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GOD IS NOT DEAD NOR DOTH HE SLEEP (3rd Sunday in Advent)









IN 1899 10 bells, each inscribed with this Longfellow quote, were installed iin the carillon in the Campanile at Iowa State University in Ames





















These days have been filled with horrific news. I have slept restlessly, as I know has been true of many of you.

I woke Saturday morning to see that our own dear Chris had e-mailed me the video she had just filmed for her church, sharing her own testimony two years after her own child was so cruelly taken. When I watched the video, each sentence golden, I knew God meant for us, for such a time as this.


Chris came on the blog two years ago, fresh in grief, to do The God of All Comfort. Her posts filled with palpable pain. Yet she did not retreat from God. In this video she tells how she kept remembering Peter’s response to Jesus when Jesus asked him if he too would be retreating from Him. Peter said:


“Lord, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life.”

(John 6:68)

Many of you are suffering, and many of you will be talking about this tragedy with others this season. Watch the video now and we’ll consider the thoughts more carefully throughout the week.







When Daniel was accosted and died, Chris said, “I felt I’d been led into a wilderness and left there. I had to look more deeply into what I believed about God” She wanted something to ease the pain — she cast about for somewhere to turn. And then she knew, like Peter — where else could she go but to Jesus?

What Satan wants to do is cause attachment disorder with our heavenly Father. Attachment disorder is a term used for children who have been abused and have trouble trusting anyone — they put up a wall and will not allow themselves to attach. We have an enemy. He prowls about — and it often seems His attacks grow more fierce during holy times like Christmas and Easter.

3. Read John 8:44

A. What do you learn from Jesus about the devil?


B. What lies has the devil told you in the midst of suffering — even recently — and how can you combat those lies with

the truth?

Chris said, “I struggled so much with why it happened. I wanted so much to understand if I was being disciplined and if so, then why?” I so identify with this — I had the same questions when Steve died.  I so appreciate the humility of Chris — for in truth — we will not know until we see Christ face to face. Whether or not we are being disciplined, we know suffering always does a refining work in the believer who does not back away from God, as it has in Chris.

It humbles us. My own Steve said, “Cancer has humbled me, and that is a good thing.”

Job by Leon Bonnat 1833-1922

We know Satan was behind Job’s suffering, yet God allowed it. God could never tell Job why he was suffering, for God was showing Satan and us that there really was a person who loved God just for Himself, and not for His blessings. As Keller said, “God couldn’t say — this is going to be horrific — but hold on, for you will go down in history, encouraging sufferers for centuries.” God never told Job why — but He did come to him three times, with reassurances of eternal life and sovereignty. At the close of the book God pointed to the sunrise, the stars, and the seasons…

4. Find one picture to which God pointed at the close of Job to illustrate that He is a God who knows what He is doing.


Chris said, “Job didn’t know and I don’t have to know. But I can trust, like a child with his Father. I can be small and trust Him.”

Chris said that she felt like God took her into the wilderness and left her there. But oh — how I see Him speaking tenderly to her and leading her out.

5. What picture is painted in Song of Songs 8:5?


Chris said, “It is very strange that in the midst of such suffering that there is a deeper sense of intimacy. I wouldn’t let Him be the Lover of my Soul. There was pride in me. Not I am really able to take in that He loves me. This stills my fears. There is such a living hope that the promises are true, a longing for heaven, the breaking down of idols, my identity hidden in Christ with God.”

And I loved this sentence:

“I am so much less sure of myself and so much more sure of my Savior.”


6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’s testimony — and why?


7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy — and for our nation. Write your prayer here.


It is hard not to ask “What is wrong with the world?” After one national tragedy that question was posed by a New York newspaper and one very brief response became famous:


“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly,”

― G.K. Chesterton

Though we may never know why that young man murdered his mother brutally and then her kindergarten class, it seems fairly clear he was motivated by hate. The day of the tragedy I made a sideways comment to someone, for though I am battling my flesh, it still rears its ugly head. I hurt my friend. I had to apologize. I realized I made the comment because of malice and a lack of forgiveness. The same seed of malice that festered and grew in the man who committed the massacre on Friday lives in me. Each of us is capable of seeing our Dr Jekyl turn into Mr Hyde. Any finger I point at the world, I must turn around to myself. May we walk before Him with purer hearts and help one another die to our sinful selves and live to Him.

Friday: Dee on Moody’s Milrose Club

Milrose Club is designed to model Christian women in conversation. It was my first time as a guest and they probed me with fairly personal questions! But it was good. If you want to listen — please do — would love your feed-back. If you listen live you’ll hear the Danny Byram Christmas carol I chose: The Borning Day.

Here’s the link to Moody’s Milrose club which is live at noon central time.


If you don’t listen live, but want to hear the carol I chose, here it is by Harry Belafonte.


16. If you can listen, would love to have your thoughts.



17. What is your take-a-way and why?

Other Resources

(I did this post late — and didn’t want to bother David  for technical help– but this is a wonderful free sermon on suffering from Keller you can paste into your browser:

And I poured all I knew about dealing with suffering into The God of All Comfort.




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


  1. What do you learn from Jesus about the devil?

    That he is a liar, he always has been, he cant do anything but lie

    The verse before that one, verse 43 says:
    “ Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.”

    Which made me think of this verse:

    John 10
     “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

    This encourages me. I know he keeps calling me, I want to become better able to quickly see the lies, for the voice of my shepard to be so familiar that the ‘other voice’ I will not follow. He has brought me to a better place in this regard recently and I am glad.

    What lies has the devil told you in the midst of suffering — even recently — and how can you combat those lies with the truth?

    He has told me that I am not ready to talk about this, I have not figured it all out yet, I should crawl back to solitude until I have a clear story to tell. I honestly felt such fear after taping the testimony, knowing it would be shown at church and then shared here. I know that what I said is real and true, I spoke that to my soul and it helped.

    I hope each of you who have so kindly received and commented on it will forgive me for not addressing each comment individually. This week has me somewhat bewildered. Please know how I appreciate knowing this minsters to you, even if I don’t say it to each of you individually.

    1. Oh Chris, this week must be very difficult for you; please don’t feel the need to respond to each one of us as we share about your testimony. May you just rest in Him.

      1. Agree… Chris, praying for you. You must be drained.

    2. A lie he told me during the suffering was that I was doing something wrong, I know that others testify to how close they felt the Lord to be while they were suffering. I didn’t feel him at all. Others would come and pray for healing, I could not say amen to those prayers, I thought there was something terribly deficient in me. I have wondered since if God never allowed be to believe Him for healing because that wasn’t going to be the path for us.
      All I could manage in prayer was to ask that I could be obedient in it, Praise You in the Storm meant a lot to me, I did find things to be thankful for.
      When it was over I felt that the enemy was telling me that the reason it ended was because I was too weak for the long road a caregiver of someone with a brain injury must travel.

      1. Chris, you have been faithful to Him through the WHOLE process. God was preparing you well before Daniel was assaulted and giving you the strength to obey, and you have been obedient. I have SO MUCH respect for you. (and don’t respond!!!)

      2. Chris, I love your sweet tender heart.

      3. Your vulnerability to God and to us is amazing. May God bless you. Don’t worry about responding please. We understand.

    3. Chris- your exposing that “it hasn’t been all figured out” is a true blessing. Growing up in a church where all I saw was perfect people who had it together almost turned me from God. I love in you -there is no fake show. Life hurts and if all we ever allow others to see is our “have it solved” completed selves we lose out on really experiencing some of the gifts that pain can bring in the form of love and support and also steal from others their right to hurt. I rejoice in you identifying/denying the lies and absorbing the truth.

      1. thank you my friends

  2. Find one picture to which God pointed at the close of Job to illustrate that He is a God who knows what He is doing.

    From God:
    “Who then is he who can stand before me?
    11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
    Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

    From Job:
    “Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
    4 Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.
    5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
    6 therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

    Job despises himself when he sees God, but God loves Job, he defends him, blesses and restores him.

    Job honored God and walked uprightly before this suffering, but his relationship with Him afterward is changed, he has seen God. His level of self awareness, his unworthiness, his undeserved acceptance by his creator is now known to him.

  3. Pondering Job always brings these two songs to mind for me;

    My Redeemer Lives
    This was one Bill played on his computer in the hospital just after and possibility of recovery had been given up


    1. Such good ones. I wonder if Nicole C. Mullen has any idea of the extent to which that song has ministered to SO many people.

    2. Beautiful Chris

  4. 1. COMMENT ON ONE THOUGHT FROM CHRIS. EXPLAIN WHY YOU CHOSE IT. – WOW Chris. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. To continue to follow God after the loss of your son Daniel. To know that he is in control not all the time not just when something happens is so good to remember. To be able to find that deeper love in Him and to know that He is the one that is stilling those fears in your life. To feel so comfortable in your relationship with The Lord that you know he accepts you in whatever way you come to him and not have to strive so hard in what you do that it can add more stress to our lives. Wow! And finally to remember especially at this time where so much evil is happening to know that this world will not give me the comfort I’m looking for as I’m only passing thru. Your testimony Chris has been revealed to us at just the right time when so many “why’s” are going thru our heads or at least mine anyway. Thank you again Chris and I will continue to pray for you and your family.

    1. Julie, I have missed you 🙂 Glad you are back!

  5. Listening to this and wanted to share:http://indeliblegrace.bandcamp.com/track/all-must-be-well-feat-matthew-smith
    Through the love of God our Saviour,
    all will be well.
    Free and changeless is his favour,
    all, all is well.
    Precious is the blood that healed us,
    perfect is the grace that sealed us,
    strong the hand stretched forth to shield us,
    all must be well.

    2 Though we pass through tribulation,
    all will be well.
    Ours is such a full salvation,
    all, all is well.
    Happy, still in God confiding,
    fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
    holy, through the Spirit’s guiding,
    all must be well.

    3 We expect a bright tomorrow,
    all will be well.
    Faith can sing through days of sorrow,
    ‘All, all is well.’
    On our Father’s love relying,
    Jesus every need supplying,
    in our living, in our dying,
    all must be well.

    Author: Mary Bowley Peters (1847)

    1. Loved it Elizabeth

    2. Elizabeth, Love this!!

    3. Elizabeth- thank you so much for sharing this. “Free and changeless is his favour” what a beautiful way of saying- nothing I do good will make Him love me more and nothing I do bad will make Him love me less- His love is not based on my behavior. How hard it is to grasp in this world of shallow love and unkept promises.
      THank you again for this affirmation.

    4. So beautiful and comforting, elizabeth. Thanks so much.

  6. 3. Read John 8:44
    A. What do you learn from Jesus about the devil?
    The devil loves to do evil; he hates truth…there is no truth in him; lying is consistent with his character…the father of all lies.

    B. What lies has the devil told you in the midst of suffering — even recently — and how can you combat those lies with the truth.
    The lies:
    You are alone; no one understands you…you “made your bed, now you MUST sleep in it”…God isn’t interested in your troubles, struggles, disappointments, etc….you are not enough.

    The truth:
    God loves me despite my sinfulness…Jesus redeemed me; I am worthy and deserving based upon Jesus’ righteousness…God IS interested and loves me; he knows the number of hairs upon my head…God has a plan for me that is FAR beyond anything that I can comprehend…God IS good; He is a God of love, mercy, and truth.

    4. Find one picture to which God pointed at the close of Job to illustrate that He is a God who knows what He is doing.
    (Job 38:33) “Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?”

  7. I forgot to mention that Ann Voskamp had an interesting post on December 17, 2012…thought you all might be interested in reading it…

    1. Thank you Nancy for that..how sad and that music is beautiful, but very sad too.

      Also If there is any new ladies I didn’t get to welcome, I just want to say I’m glad you are here..this is a safe place to be and you will be loved and prayed for:)

    2. Thank you Nancy for bringing this, I posted it on my Facebook and my husband was also ministered too through it. I wept as I read it, singing in church was impossible for me for a long time, I would just weep.

  8. 6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’s testimony — and why?

    Chris has great faith in God. I know she has struggled though because I have been here on the blog for a long time too. It didn’t happen overnight. She has worked hard to come to this place. She could have run the other way, but she knew the only way to survive LONGTERM and forever was to run to Christ. When there is nothing left, there is God.

    Some of us have been raised from birth to know this. If we had church going parents then it was part of who we were as children, teens, and young adults. I am struggling to understand this right now because my 2 young adult children are wayward. I was there once as well. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it was. I came back to God when my son was born; when I was in my 20’s. I knew there was something I needed to expose him to to raise him right. God led me there with John. Praise the Lord! I have attended church, mostly regularly since then. I am interested to know if Chris was raised with a church foundation. I can’t remember.

    When you are raised in church you realize you have another choice when terrible events occur in your lives. Without the foundation I suspect you must learn that (hopefully) from others or by attending church as an adult. Chris chose the “other choice,” to run to our Lord, who was the only one with the comfort she needed, the only one who might have the answer, the only one to lead her out of the wilderness. Thank you God for taking care of Chris. Thank you for showing her the way out and back to teach us of her faith. What a servant! Thank you Lord.

  9. 7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy — and for our nation. Write your prayer here.

    Dear Lord, you are wise beyond what we understand. You have all things under control. We are just weak, unknowing, human flesh. Although we are fashioned in your image, we are not equipped with your power. We must know you to comprehend your expansiveness. Thank you for giving us your word so we can learn who you are and what you can do to save us.

    We do not understand events like these on earth. How could anyone be so cruel to take the lives of innocent children? It is senseless. It is a wake up call for us though. Maybe those who only go to church on Easter and Christmas will rethink their need for you. I have heard talk of that nature this week. Maybe our country needs you more than they have realized? Maybe making a secular society isn’t such a great idea after all? It is an unforunate event, however maybe it teaches us a lesson as well? Newtown is showing us your love. The people are helping each other to get through this awful situation. It is amazing; the love they are showing.

    It also points out something that has been on my heart for months now. I am concerned with young adult males and depression. Lord, help us as a nation to address this point. This group needs us now. Help churches and schools (colleges) bring this to the forefront of discussion to perhaps find a way to help these young people. I personally don’t believe it is only those with a mental condition. I believe it is an entire group. These people are lonely, they need us now.

    Lord please hold each of these families in your arms. Catch their tears and let them know you are there. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  10. 6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’s testimony — and why?

    She is clinging to Him-and He has come to her and she is growing more sure of Him and less sure of herself. She chose to not back away from Him and this is a hard time for her and even though she is struggling-she is letting Him dress her-her faith after being put through the fire is being refined-and her radiance..oh..

    7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy — and for our nation. Write your prayer here.

    Oh God, our hearts are heavy-those sweet, precious faces-I don’t know how to pray-it was so evil-so evil-Oh God help these families-make your presence real and quicken their hearts to turn to you. Comfort them with your sweet comfort right now- their hearts are completely desperately broken! thank you that you can relate with death-you have been in the depths-you know..and thank you that you can relate with the parent’s grief in losing their child for you have been there too..I pray this in your name, amen.

  11. What picture is painted in Song of Songs 8:5?
    I was thinking on this passage and about the verses that say I am to clothe myself in Christ, to really accept the identity and He has so expensively purchased for me, and put it on daily, to cling to who I am in Him, not being bound by the lies or even the true things that are my earthly nature, how grasping that I am loved allows me trust, and lean and follow.
The leaning picture speaks to me of calling on the strength of another, He wants to take me places and show me things I could never dream of

    1. This is so beautiful, Chris. “The leaning picture speaks to me of calling on the strength of another, He wants to take me places and show me things I could never dream of”.

      This reminds me of Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:16

      Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us, we can run right up to the most Holy presence of God with our needs and concerns and find perfect help. I need to drive this truth deep in my heart.

  12. If you would pray for me today, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and going on a senior high youth group trip to a water park overnight.
    This youth group is from our old church. Daniel never stopped going to youth group there even years after we had moved to another church. Bill got involved in ministry there as a way to feel connected with him. The group has been blessed, when Bill began going they averaged 8-10 students. It has steady grown, recently the numbers have been 70-80, so many have come to Christ and been baptized, many who come to the group have unsaved parents.
Bill has been asking me to help, I have been reluctant for so many reasons. I dont feel I am gifted for this, it makes me emotional to be there, I fear I will thwart Bill somehow-he already has relationships with these teens, I wish he were more plugged in at the church we attend, in truth the biggest reason is it makes me uncomfortable.
    I decided that my comfort can no longer be the reason I decide not to do something, so I am going, but with trepidation!

    1. Chris, I pray you have safe travel and are blessed abundantly in this outing. What an honor to be asked to share time with so many young people who love God. I still remember and keep in touch with several of my youth leaders. You go girl- break out of that comfort zone!

    2. Sorry, I am late seeing this. How did it go? Chris, you are so brave, stepping out in trust. Hope you had a good time. But even if it was only so-so, you still did a good thing in going.

    3. Sorry I did not respond-but I did see this and have been praying!I pray you will be surprised by joy–that this may be another step of healing–I can only imagine what a blessing it will be to those kids, and Bill–to have you there

  13. 5. What picture is painted in Song of Songs 8:5?

    6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’s testimony — and why?
    Chris’ trust…she trusts more in her Lord than any circumstances–this is NOT to say that her grief wasn’t/isn’t real, penetrating, and lasting here on earth…BUT she has faith and trust in a God that is good, in the promise of an eternity with Daniel despite the evil circumstances of this world.

    7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy — and for our nation. Write your prayer here.
    Lord, we can’t comprehend…our hearts ache…the evil is penetrating…thank You for Your promise that You are with us always, even to the end of time. Please wrap Your loving arms of comfort and peace around all those grieving the loss of loved ones and friends. Thank You, Lord that You are our refuge and strength. Give those suffering inexplicable loss Your strength to endure the difficult days (months, years…) ahead. I pray also for the Lanza family…I pray for their comfort, peace, and Your strength for them in their days ahead. Let us not dissolve into despair and hopelessness…we trust You, Lord, help us to trust You even more; help us to believe, despite our limited understanding, that You have a plan that is BEST that is FAR beyond our human, earthly comprehension. You are our Lord and King…the creator of ALL…we give You thanks and praise. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.

    Dee, I’m looking SO forward to your Midday Connection Millrose Club tomorrow…I will be at work during the airing but will download the podcast when I get home…happy listening!

  14. What picture is painted in Song of Songs 8:5?
    “Who is that coming up from the wilderness,leaning on her beloved?”

    In the not so recent past our family has walked through some significant wilderness times. Two results came from that experience: 1. I found myself pressing hard against my Savior and His Words to me and 2. Our family, especially my husband and I became extremely close as we clung to each other during this hard time. That time is precious to us now!

    I want to take this verse with me into the next week as I project our family may encounter some wilderness experiences ahead. I need to lean hard on my Saviour! And I look forward to the time when “the crooked shall be made straight!”

    1. Barb–thank you for sharing how you can look back at your wilderness as precious now, for the gifts He brought through it–so encouraging to me, thank you

  15. As a newcomer I want to thank all of you for your warm welcomes. We may not see each other face to face but the words shared here act like a much needed hug and a collage filled with smiles of encouragement.
    The timing for my entering here was clearly directed by God. I thank all for the prayers for my daughter as she struggles emotionally, I see God working in her. By my entering this group as a hurting, humble, and helpless mom- I was prevented from wearing any masks blocking the intimacy I yearn for with you. Today I can sing triumphantly “It is well with my soul”.

    “GOD bless you and keep you, GOD smile on you and gift you, GOD look you full in the face
    and make you prosper” Numbers 6:24-26 The Message (MSG)

  16. I’m a newbie here too – and already I have been touched and encouraged by the words on this blog. The John passage was personally challenging and yet encouraging…The lies that seem to have attached to my life, mind and heart are not from my Heavenly Father – I must somehow shed them and live in the light and as a reflection of his Truth… A challenge, but He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Christ!
    One lie that instantly popped into my mind as I pondered this, was the lie..”not to go there and identify the deceit. It would serve no purpose and my life is fine as it is.” No it’s NOT… for the lies keep me from being all God has created me to be. Time for me to name them.

    1. Welcome, Andi. Thank you for being brave and fighting Satan’s lies. We are all fighting the lies. Let’s do it together.

    2. Hi Andi – welcome!

    3. Welcome Andi-so glad you’re here!

  17. Good evening ladies,

    Would you pray for my school and my students for tomorrow? Some of our students are threatening to bring guns to school and wreak havoc. I hear other schools are also getting these threats. I believe it is due to the supposed “end of the world” rumor for tomorrow.

    Father, you are kind and loving. Students are afraid right now and aren’t coming to school tomorrow. Please calm their hearts. Help the adults in our community be a strong force together as well as level headed and decisive. Protect us Lord. Help us. Amen.

    1. I will be praying, Laura….I am sorry to hear this – praying for your safety.

    2. Praying, Laura. Oh my, I hope this does not happen. This is insanity.

      1. All is well. Apparently there were threats all across the nation. Many students did not come to school today. Otherwise it was quiet at my school. “All is calm, all is bright.” thank you Lord.

        1. I am so glad “all is well”. I’ve been listening to elizabeth’s song “All Must Be Well” all week and find such great comfort in it.

  18. Dee, I missed you on midday connection today 🙁 I got side-tracked. Is there anyway to listen to it after the fact?

  19. 3. Read John 8:44

    A. What do you learn from Jesus about the devil?

    I learn that the devil’s desire is to murder. He was a murderer from the beginning, and rejected the truth; there is NO truth in him. He is a liar and lying for the devil is like a person speaking their native language. All lies originate from him – he is the father of lies.

    B. What lies has the devil told you in the midst of suffering – even recently – and how can you combat those lies with the truth?

    I’ve been listening to one of the Keller sermons Chris recommended on spiritual warfare. In it, he says to look back at Adam and Eve – Satan wasn’t possessing them, he was lying to them. He doesn’t leave fang marks on our flesh, but rather lies in our heart.
    I think of Jesus’ disciples on the boat in the storm, and Jesus was sleeping. The first thing they say to Him is “Lord, don’t you care….”
    In the midst of pain, trials, or suffering, that is the lie I hear – God doesn’t care, God doesn’t love you or doesn’t love the person who suffers and perhaps even dies because that proves that He didn’t care; He is distant and uninvolved.

    The truth to fight that lie is that God showed ultimately just how involved He is in our pain – He came down and lived as a man and suffered like we do and infinitely more.

    Daily, the lies of the devil try to assassinate the character of God, trying to distort and twist the truth so that I feel I cannot trust God or believe that He loves me and is good. He also accuses me with lies that try to undermine my God-given identity and my faith – lies like “you don’t really believe all this God stuff, do you…do you really think you could be a Christian – look at what you just did, or look at what you’re thinking, how could you really be saved – no one really likes you, God doesn’t even like you – uh-oh, you just failed again…you’ve been a poor excuse for a mother, a daughter, a wife, etc….”
    Charles Stanley said that the devil can’t steal a Christian’s soul, but he will do everything to see to it that we live a defeated life on the sidelines, unable to be used by God.

    One simple phrase that Jesus repeated often that I can combat these lies with is simply this: “I tell you the truth…”

    1. Susan, how I HATE those lies that attack you. You are so dearly loved and love-able. Praying the Truth will cover you–that His love for you will overpower every attack you face

  20. 4. Find one picture to which God pointed at the close of Job to illustrate that He is a God who knows what He is doing.

    “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?” Job 38:36

    This says to me that it is God who endowed man with his mind, capable of rational thought and the ability to understand, and solve problems, and invent things. But all wisdom has its source in God.

    This isn’t at the end of Job, but it is one of my favorite passages that God must have revealed this truth to Job in his suffering (and the gospel is in it)

    “You will call and I will answer you;
    you will long for the creature your
    hands have made.
    Surely then you will count my steps
    but not keep track of my sin.
    My offenses will be sealed up in a
    You will cover over my sin.” Job 14:15-17

    I see such assurance here that death does not separate us from the love of God in Christ because He longs for us.

    5. What picture is painted in Song of Songs 8:5?

    It pictures to me a man with his wife – lovers, intimately known by each other, his arm around her as she leans into him – exchanging looks whose meaning is known only to the two of them. She leans on his strength; his strength is protective and chivalrous. They have walked together through many experiences, both good and bad, and are the best of friends.

  21. 6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’ testimony – and why?

    Now I can picture Chris, coming up out of the desert, leaning on her Lover – leaning on her Lord. The way Chris expressed how before, she wouldn’t let God be the Lover of her soul. But it is her suffering that has brought her to the place where she is beginning to really take in His love for her. She has leaned in to Him and learned to trust, instead of backing away.
    This is such a deep, deep mystery – how suffering and love are intertwined. God the Father and Jesus the Son share an eternal love – yet their plan was one of deep suffering and death on a Cross – love, obedience unto death, Jesus’ love for His own – it all mingles together.

  22. 6. Now what stands out to you the most from Chris’s testimony — and why?

    I see a child-like humility and trust. She doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s OK with not knowing. She has not let this tragedy harden her heart. She is soft, gentle, kind. She is magnetic-I feel drawn to her because she cares, deeply. She is beautiful.
    JI Packer says this in his book, God’s Plans for You, and it greatly reminds me of Chris:
    “God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”

    1. Amazing quote, elizabeth.

    2. Love this! Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth!

    3. Love the Packer quote, Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing!

    4. “The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow”
      Another “opposite”, thank you for this Elizabeth

  23. Krista has a private meeting with Jeff on Sunday afternoon. Is this good or bad? Krista is hopeful that this is a good sign. Please pray. I am fearful.

    1. oh Diane–wow. I understand your concern. I will definitely continue to pray. Have been praying for peace and healing for all of you. So sorry this has been so terribly difficult. You must be completely emotionally exhausted by now. Is Krista still living with your son (new apt, right?)–and the boys with Jeff? So hard.

      1. Krista and Joel (my son) plan to move into their new apartment end of December, hopefully. The boys are still with Jeff (husband). My other son (Nathan) is arriving today with his wife and two sons to stay here until end of December. Yes, I am emotionally exhausted but realize that Christ come to earth as Immanuel (God with us) is my Hope. I am leaning hard on Him as the storm waves lash furiously. He is with me in the midst of the storm.

        1. Diane, Praying for all of you in this situation.

        2. Diane, I pray for you as well.
          Lord, I pray that You will support Diane in this storm. Be her Immanuel and Krista’s as well. As her son Nathan visits, please be in the midst of this entire family. Bring comfort and fellowship on a heart level as they visit. Thank You that they can all be together at this time. May this house be filled with peace and each one realize the enormous gift they have been given in Christ. Amen.

        3. Thanks, Becca and Anne, for your prayers. I need to remember Christ is at the helm and trust Him.

          This from Tullian Tchividjian today, “despite our failures at sea, God is at the helm piloting us to safety, we will eventually give up on sailing altogether.” from


        4. Diane,
          I’m continuing to pray for you, Krista, Jeff, and their boys…praying that God will move in hearts to bring this family back together.

        5. Diane,
          Krista and Jeff, you and their boys have been heavy on my heart, please know I will continue to pray as God keeps burdening me, I will especially be in prayer on Sunday. I keep praying for Jeff’s heart to be tender towards Krista, and for him to remember his wedding vows.

        6. Thanks, Susan and Chris, I so much appreciate your continued prayers.

  24. 7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy — and for our nation. Write your prayer here.

    Oh Father, every time I come to You with this, I am overwhelmed with tears. This tragedy, these children, kindergarteners, and their teachers—oh how it has torn me up. But I know You—and I know You grieve even deeper than I can imagine. Lord, I pray many will turn to You as a result. In our humanness we ask-“where are You, God?”—and You tell us “I AM.” You are God, You are here, You have not forgotten. You know the pain of losing a Child. You grieve. You weep. Lord, I pray You would comfort Your people. I pray these families will turn to You and lean upon You for their every breath. I pray those who do not know You would come to know You and those who do, would deepen their intimacy with You, Lord. I Thank You that You hear, I thank You that You care, that You love us so. And that one Day, all will be well.

    1. Yes. Yes. Amen.

  25. Our family (my side) is having Christmas this weekend. I am helping my mother with all the meals and am sure I won’t be on until after Christmas so I want to tell you all how thankful I am for each and everyone of you. Have a very blessed Christmas. May He be very near. Love to you all.
    P.S. The free sermon suggestion is very good. 🙂

    1. Kim, Have a wonderful Christmas! I am sure the meals you and your mother are preparing together are going to be wonderful! I am thankful for you too. 🙂

  26. 18 month old Jay’s report from today…

    “The tumor in Jay’s chest has shrunk since the last time he had a scan. The remaining tumor is very small. There are two spots for sure that need to be resected. That was the good news. Unfortunately, there is more. Jay has had a bump on the top of his head for about 6 weeks. We saw dermatology today because no one was able to say for sure what it was and there were two additional bumps forming. The dermatologist is confident that it is Neuroblastoma tumors in his skin. They took a biopsy today and we will get the results in about a week.” (from Mom, Bridget)

    Thank you in advance for any prayers offered for Jay, Bridget & Travis (Jay’s parents).

    1. Oh Nanci, praying..

    2. Thank you, Rebecca and Becca.

    3. Nanci–I did see this last night and continue to pray for them–SO hard and now with Christmas, I am so sorry for them

      1. Thanks Elizabeth.
        I pray for miraculous healing for Jay, well aware that the whole situation is beyond my comprehension in regards to God’s will/plan…my heart aches for Bridget and Travis, and grandparents, Patty and Mark…I know that they so hoped that this battle might be over with Jay being the victor. I pray that they (Bridget, Travis, and Patty) will not lose hope and descend into despair. Jay’s situation brings to mind how many others are dealing with similar situations…prayers and more prayers for sick children and their parents and family, wisdom for medical staff, etc….; it also makes me evermore thankful for the health and well-being of my girls. I am truly appreciative of your continued prayers and your compassionate nature, Elizabeth.

    4. Nanci what does resected mean? surgery?
      A week is such a long time to wait for results. I will be praying too.
      When we were in the hospital there was a never ending stream of helicopters and ambulances arriving.
      A constant tide of suffering.

      1. Thanks for your prayers, Chris…as you suspected, “resected” does mean surgically removing the cancerous areas. And yes, a week does seem like a long time to wait for results, but I would imagine that to a certain extent Christmas is probably part of the reason, but then again, I’m not sure…maybe it truly will take that long to get the biopsy results. Bridget and Travis probably wish that the holiday wouldn’t take their doctors/surgeons away from “their work”…I have very much respect for the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital medical professionals that have worked with Jay, overall they have been knowledgeable, compassionate, and have dealt with the family on a personal level, which has been a blessing. On a lighter note, they will be with Jay’s grandparents (our relatives and good friends)/Travis’ Mom for Christmas…away from the hospital atmosphere for just a few days…

        By the way, Chris…thank you for your courage and strength in sharing about Daniel…being new to the blog, I was not aware…I am so sorry for your loss…

  27. Nanci, I am praying

  28. I hád so hoped to spend more time here this week but now the week is gone and a long list of things on the agenda for tomorrow. I am thankful my oldest son made it safely in today in spite of high winds at our airport. He has announced his engagement and marriage in September of next year. I am walking new ground. I had lunch with his fiancee yesterday and was very blessed. She loves him. She sees the good things in him and she loves him. That blesses me so much. I thank you for all that you have prayed for him. I am seeing the fruit of those prayers. He is interested in something called admiralty law which has to do with shipping and has not changed much since the turn of the last century. He loves history and the military so it sort of falls in line with that love. His connection with it seems to have come about by accident. So I am praying that God would open and close doors as He directs.
    I wanted to give you that big news and now I would like to work my way up the comments as much as I can. Love to all of you and merry Christmas.

    1. Anne,
      We love when you are here and thanks for sharing your good news with us – congratulations on the upcoming marriage of Al and all the good things that are happening in his life! Merry Christmas to you, too!

    2. Anne! So glad to hear from you and hear the good news! Great to hear he is going to do something he loves to do. I know that also is a balm to your heart as a mother. 🙂

    3. Congratulations Anne! I teared up when you wrote twice ‘she loves him’.
      As a mother of boys I understand!

    4. oh Anne! What JOY for you all this Christmas–and how you bless them with your enthusiasm! That young daughter-in-law-to be is so very blessed to have you, what a treasure~Merry Christmas!

    5. Thank you everyone for rejoicing with me. I am so blessed in you!

  29. 16. If you can listen, would love to have your thoughts.

    Very interesting Christmas song, Dee. I was unable to hear all of Midday and missed your song, so listened to Belafonte’s version. I like the soothing lilt of the song and the gentle reminders of Jesus’ humble birth in poverty and humility, so comforting that he identifies with the poorest and neediest. That includes me.

    But my favorite part was the end.

    We look up and see
    Stars of hope shine in the sky
    To mark the baby’s birth
    Seemed to say it’s borning day
    Of better times on earth
    Of better times on earth

    Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of better times. The completion is not yet, but we have a solid hope.

  30. 7. Let’s pray for the families in this tragedy – and for our nation. Write your prayer here.

    Dear Lord, my cry to You is HELP. There are no words for what happened in that school last week. You look and see hearts that are broken into pieces, little eyes of children who saw unthinkable horror and who have those images in their minds now, empty arms that long to hug children who are not here, empty beds without a child to tuck in at night. Husbands who have lost their wives when they selflessly sacrificed themselves for those kids. Please comfort Your people and draw them to You – love them, weep with them, hug them, sit with them, listen to them – surround them with those who can be Your arms and ears and weep the tears with them. We are so needy, we need Your help, Lord. In Jesus’Name, Amen.

  31. 16. If you can listen, would love to have your thoughts.

    I really like listening to Milrose Club on Fridays! I pictured you, Anita, and Melinda sitting at a table and talking. It always has an intimate feel to it, and I appreciate how this program models conversation that moves deeper, past the superficial, gossipy-type conversation that is so typical. This is how you really get to know someone and what stands out to me also is that it is a safe environment – nothing is worse than when you open up to someone and then your thoughts or feelings are made fun of or rejected. When people care about what you think and feel, I equate that with they care about you; when they listen carefully and respond to what you say, too.
    Loved the story of Steve buying 18 Hallmark scrapbooks for everyone (of all ages!) on his list, and hearing about your childhood and Christmas traditions. Enjoyed the music you brought – I’d never heard that song before and I could hear the emotion in your voice when you said what it meant to you, personally. I hope they have you back soon!

      1. I heard that glitch too – oh well – what you guys were talking about was worth hearing twice!

    1. Listening now..So far no repeating but I am only 15 minutes in..

  32. So far so good! Yes, it does still start over in the middle but it is wonderful! I too love the story of Steve buying everyone the same thing-I can identify with that. 🙂 Getting ready to listen to the music Dee is going to share! 🙂

  33. OH wow.. I haven’t heard that song before. I looked up the lyrics online. I love how Dee brought out how He left His throne to come down-He gave so much for us-He was willing to be hungry for us-what He gave up to rescue me..coming down from His throne to be doubted and ridiculed by the Pharisees-lived knowing He will taste death ultimate and take on our wrath..and separation from God on the cross..oh my..

    I was also thinking about parents who when they are blessed financially shower their children with gifts-GREAT discussion. I think this desire comes from God-but sin nature has skewed it of course and we are finite and flawed. Spoiling children materially isn’t good for them, but to me it is a picture of how God delights in showering us with His wealth through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, well and in material ways as well.

    He sacrificed so much to cover us in His righteous robes and to totally turn around what the Fall did. I am thinking of the ramifications had he not come to our rescue and when I go back to the cross and remember-I melt and it makes me so small. I hate it when I go away from the cross-and in an instant during the day I forget-and I do..but I know He is changing that in me.

    I still can’t get over what He gave up and I don’t want to get over it.

  34. 7. What is your take-a-way and why
    This has been such a good lesson for me on suffering why we are allowed to go through
    My favorite quote is the one from Longfellow ” God is not dead doth He sleep!”

    I appreciate Chris for sharing her personnel story and for being so open and honest. I only have one child and when I was young mother my greatest fear was losing her to some tragedy. I don’t think I would have survived it. And I am grateful for God’s sovereign Grace.
    I can’t read everyone’s post and comment all the time, but I do follow the lessons.
    I just want to say what a comfort this blog has been and how it has help me grow stronger in Christ.
    My wish is that everyone have a Blessed and Safe Christmas!

    1. Christmas blessings to you, Laura Marie!

    2. Merry Christmas Laura Marie! 🙂

  35. Father I come before you with a broken heart for these bewildered people who are trying to go on after such horror, magnified at Christmas time. We know that you have promised to be near those crushed in spirit. I pray that the believers who are near them will be your hands and feet to love them, free those who minister from the feeling of needing to rid them of the pain or to provide an answer, give them the ability to enter into and be okay with grief, to simply weep with those who weep.

I know that all thing work together for good for those who love you, I ask for these who are split in two, feeling as if a huge hole is blown through the center of their beings, that the enemy will have no further victory here, that the watching world will see the believers in this group continue to trust you and hold fast to the Truth, and that new faith will result.

    I pray too that this horrible evil thing that has come to pass will turn the hearts of parents everywhere to You and to their children. That the difficulties of life will be overshadowed by eyes open to the rich blessings you have provided.

    I am so overtaken with relief with the knowledge that in the fullness of time, horrible tragedies will stop, one day all things will be made new, all our tears will be wiped away.
    In Jesus precious name amen

    1. This is beautiful Chris–your compassion is so deep.

      Can you tell us how the youth event went?

      1. You are so sweet Elizabeth!
        It went well, I handled the food, which Bill thought was helpful. There was an incident with one of the students that took some time to resolve, it was an honor to see God use the team to minster to her in love until she made a tearful confession. The spiritual level of some of the teens was really cool to see.
        We went down some water slides, slept very little and drove home in a snowstorm, I am glad I went and was really glad to get home!

    2. Amen. That is a beautiful prayer.

  36. Just want to take a minute to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I’m not sure what the next few days will bring and I know many of you are very busy as well. So I hope all of you have a Christ-focused Holy Day and blessings from our gracious loving Father.

    This blog has been so helpful to me in refocusing my eyes on Jesus time and time again when I start to take my eyes off of Him and, like Peter, start to sink into the waves. It is so marvelous that He gave up heavenly glory to be born as a poor boy in an obscure family and ultimately to die for our salvation.

    “Oh, glorious love of Christ my Lord divine,
    That made Him stoop to save a soul like mine.
    Through all my days, and then in heaven above,
    My song will silence never,
    I’ll worship Him forever,
    And praise Him for His glorious love.”


    1. Thanks, Diane, and a Merry Christmas to you…I will be praying that Krista’s meeting tomorrow is positive. Take good care.

    2. so beautiful Diane. Continuing prayers for you all each morning He brings you to my heart. Praying especially too for the meeting tomorrow of Krista and Jeff. Merry Christmas dear friend!

  37. I’ve been meditating on the beautiful scripture about coming out of the wilderness leaning on my Beloved. This devotional, written by Spurgeon, was encouraging to me as we’ve come through a troubling week and I’m preparing for a house-full of people for a few days. It’s kind of long, but I hope it edifies others as well. He is our source. We need not fear.

    “I will strengthen thee.” –Isaiah 41:10

    God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this engagement; for He is able to do all things. Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth’s huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy faith. The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that He will prove unable to fulfil His own promises. Remember what He did in the days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power? Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou for a moment indulge the thought that He has outpromised Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfil? Ah, no! Thou canst doubt no longer.

    O thou who art my God and my strength, I can believe that this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of Thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of Thy strength can never be emptied by Thy friends or rifled by Thine enemies.

    “Now let the feeble all be strong,
    And make Jehovah’s arm their song.”

    1. oh Cathy, I (big fan of Spurgeon!) love this–thank you for posting–“The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength.”

  38. 8. If you can listen, would love to have your thoughts.
    Wow-I am surprised. I didn’t know what I’d think of the “chit chat” style—but I love this! I would honestly listen daily if you were on, Dee. Love hearing your thoughts about trees! I had pegged you for a “real” girl. I’ve become a “permanent” type—a bit like Steve, my practical side wins out—though my family just about disowned me for that 😉
    Loved the gifts talk too. People—so much more important than the gift. I did relate to not really wanting to “receive” more gifts—though I do value time, experiences…just no more “stuff”—but I do love to give. Of course then I think—what if they are like me and don’t want more stuff either! Easier with kids, I guess. So agree with Thanksgiving too—really has become one of my favorite celebrations.

    I appreciated Dee’s sharing about her parents–so personal. And wow, this: “Suffering has helped me with my princess entitlement”. I have to say, I do not see Dee as a “princess” type. I see a woman who is real, approachable, down to earth—who values people and relationships.

    OK, what’s funny, the part that repeats—I think that was for me! THANKFULLY I’ve changed, but I used to be really hard on my husband (mostly in dating years) about gifts. In my mind, gifts didn’t have to be expensive, but thoughtful. Something I had mentioned, or needed…oh, bad memories! These days though I’m still a pain because I really don’t want anything! We were talking just this morning—my husband wanting ideas…and I couldn’t give him ANY. But at least I held back from any comments about him asking on Dec. 22nd 😉 Truly, I love time—and a good get away, that’s a gift to me.
    Really enjoyed the music too—beautiful.

  39. 17. What is your take-a-way and why?

    I just want to thank Chris again for sharing her testimony. I understand how hard it much be to make such private pain so public. Chris, you are such a dear. May God bless you tenderly for wanting to help others in this way.

    1. I think your a dear Diane. I hope joy surprises you this Christmas, even in this hard season

  40. Chris, I have to say you have a wonderful testimony and my heart melted when I heard it for the first time-and it is already making such an impact. I have been praying for you in this-since last August. 😉 I was hoping so much that you would get to give testimony of how He has come to you..and you have!! In His time! God is so good. Your heart is so honest-you pant after Him, and I am so honored to call you my friend. I won’t forget when you said to me, “Rebecca I want to love Him more, I want to sense Him more-I feel sometimes like I don’t, but I just want to grow closer to Him.” My heart melted to see your honest hungry heart.

    1. I am honored to know how you have prayed, I think they have availed much, I am in a better place than I was in August.
      Bless your heart Rebecca!

  41. My take away for this week….hmmm, its been quite a week, sad, humbling and encouraging.

    I want to really really thank each of you wonderful sisters in Christ who have stuck with me through all of this and those of you who have joined more recently. God has used you powerfully in my life, so if my story edifies you somehow, I am blessed. You have all been so kind!

    And dear Dee, you are such a powerful role model. Your vulnerable sharing of your pain and your struggles has ministered so much to me and countless others, I am so very grateful that you have provided this unique experience. Steve must be so pleased with how his prayers for God to use you mightily have been answered.

    My take away is a desire to think of Christ more and myself less, so that I will be available to minister to others as God provides opportunities

      1. Don’t you think Dee that they do see?
        Are they not part of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’?

  42. 17. What is your take-away and why?

    Chris’ words in her testimony, Longfellow’s faith put into poetry,
    Scripture that gives us truth over lies, honest, respectful discussion about hard, ugly
    realities of life on this earth. It’s hard to put into words. Christmas doesn’t
    magically cover over the hard things in life, even death. Somehow, they exist side-by-side. Yet, I see that in the baby Jesus lying in the manger; going back to the poem by T.S. Eliot, it was a birth, yet there was the sensing of death as well.

    Chris, I really see God using your journey through grief to help so many others; thank you for being willing to share openly here.

    1. Your posts this week have touched me Susan, I hope this Christmas holds something remarkable for you.

  43. 9. What is your take-a-way and why?
    What struck me anew this week is that everything God has told us about suffering is true. Chris is a living example of these Biblical truths. I am so thankful for the real-life encouragement she brings.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

    2 Corinthians 4:17
    For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

    James 1:2-4
    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    James 5:10-11
    Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

    1 Peter 4:12-13
    Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

    Romans 5:3-5
    Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

    Romans 8:18
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

    Hebrews 4:15-16
    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

    1. Oh my, elizabeth. So true! “everything God has told us about suffering is true”. Love the verses to back this up.

    2. I am thankful for the ‘real life’ encouragement you bring Elizabeth