found it?)
    I can stare at that picture and feel such warmth, safety. It is a perfect, tangible picture of submission to me. To snuggle up under His wing, letting His protection and strength fill me up so much that I don’t need to know where we are going, or the whys to what is happening, I just rest, I sleep even, I trust.

    1. I don’t remember, Elizabeth…someone sent it to me in a e-mail. I love it too!

      1. Thanks Joyce–I just found it online and was able to make it my screen saver! It said photographer unknown. I’m so thankful you shared it with us.

        1. I am going to do a screen saver on this picture too. 🙂 I forgot, was it Kim who said she was going to do that? I read it and thought it was a great idea.

        2. It was me, but I made it my desktop background. I misspoke when I said screen saver, I meant desktop!

  9. I glanced through this quickly this morning before church and what stuck with me all day was Brown’s advice in regard to how to read the Psalms, and then the grasshopper analogy. Perfect..

    I too have studied the Psalms in a cerebral manner and it strips the beauty and the depth right out of it. How can you really taste intimacy with God in the Psalms that way?

    I also loved the grave site picture of Dee and Steve, and I love Elizabeth’s thoughts on that as well:

    “I thought of what an example Steve and Dee’s marriage has been to all of us, and while no human relationship can be perfect, it may be the closest model I have of true godly commitment. But I pondered more, and thought this is the Bride I want to be for Christ! United for life, written in stone…a love even death cannot separate. And as Dee’s name waits upon the stone, we wait to be united with our Bridegroom on that day when He will take us Home.”

  10. Goodnight ladies..See you all in the morning! Can’t wait to get started!

  11. B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from the artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.

    I think the picture of the grasshopper and Psalms. I have learned to meditate on the images or linger on them and let them live and penetrate my heart.

  12. 1. A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?

    I am picturing someone while drowning is also alone, not sensing God’s presence, totally alone-wow. (I think David was running from God while running from Saul all those years.) She is struggling to get to the top yet the rip tide is pulling her back down and she begins to succumb as it overwhelms her. She hasn’t the strength to attempt to pull herself out of it anymore, and she just wants to die.

    Yes, it does sound like Silverlene’s account. curling up around her pain because that is the only way she can cope and at the same time no one has entered into her pain with her to help pull her out of the water, rather the misplaced compassion, or the desire for her to ‘get over it’, is like a rip tide pulling her back under, or a another cord of death wrapped around her feet keeping her under. Here she is alone, with no encouragement-no hands and feet of Jesus weeping with her, and not feeling the presence of God either.

  13. Good Morning Ladies 🙂

    Just want to let you know that i am safe 🙂 we just got ALOT of rain here and some wind but not bad 🙂 the southern part of vermont there was alot of flooding! Thank you sisters for praying I could feel your prayers! How are you Laura?

    Love you all!

    1. Good Morning Meg, so thankful you made it through the night safely–what a blessing!

    2. Thanks Meg for asking! We made it through as well. Not much rain; steady, but constant with each band of the arms of the storm. Lots of wind. We have many downed tree branches and we were without power all day until last night. That’s always a drag since we have a well.

      I guess the northern part of NH got major flooding; bridges are out and roads are closed. Some people will be without power for at least a week.

      Glad you made it 🙂

      I start work today, so prayers for a new school year; that I will have patience with teens 🙂

      1. Glad you are safe Laura and I will pray for you, and the new school year:)

  14. A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?

    The word “torrent” means a stream of water that flows violently over something; a rushing or tumultuous flow. This is the image of drowning. When we first studied this in the beginning of the summer I related to this drowning feeling so well.

    When Silverlene says, “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.” I know that feeling…like you can’t breathe. I found felt this on the blog from others also when they have described their situations. I hold my breath as they explain and I feel like I am drowning with them.

    I picture ropes wrapped around a body that is being pulled downward into rushing water; like rapids on a fast moving river.

  15. B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.

    I always like Psalm 98. I love to dance this one out….it’s so joyful!

    1. Yes, Thank you Lord!! And Sisters, I do want to apologize about going too fast each week through the study i do go awfully fast cause i want to get it done so i dont have to worry about finding time during the week, but i know that the Lord will give me time, if i ask him and use my time wisely. Please forgive me! I love you all!

        1. Thank you Dee 🙂

        2. Dee–this is such good wisdom for me too, I am saving this! And Meg, I fully relate–for me, I think I have an idol of productivity, and I have had to learn here to resist the urge to check it off my list, and instead savor.
          So thankful for this safe place God has provided through Dee for us to all learn and grow with each other–what a rare gift it is, we are all so blessed!

      1. Oh Meg, sweet sister..no girlfriend, we totally understand! I think a lot of us fall into the ‘task’ category! I was just like you although I remember memorizing verses the ‘day of’ my meeting with the lady who was discipling me because I didn’t have time to do it during the week. Of course, I was concerned she would quit meeting with me if I didn’t have it memorized, I soon did it to please her. Yikes!! That is slightly different than you, but thought I would share. I didn’t see it until later, and then God had me feasting on His word as food and water to my soul rather than to please man.

        Anyway, I am excited for you to have Dee love you so as to help you in this way as she does with all of us in different ways. Let me tell you, she is right about what she is saying, as I have learned when I get on this blog I like to savor every question. Sometimes God takes me through a few at a time and sometimes I just can’t stop moving forward as it flows into a place where He wants me to stop and see Him. Most times He has me stop on one or two questions, and I think about it all day. It is so rich, so many rich truths to absorb.

        That is one thing I love about being on this blog. Even if I don’t get it done in time that is o.k. God may have wanted me to stop in a certain place for a while and taste Him, and that may be the most life transforming thing He does in me all week!

        1. Thank you Rebecca for your kinds words and encouragement thanks for sharing 🙂

      2. Meg, I am so glad you and the others made it through the storm safely.
        Dee is a good and loving teacher and you are wise beyond your years to receive her suggestions. A teachable spirit is a wonderful thing to posses.
        I remember one week a few weeks ago when I was beating myself up for not finishing my lesson and later realized I got a lot out of that week regardless of the time I had to work on it. The gals are right-the Holy Spirit is working and will teach us all He wants to teach if we are listening and not fretting about performance, as I was. Bless your heart.

  16. Is the next study The Stonecutter?

  17. Icebreaker…1-This penetrated my heart. “When we suffer God is not punishing us For He took that punishment
    He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.”

    2-The pics I can remember best were drowning one and bird with young under wings. They do go together appropriately. When we feel like the drowning person we are actually safe under HIS wings when we look and run to HIM.

  18. A. What stood out to me was the quote from Shakespeare. I don’t wake up thinking about someone becoming a widow or an orphan but that is the reality of life. Suffering is ripping out the heart of someone at this very moment.

    B. when I saw the picture of the bound lamb I was reminded of Jesus’ willingness to die on the cross for me without complaint. He knew the joy that was ahead for him and all those who follow him.

    1. Yes the psalmist is describing what Silverlene feels. Death has gathered her soul and taken it down to the depths of Sheol-separation from her precious husband. The life she once had is now gone and the reality of living without her husband is getting harder to bear. So glad you found your way here Silverlene.

    I see in these verses a person who is tangled up in a net from which there seems to be no escape.

      1. I have a hard time looking at that print (of the lamb). It makes me sad.

        1. me too laura

  19. Oh sweet sisters. I am suffering with a bad migraine yesterday and today. My eyes are not working properly. I came to answer the icebreaker questions then try to read your responses. I did not even realize there were other pics to look at. I will study those later as my eyes resume proper function. Many great pics above. Though the two I listed did really strike a cord in my heart. Love to you all and praying. Would appreciate your prayers as well.

      1. Lord, I pray for Angela, that you would help to feel better and heal your hand upon her and help her to feel better soon

        Amen

        1. Yes Lord, I pray you will relieve her pain, comfort her under Your wing, thank You Lord.

      2. Praying for you too Angela.

        1. Angela, praying for you!! How are you doing now?

  20. Thank you ladies for the prayers. I am a bit better. Thankful because I got to listen to Keller. It was really good and I say it is worth the extra credit.

    I never got why Jesus did not want Mary to hold him when she saw him after the tomb. Keller has such wisdom. He is for all of us! I also love Keller’s reminder of going after things in this world but really it is only a preview to the new heaven and earth when things willbe what they should. He talked about dancing!! I cannot wait! Going to try the midday link now.

  21. Well looks like I cannot listen as of yet. 🙁

    1. Praying for you Angela

  22. Meg and Laura, I am so glad to hear from both of you. I have been at the hospital clinic all day for appointments and saw CNN in every waiting room. I could not wait to get home and on the blog after the pictures I saw. So glad to hear you are both ok.

    1. Laura

      Thank you… my town didnt get hit, it was southern vermont and New Hampshire.. so the pictures you saw were of southern vermont and new hampshire. we got hit in may with some bad storms where we had washouts, roads collapsing etc.. that is what happened in Southern Vermont and new hampshire yesterday. Please pray for them

      1. whoops sorry meant to say Anne (sorry laura)

  23. Listened to Midday Connection today….it was wonderful to have Anita and Dee go back to the beginning and review and summarize. I feel we’ve all been on this journey together.
    What makes this study different is it’s not just an author talking about the book they’ve written. This is Dee sharing her life with us, her own personal walk through suffering. I think this is why God of All Comfort ministers to so many, and continues to do so. The very real, honest, vulnerable excerpts from her own journal during Steve’s illness give us hope as we journey with Dee through the waters of grief and see her come out on the far shore; stronger, more intimate than ever with God, and able to comfort others with the comfort she herself received.
    I loved all the music, especially the Michael Card song. The words so encourage us to lament before God, that He will meet us in the wilderness.
    Yes, I cried into my lunch listening to Annie speak about her dad. My daughter was home sick from school today, and as we listened to the radio, she said “That’s Dee – I like her voice, it’s so calming!”
    It was just so good to go back, to see where we’ve come from since the beginning up until now. It was sad for me to think we’re at the end of this particular study!
    Liked the emphasis that we are to sing understanding the meaning of what we are singing; the Scripture and truth behind the words to the hymns and praise songs.

    1. I’ve got to add this: Dee, you speak with such simplicity, but underneath is a rich depth. You are real and believeable!

    2. Susan, God has given you such depth and richness and to see your gift of encouragement always blesses me. You remind me of a lily-so strong, so beautiful..

  24. Tammy,
    So glad to have you back! I’ve thought of you often over the summer!

  25. A. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I love what Brown says, in regards to the Psalms-
    read the psalms “as a lover reads, lingering over the images.” I truly believe this is the best approach to the psalms.
    I plan to begin to read the Psalms that way.

    And by the way, in regards to the Midday last week–I feel you are right on in the way you painted the picture (from Scripture) of our relationship with Christ our Bridegroom. I have been awakened to that in the past and believe with all my heart that it is an accurate portrayal. I hate that I can so easily go from that reality to then just treating him like a friend or a brother, or a father?

    I also love the multiple restatement of the truth: Yet God has not hidden His face. Again the song resounds through my head, “what if our blessings come through raindrops, what if our healing comes through tears………..”

    B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from the artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.
    Two images that really penetrated my heart are the pictures of the disciples in the storm with Jesus and the Tsunami. They are both such a vivid reminder that Jesus is with me in every storm I go through and he is not powerless in the storm. When I see those images, they remind me of the statement from Martin Luther,

    It’s time, as Martin Luther used to say to his despairing friend, Philip Melanchthon, “Come Philip, let’s sing the Forty-Sixth.” God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling Psalm 46:1-4

    This shows the importance of having that friend in our life who can challenge one another–not just listen and empathize,(thanks for that nugget of truth) but encourage one another to a deeper faith in our Lord.
    As I write this, I am rejoicing in what God is doing in our life, in leading us to a church where we are finding a community of men and women who love the Lord, love people and embrace newcomers into community. I really believe that we are going to find deep community here. I was at the altar yesterday after the service and I was amazed at the sensitivity and discernment of some who ministered to me. God has done so much for me in the weeks since we began this study–Glory to His name.

    1. Oh Terri, you are so right when you say, “I hate that I can so easily go from that reality to then just treating him like a friend or a brother, or a father” I feel exactly the same. I feel like I cycle in and out of closeness to Him.

    2. Terri, As I read your quote from Martin Luther I had the thought that one day I might hear he and Melanchthon sing the 46th.

      1. and won’t a bunch of us ladies join them!!

  26. PART I. BIBLE STUDY REVIEW

    1.
    A.
    “The cords of the grave coiled around me”—I envision a hissing snake wrapped around a helpless, hopeless body, nearly suffocating it.
    Silverlene’s words paint a picture of her helpless state—feeling over whelmed, caught off guard by the pain, and completely unable to control its power over her.

    B.
    Two verses I love–vs 2 “my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge”—love this because of my life long tendency to run and retreat when I am hurt. But unlike my self-pity induced bunker, He gives me a safe refuge—completely safe, completely vulnerable—hidden in the light of Truth and grace.

    Vs 16 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.” I love this one because it shows how active God is. My earthly father was very passive, so I especially love that my Abba actively initiates, pursues, rescues me.

  27. Heaven is our real hope. You can hear our own Rebecca’s voice singing Sara’s Grove’s song: Going Home. Listen — read these lyrics — and respond . Loved the song, it brought me great comfort. I cant wait to “go home” which is my eternal home becasue Jesus will be there and i will see him again face to face

  28. Ice breaker:
    “Likewise, we must let the psalms live. We must let them come leaping into our hearts. Let us linger over the images and allow Him to penetrate our hearts.” I think this is so wise. If I read God’s word to get my Bible study out of the way for the day, it’s just a daily duty, an item to check off the list where no life change occurs. If I pause to listen and linger in His presence He meets me and His love surrounds me and empowers me to become more like Him.

    The image that most penetrated my heart was without question the painting of the prodigal son. The father’s loving embrace. The elder son in the shadows-me or at least the old me. I learned so much! I hate the moralistic person I was. I also know I am a work in progress so I must be patient and let Him work to change me over time. It took a long time to develop this wrong thinking.

    1. this was so good Kim “If I read God’s word to get my Bible study out of the way for the day, it’s just a daily duty, an item to check off the list where no life change occurs. If I pause to listen and linger in His presence He meets me and His love surrounds me and empowers me to become more like Him”

      I was just thinking how much Dee has help me to slow down and linger over psalms, the artwork, songs…and that was a tall task because I am not a patient person 😉

  29. 14. What did you learn from this message? I was having difficulties with it after about 25 minutes it would go back to the beginning again so i tried again and same thing happened so here is what i got from the 25 minutes.. That our bodies are like vegtables compared to what they will be like in heaven

  30. 12. What stood out to you? what stood out to me from the midday program was all of the review of everything we’ve talked about and all the music that was played through out the 12 weeks. Also I liked what you shared Dee about being curled up on your bed lamenting and crying out to God and asking him. How can I lament with someone who isnt flesh and blood. That is exactly how i feel. I didnt have a good upbringing so every time i cry and especially when my best friends mom died i wanted someone to hold me and no one did… that left me dissapointed. But then you said something about a dialogue to God. That is defiently something i need to work on.

  31. Good night ladies! Please pray that i sleep well and that i fall asleep fast!

  32. Thanks for sharing that song, Elizabeth, it made me cry all the way throught it. I needed it to draw closer to him.

  33. A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?
    Yes, it sounds just like Silverlene’s description of her grief.
    I see being tangled up in the ropes, so I can’t get free and the water coming over me while I am all tangled up in the cords. It is a hopeless situation, apart from God.

    B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.
    Verse 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. Verse 19: He rescued me because he delighted in me.
    Reading Psalms this morning as a lover lingering over the words…..Also reading it as the loved……the bride of Christ.

  34. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.
    God really speaks to me through music and there are probably many things that I could comment about these hymns, but the most relevant to me was the verse from Be Still my Soul that said:

    Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
    And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
    Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
    Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.

    What a reminder that when I have experienced loss of friends, I can know His love and His heart better when I allow him to soothe me and calm my fears. I have felt so out of control, and kept trying to fix things, rather than allow him to “soothe me” and calm my fears. I gave in to my fears that I would never have the depth of relationship again.

    1. Terri, I love and feel the same way….”What a reminder that when I have experienced loss of friends (and family), I can know His love and His heart better when I allow him to soothe me and calm my fears. I have felt so out of control, and kept trying to fix things, rather than allow him to “soothe me” and calm my fears.” Terri, you southe me with your words, sweet sister:)

  35. 2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?

    I see a picture of God, one like I have seen where God is above the earth (full body image) with His arms stretched out and looking down at earth. There is light coming out in beams all around Him. The earth looks intact, but I am also reminded of a magnificent land slide this past weekend (I think in Vermont) that kept sliding and sliding with the bad weather. It was like the part “…the mountains fall into the sea…” And, the churning waters in northern NH. It looked terrifying.

    3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you?

    I think the verse that says, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God…” This river is in contrast to what I described above. It seems calm and peaceful since it “makes glad” the city of God. I picture it as a flowing river that is abundant in life as well as energy. It fulfills all my needs.

  36. 2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?

    First of all, I am so thankful I am learning to linger over the images in Psalms. I love this. I like what Michael Card said about the Holy Spirit using our imagination. 🙂

    I see this as something pretty extreme. A person in the middle of the ocean having a peaceful sail, feeling confident and embracing the beauty around, and then all of a sudden calamity hits and the waves rise up, an Earthquake happens and the whole Earth is crumbling underneath. His once peaceful heart is shaken to the core with dread and fear, as death and destruction surround him. He feels helpless, and weak. This is too big for him to control. He is outside himself and he begins to succumb to the calamity all around him….but God.

    This reminds me of when we suddenly lose a loved one, or hear the news our loved one has cancer and it is bad. In an instant the world falls apart-but God is never absent. He is there while it is happening and He is our creator, the one who has made the force behind the winds and the waves and He is the one who can calm them. Just as He is the one who has the power to create this Earth, He also has the power to intervene in our terror and draw us under His wings where we can find refuge-there the waves and the wind and the crumbling Earth stop.

    1. Rebecca, you comment so well, exactly how I feel when trials come. I find comfort in your words this today. Thank you, my sister in christ:)

  37. Rebecca I really like this:

    This reminds me of when we suddenly lose a loved one, or hear the news our loved one has cancer and it is bad. In an instant the world falls apart-but God is never absent. He is there while it is happening and He is our creator, the one who has made the force behind the winds and the waves and He is the one who can calm them. Just as He is the one who has the power to create this Earth, He also has the power to intervene in our terror and draw us under His wings where we can find refuge-there the waves and the wind and the crumbling Earth stop.

    This reminds me of when my best friends mom died.. i thought the world had fallen apart, but really he was there all along. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Meg, Yes, it reminds me of when my I came home back in 1988 and my ex-husband had taken everything and left. Total shock and surprise. My world crumbled and I was a brand new believer of only a few months. I was so tender, and so hurt. It is etched in my mind how I responded and how everything crashed around me.

        1. I haven’t heard her story, but would love to.

          I used to smoke back then. I did before I came to know the lord, and I was brand new in the Lord and I remember my smoking increased ten fold after my husband left although God soon became my strength after a year of wrestling around-He became my husband, I remember writing a poem about Him feeling his arms around me and feeling the warmth of Him and the security and provision he gave me.

          I used to lay in bed at night immersed in the word, studying asking Him to help me feel his presence, I felt so alone. I thank God He had my sister in law in my life taking me through the Navpress’ “Growing in Christ” series. I Thank God for her patience with me as God was cleaning me and helping me to stop walking in the habits I walked in before coming to know Him. I remember my husband leaving was the worst rejection I had ever experienced apart from my dad leaving us when we were young.

          My first year after the divorce I remember I decided God is my husband and I clung to Him in the word and in prayer and in study. I have fond memories meeting with him outside on Elsa, my roommate’s, deck ..It took five years after I was ready to even get into a relationship again, and then three more years until God brought me my current husband. 🙂

        2. Rebecca–you have said before that you feel like you haven’t had “major storms” in your life yet–but just reading your story breaks my heart for you. Thank you for sharing this–I am so sorry for the incredible pain you have had to endure. Yet, seeing you now–where He has brought you–it just adds even more depth and beauty to you–and as I listen to you sing–wow–what a testimony!

        3. I agree with Elizabeth. Sorry for the pain you suffered.

        4. Thank you , Dee, yes Rebecca comments do remind me of my storms, but I was thinking of my brother, Dennis. He is going to church alone in Gibbin at the Methodist church each sunday, alone. I told him yesterday, I signed up to go with my dear friend, Nita each week to your Bible study you started many years ago here, Dee and he said “I don’t know anything about the bible.” I said, it doesn’t matter, God loves you and Mary Kay. (They were new believer’s) I wish there was a men’s study in Sonshine studies. Also, Nita said you done a speach on film with something in a grief share group, that she went to after her husband died of cancer 5 years ago. She went two times. I can’t seem to find out about it. Mary Kay has taken a turn for the better…don’t understand it, but she can eat better and move her arms and try to talk.?? Maybe this is the calm before the storm?? Sorry, I went off the subject, but yes, Rebecca hit it right on the head!! Thank you , Dear Sister!!

  38. 3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you?

    v4. God had me stop at verse 4. It stuck out as a contrast to the prior verses. There is huge contrast between the wild, foaming oceans and the calm, peaceful river. The wild oceans do their damage then they are over with, with destruction in their wake. This peaceful river is a stream that is serene, offers enduring refreshment and I can drink from forever. It is calm and peaceful. I am thinking this is His grace and peace in the midst of life-I cling to this. This makes me ‘glad’ because I am assured in the midst of the storm I can drink from this peaceful water and He will sustain me with His grace to help me get through the trial. He will refresh me and renew my soul right in the middle of the storms of life-and it is continual.

    1. Amen

  39. Sisters,

    What does everyone think of the stonecutter study? Is it deep? Is it hard to comprehend? I am just getting some advice cause i am not sure what to do this fall i am praying, but am not sure, Our Ladies bible class is doing a Beth Moore study on Daniel and i am not really into Beth Moore she is too hard for me to understand. I am also thinking maybe of doing Seeking Him with Nancy Leigh Demoss by myself.. any insights?

    1. Meg–I only have a second right now, running out the door, but I just had to reply–I cannot recommend any study more than the Stonecutter. I really mean that–it has been life-transforming for me. I know it may feel hard to start something new, but you have done so well here. As Dee said, just go at your own pace, let Him use this as He wants to in your life–it’s not about finishing Dee’s questions–but letting the Spirit use them in your heart.

      Besides all that, we’d miss you if you didn’t stay with us! 😉

    2. Meg, I highly recommend praying first for God to bring you a woman to come along side you at your church and help you get into the word. We will pray too.
      Ask your Bible Study leader perhaps, or if there is a godly woman there, God may lay her on your heart to start meeting with and perhaps going through a basic bible study. For me, although may not be good for you-not sure, the Navpress “Growing in Christ” series was awesome for me! You may be a little beyond the first book perhaps, but it is always good to go back to basics..Heck I still do! Anyway, this series might be something to consider. Here is a link to the book, and there are other books after it that you would go through: http://www.navpress.com/product/9781615213030/Growing-in-Christ-The-Navigators.

      1. Thanks for the imput ladies!

        Rebecca- I do have serveral women who encourage me to get into the word i even have an accountability partner that asks me questions every week abotu different things I have been a christian for 8 years now. Thanks for sharing the link

        I think that i have decided to do the Stonecutter series, and also our counsler at church is brining me and some other ladies through some studies by Chip Ingram so i think that i will do those 2. I was also asked today if i would help with Childrens Sunday school this coming quarter. I told them i would pray about it but i LOVE working with kids and we are trying out some different things with Childrens Sunday school this year.

    3. Meg, You would benefit from the stonecutter study, if you just followed along, as it is that good. I learnt sooooo much!!!

    4. Meg

      I went through Beth Moore’s Daniel study last fall and found it to be light compared to the studies we do here. It really is a good study if you decide to do it.

  40. ICEBREAKER

    A. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    “When the terror and rumble of the world, the flesh, and the devil come to us, He asks us to come to Him to find shelter under His wings.”

    The world, the flesh, and the devil – we face all three every day and at times it seems so overwhelming and hopeless. I’m finding that I feel that way when my first response is not to go to God. Especially with sin, my default response is to avoid God. I need to keep that bird picture in my mind…world, flesh, and devil will always be here on this earth, always lashing at me; I need to learn to stay in the shelter of the Most High, under His wings. (also the lighthouse picture is a good reminder of that)

    It is also helpful to have learned how to really read the psalms, lingering over them, savoring the word pictures, reading as a lover reads.

    1. So true, Susan

  41. Icebreaker:
    A. The Shakespeare quote was good I agree. It is so easy to insulate ourselves from the suffering around us by ignoring it. This is the thing about God that I can hardly comprehend. He enters into our suffering with us. It hurts Him as much as it does us. I think it must be like when my child suffers. It hurts me so much more than it does him. But this is something I have learned better in this study, particularly when we studied Lazarus’ resurrection. So I like that quote because it reminds me to look around and really see.

    My favorite thing is the understanding that suffering is not punishment-ever. Jesus took our punishment. God surely has His purposes for allowing it but it is never to punish us. That truth is good for soul sermons.

    B. My favorite image is Joyce’s mother bird picture. I love the closeness of the babies snuggling under mama’s wings, the softness of the feathers and the alertness and fiercely protective countenance of the mother bird. Mama is beautiful too.

    1. Thank you, Anne…I think God sent it to me!! How is Joey doing?

      1. He got his cast off yesterday but still having pain and difficulty walking. Such a slow process. I hate for him to have such difficulty but I know and can see that it is building character in him.

        1. Oh Anne, what a LONG road this has been for him–so thankful he has you. How is Fred?

        2. He is worried because it is taking so long to get money coming in. He has not worked since mid June. He went yesterday to the surgeon about the replacement and he said that he would like to try to repair the shoulder before replacing because Fred is too young for replacement. So there is plenty of room for prayer and I am cracking the nutritional whip on him. Not really. Let’s say I am trying.

        3. I’m so sorry Anne–I will continue to pray–for all of you!

        4. I’m, praying also, Anne, for all of you.

        5. Prayed for you and Fred this morning. Glad to hear of Joey’s recovery. How is your other son doing?

  42. I just found out my Fall Women’s Bible Study at church will be doing Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges! I’m excited to see how it ties in with our Stonecutter study!

      1. Dee, lol! 🙂

        Elizabeth, let me know how that goes!

      2. Oh Dee, this makes me laugh out loud! Reminds me that God has sense of humor too.

      3. Dee, that is so funny! I’ve never heard of a respectable sin 😉

      4. y’all are great–I laughed out loud when Dee posted & I started to reply earlier to Dee “that’s hilarious!” and then I felt bad for the poor guy so I held back–thank you for giving me permission to laugh 😉

  43. A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?
    I looked for commentary on this verse b/c I have not lost a husband so I don’t feel I am acquainted with such grief. I wanted to try and get in a widow’s shoes so to speak. Since losing my beloved husband is probably my greatest fear and I know I must do some preparation.
    I found this exposition:
    Thus hopeless was the case of this good man, as hopeless as a case could be, so utterly desperate that none but an almighty arm could be of any service to the four metaphors which he employs, he was bound like a malefactor for execution; overwhelmed like a shipwrecked mariner; surrounded and standing at bay like a hunted stag; and captured in a net like a trembling bird. What more of terror and distress could meet upon one poor defenceless head?

    Do these metaphors remind you of our study?! “he was bound like a malefactor” reminds me of the woman from last week who Hosea bid for and won, “captured in a net like a trembling bird,” reminds me of Joyce’s bird picture- safe b/c of the mother bird and “overwhelmed like a shipwrecked mariner; reminds me of the Rembrandt we studied in which the disciples thought they were going to be lost! The writer also gives the answer to all these situations: “so utterly desperate that none but an almighty arm could be of any service.”

    1. Kim…Love this….
      “Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?
      I looked for commentary on this verse b/c I have not lost a husband so I don’t feel I am acquainted with such grief. I wanted to try and get in a widow’s shoes so to speak. Since losing my beloved husband is probably my greatest fear and I know I must do some preparation.
      I found this exposition:
      Thus hopeless was the case of this good man, as hopeless as a case could be, so utterly desperate that none but an almighty arm could be of any service to the four metaphors which he employs, he was bound like a malefactor for execution; overwhelmed like a shipwrecked mariner; surrounded and standing at bay like a hunted stag; and captured in a net like a trembling bird. What more of terror and distress could meet upon one poor defenceless head? ”

      Miss you Silverlene!

  44. Dee, the picture of Steve’s and your tomestone, shocked me at first and then conforted me. It is only where you will rest untill the Lord takes us up to him. We will be in temporary heaven untill then, if he doesn’t come before then! It is a peaceful , beautiful place to rest. I love both you and Steve. He was the most wonderful man I ever worked for and I worked for many in my 62 years!

    1. I agree with you Joyce about the tombstone. I like that Dee is willing to share with us her reality. It is always a shock to see a tombstone prepared for one who is still living. I remember the day I was at the cememtery in North Carolina where my mother’s third husband is buried and I wanted to know who the woman was whose name was on the marker next to his. My mother exclaimed,”That’s me!” I was certainly not prepared to see my mother’s name on a grave marker. But you are right about the comfort the Brestin tombstone brings. It’s a beautiful picture of the life God intends for his children to live-forever united with him.

  45. 2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?

    I see the lighthouse in the painting. A strong, unbreakable place of refuge, shelter. Standing in the storms, touched by the waves, burned by the fires, but not over taken.

    I was just thinking too–this place of refuge is always there, always available. We do not have to go and search for it—like a building which we need directions to find—this it is within us!

    3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you?
    V 4- ”The river whose streams make glad the city of God”. I love rivers and streams. I am picturing one that runs between rocky mountains. I can remember hiking trips in college, and coming upon a stream in the most unexpected places in the Colorado mountains. Streams are a calming source of replenishment, cleansing, nourishment.

    4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.

    A. A Mighty Fortress
    The story of Sally singing this in church—and the congregation finishing, was one of the stories that moved me most in Dee’s book. I had never thought much about the hymn before—we sang it a lot in my old church and I know it by heart, but I realized—I didn’t really know it. Honestly, I had never pondered on the words, until now. The spiritual battle expressed in this hymn forces me to face we are in a real war. Satan wants our hearts—He wants us to deny God, to want God only for His gifts, to lose our love for Him. Yet God is Mighty. A never failing shelter amidst the storms that will come—and He fights the battle for us.

    B. Be Still My Soul
    I’m seeing more in this hymn now than I a few weeks back. I love the reminders—He is on my side, be patient (I really need that one!), “Leave to thy God”—stop trying to control the situation. And the rest points to remembering His faithfulness—something I have learned the importance of in our study. And have hope for what is certain to come.

    When we looked at this a few weeks ago—God brought an image to me of this lake that I loved growing up. I loved it when it was still like glass, and reflected the sky. When I am still, I can hear Him, I can reflect Him—and my stillness puts me in position to be transformed by Him. When I am trying to control/manage/stress over whatever is going on (big or small)—then I am like the lake after too many boats—all rippled with waves, unable to be used by Him to reflect His glory.

    5. Contemplate on the above painting and how it portrays Psalm 46. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer —

    I would not say I have had a major storm this summer—but I did fear the lack of routine would lead my independent nature to isolate myself and then lead to depression. But God–He has been a refuge in that I felt His nudge a few times to get out of my routine and embrace fellowship, or to say yes to my kids begging to throw water baloons and my husband’s pleas to go to the pool!
    Through those times and especially the “meat” He provided all summer through this study—I look back and see it was such a sweet time with Him, all summer. The slower pace allowed for deeper time with Him—I’m thankful for that.

    1. Love this Elizabeth: “We do not have to go and search for it—like a building which we need directions to find—this it is within us!”

    2. I like what you stated about being like a lake after too many boats-all rippled with waves. You arrange words beautifully!

  46. Sisters

    I would appreciate some prayer, I burnt my hand really bad today and it hurts! pray for that to heal well. Also I either lost some money or it got stolen but anyway when i came home today to give my mom the money i owed her it wasnt in my wallet! please pray that i find the money. One of my friend from church gave me the money i was missing so i could pay my mom. that was sweet of her.

    Love you All!

    1. Lord, I pray for Your healing touch on Meg’s hand. Please ease the pain and knit that skin back together quickly. I also ask that You would provide for Meg’s needs whether by recovery of her lost money or through some other provision. Please bless her relationship with her mother and knit them together through Your Spirit. And please give Meg direction as to how You would have her to study Your word this fall. However she decides to study, I pray that You would grow her spiritually and bring her into sweet fellowship with You, Lover of her soul. In Jesus’ Name~Amen

      1. Thanks Anne!

        1. Praying for you, Meg, and hope your hand is better and the money shows up. Blessings to you and yours

  47. All day I have been trying to sing our title song but could only remember a few lines. So I went looking and must share what I found. I think it is so beautiful! http://youtu.be/OlzzpwKt6uk

    1. I don’t know how I got way up here with this comment. Elizabeth, I loved your song too!

    2. Anne, This is a beautiful song! Loved the images too.

    3. That was beautiful, Anne

    4. oh Anne–thank you for this! I’ve been listening to it over the past few days–so good.

  48. ** I apologize all–it was my “deletion request” that is causing our answers to go in weird places–I just remembered when this happened once before-oops! 😉

    6. There are four water pictures in Psalm 42.
    A. Do you remember what they are? What do you learn from them?

    Stream—the Living Water of Christ—we are dependent upon Him for daily replenishment, nourishment—we will shrivel up without it. We are renewed when we taste Him.
    Tears- the Lord hears my honest cries. I can go to Him and pour out my soul, lament.
    Waves-they can over take us and drown us with their power. But they can also wash over us, in an inescapable way—forcing us to be washed by His love.
    Waterfalls—the loud roar of His voice—all else is overshadowed by His voice, His power.

    B. The last was a waterfall with the famous phrase “deep calls to deep.”
    What do you think this means and why?

    Jesus calls from His heart of deep compassion over my pain—to the depth of my soul—knowing what I am going through and speaking to me in a way that could only be His voice. I still picture the image of Steve at the cabin, by the tree—meditating on Him and hearing Him speak truth to his heart, full of understanding compassion.

    7.
    The waves at the beach—no one can control their coming or going, except God. It’s uncontainable power is how I best envision His strength—limitless—able to be both calm and fierce.

    8.
    He speaks to Job of salvation and our eternal life with Christ! He tells Job that He will cover over our sins—and my favorite—that He LONGS for us.

    9.
    I will see Him with my own eyes. And I love that I KNOW my Redeemer LIVES (v 25). There is no doubt, and unlike any other religion, our God is living and active and true.

    10. Many of you listened to Keller’s sermons on Job. Is there anything you would like to share with the group?

    We do not know the why of suffering—but we do know what it cannot mean. It cannot mean that He just doesn’t care. The Cross proves that He does—and just how much.

    11. What will you remember about “sitting shiva?”

    Show up—be there physically, write a card, call…just don’t not respond out of fear of doing the wrong thing. A lack of response hurts a lot.

    Listen to where they are and sing that song with them– don’t push them to be in a different place. This was/is key for me in the loss of my dad because there are such a mixture of emotions. Some days I feel hurt, even angry. Other times I want to talk about a sweet memory.

    Remember the dates. For a long time even the monthly “anniversaries” of my Dad’s death stung.

    12. When the storm hits, what arrows of truth will you have ready to fire at the enemy?

    Speak the truth to my soul—He IS here. He is not surprised or caught off guard, or immune to my pain. I am not too small, He is not aloof. He knows me, He knows what is happening and He knows what He is doing.

  49. 1a. In Psalm 18:4-5 I envision trying to swim to the surface while the tentacles of an octopus are reaching up from the depths to wrap around my legs and pull me down.

    Being terrified by the torrents of destruction sounds very like what Silverlene described. When those around her wanted her to move on she felt as if ropes were holding her fast. Verse 5 says “the snares of death confronted me” which sounds like how she felt when the reality of her husband’s death hit her.

    b. The image of God’s power displayed in anger at the harming of His child is awesome but the image that thrills me is that of Him reaching down, taking hold of His drowning child and pulling him out of the deep waters. He rescued him because He delighted in him. We can say to our souls: He will rescue me because He delights in me!