THERE IS AN OLDER BROTHER SOLUTION TO SUFFERING:
DISPLAYED IN JOB’S “MISERABLE” COMFORTERS
THERE IS A YOUNGER BROTHER SOLUTION TO SUFFERING:
DISPLAYED IN JOB’S WIFE
THERE IS A GOSPEL SOLUTION:
DISPLAYED IN JOB
The older brother way is to either hate God (for not giving us what we think we have earned) or to hate ourselves (for not living up to the moral standard that would have ensured that God would not punish us.) Job’s “miserable comforters” were sure Job had sinned, or else he would not have been suffering.
The younger brother way is to reject God, to go our own way, to, as Job’s wife advised, “Curse God and die.”
The gospel approach may mean struggling, yet inevitably surrendering, for we know God is our only hope and we know God is good. (We see this so clearly in our own Chris, whose video testimony I will show you this week, in case you haven’t seen it.) We know we deserve punishment, yet we also know that punishment was paid in full at the cross — so we are not being punished. IT IS FINISHED, He cried. (So let it be!) We know also that suffering is inevitable in this life, but for the Christian, it is only temporary. Job, the disciples, and Jesus Himself all suffered greatly in this life — but it was temporary. So we will never curse God, but look forward to the day when all tears are wiped away, death and sin are vanquished, and sorrow is turned to unimaginable joy.
In Gerald Segher’s painting above, see all three of these approaches. His style of emphasizing truth with light reveals Job not only as the gospel approach but points to the greater Job, the One who took our punishment so that we can know that we are not being punished, and the One who is our only lifeline, so we must never turn away from Him.
Many believers revert to either side of the gospel because they have a poor theology of suffering. Matt Chandler is very helpful in this two minute clip in correcting poor theology:
Sunday/Monday (For those of you who are just sharing the gold, we love to hear all your answers during the icebreakers)
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study
THE YOUNGER BROTHER APPROACH TO SUFFERING
4. Do you agree with Keller that Job’s wife (see Job 2:9) represents the younger brother approach? Why or why not?
5. When suffering comes into your life, have you felt tempted to give up on God? Why or why not?
THE OLDER BROTHER APPROACH TO SUFFERING
I think for most believers who suffer, we are more likely to veer toward the error of the older brother than the younger. When my husband died of cancer in his prime. I often had thoughts like: I deserve this. I am so selfish. I forget about the poor. I could have been such a better wife to Steve. Why didn’t I lay down my speaking right away and stay home with him? I deserve this. I was overcome, not just with the grief of losing the love of my life, but with the sense I and our children were suffering because of my failures. Yet, as Chris shares in her testimony, I could not back away from God. I knew He was my only lifeline. I cried, “Help,” and He came running. Truly, I believe He led me to Keller’s sermons. I began with the psalms of lament, and then proceeded through Job. I was arrested when Keller said: When a believer suffers, it is NEVER because God is punishing Him. Jesus took that at the cross. I knew it was true and my soul found rest.
In Luther’s forward to the Galatians, he wrote: For human beings by nature, when they get near either danger or death itself, will of necessity examine their own worthiness. We defend ourselves before all threats by recounting our good deeds and moral efforts. But then the remembrance of sins and flaws inevitably comes to mind, and this tears us apart…
The older brother approach is sinister — and full of lies. When we use it on ourselves, it tears us apart. When we assume that sin is behind sorrow in others, we twist a knife in their wound. The first “friend” to speak to Job is Eliphaz, who has been listening to Job’s honest lament to God. It was Mike Mason in The Gospel According to Job, who alerted me to how the dream that Eliphaz describes to support his accusations is from Satan.
4. Read Job 3:25-26 and describe the closing of Job’s lament.
Read Job 4 in The Message (watch for the lies and the spirit of the evil one!)
Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:
“Would you mind if I said something to you?
Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting!
You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?
Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?
7-11 “Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?
Do genuinely upright people ever lose out in the end?
It’s my observation that those who plow evil
and sow trouble reap evil and trouble.
One breath from God and they fall apart,
one blast of his anger and there’s nothing left of them.
The mighty lion, king of the beasts, roars mightily,
but when he’s toothless he’s useless—
No teeth, no prey—and the cubs
wander off to fend for themselves.
12-16 “A word came to me in secret—
a mere whisper of a word, but I heard it clearly.
It came in a scary dream one night,
after I had fallen into a deep, deep sleep.
Dread stared me in the face, and Terror.
I was scared to death—I shook from head to foot.
A spirit glided right in front of me—
the hair on my head stood on end.
I couldn’t tell what it was that appeared there—
a blur . . . and then I heard a muffled voice:
17-21 “‘How can mere mortals be more righteous than God?
How can humans be purer than their Creator?
Why, God doesn’t even trust his own servants,
doesn’t even cheer his angels,
So how much less these bodies composed of mud,
fragile as moths?
These bodies of ours are here today and gone tomorrow,
and no one even notices—gone without a trace.
When the tent stakes are ripped up, the tent collapses—
we die and are never the wiser for having lived.’”
5. Describe the tone in which Eliphaz begins in 1-6. What does Eliphaz tell Job to trust in in verse 6? What is wrong with this?
6. How would you answer the question Eliphaz asks in verse 7?
7. Describe the dream in verses 12 through 17. Find evidences that it was not from God, but from the evil one.
My husband had a dream from the evil one when he was battling cancer. He was being carried downward on a stretcher to hell — but he cried, “No — I belong to Jesus and I am forgiven. In the name of the blood of Jesus, turn around.” They turned around and carried him up. (Usually dreams don’t end like that — but I believe God intervened, reassuring Steve that He was greater than the enemy.)
8. What question does this “spirit” ask in verse 17?
9. When suffering has come into your life, have you hated yourself or God? Why or why not?
THE GOSPEL APPROACH TO SUFFERING
Job is lamenting in chapter 13, and by verse 14, he has a question for the Lord. “If a man dies, will he live again?” The Spirit of God answers him, with the gospel!
10. According to Job 14:15, what will God one day do for each of His children and why?
11. According to Job 14:16-17, what will God do with our sin?
Without going more into Job, the Gospel appears in the three “visitations” from God to Job. First, above, assuring him his sins are forgiven. He is not being “punished” for his sin. Then, when he has a vision of God as His redeemer. And finally, in the close, when God points to creation as evidence that He is a God who is in control and when He tells Job’s friends to repent to Job. The Gospel answer from Job that I would summarize for suffering is:
- You are not being punished, Your sins are covered. They have been paid in full.
- Your Lord is your Redeemer — and one day He will stand on the earth, making all things right.
- Your God has not lost control — He will do all things well in His time.
- You may not understand now, but accept the mystery of suffering, for I have died for you, love you, am in control, and will make all things right.
12. Describe God’s words to Job’s friends in Job 42:7-9. What does this tell you?
Our own Chris defeats both the younger brother and the older brother approach in her testimony. You may have seen this before, but I think it is worth watching again to see how she does it. Here it is:
13. How does the gospel help Chris face her suffering? How did she reject both the younger and older brother approach? How did the book of Job help her?
Listen to this sermon and share your notes: Link
14. What is your take-a-way and why?
I just finished listening to Keller’s sermon twice. So much to ponder. Others have summarized it well here. What I am pondering here the most from the sermon is that we NEED to NOT KNOW why we are suffering, because if we knew then we would be loving God for WHAT WE CAN GET FROM GOD rather than loving just to get God and to LOVE HIM FOR HIMSELF. We have to actively embrace living in the “not knowing” why and have poise, faith and even a measure of joy in the suffering because we trust God with no earthly reward in view. We need to sit quietly before God in trust and demand nothing. This is so profound that I KNOW I do not fully understand it fully – maybe just the tiniest bit and that part that I do get blows my mind.
Yes, Diane–oh this is SO good. I agree you hit on the most profound part–we actually NEED to not know the why! That is where true trust lies,true love for God alone, and where true transformation can begin in us. So thankful to have read this just now-thank you.
Krista, I had to ask the same kind of question earlier and was given this link, which worked well for me, hope it does for you:
It was free.
Thanks! Mom emailed it to me as well. 🙂
Keller’s sermon was amazing! I listened twice and may actually go back and listen again 🙂 I gleaned so much.
I think it was cool that Job said he came into the world with nothing and would leave with nothing. He was not concerned with material or earthly things at all, only God. The only thing I would say is it might be hard for us to relate to our earthly relatives and friends because we are on such different playing fields. Job was in tune with God, the others were not. Guise relationships are important here on earth because they are who we live with and deal with everyday. We have to find a way to cope.
I agree wholeheartedly…ditto to Laura-dancer.
14. What is your take-a-way and why?
The enlightenment I received regarding suffering this week is incredible…what comfort it gives to be reminded that God didn’t make disease, natural disaster or death, these are all forces of darkness that were unleashed with humanity’s fall into sin. God IS in control and allows (permits) evil in way and amount that defeats Satan’s intentions; God gives Satan only enough rope to hang himself.
Suffering is the only way to be sure that I am loving and serving God FOR God and not for God’s blessings. Real and ultimate love is one of integrity, compassion, empathy, etc. unlike a love for things that is a love that exploits, manipulates, and is cynical.
I must embrace mystery and hold on to the theology of grace; in this way suffering will drive me deeper to the source of my joy which is God.
So good, Nanci. And praying for Jay.
Jay update: Following is an update from Bridget…as always, thank you for prayers offered.
3/15/13 – Day +8 from transplant (day 18 overall)
Jay is resting comfortably now. They started him on a continuous morphine pump to help with the pain. His breathing is better, but his smiles are not as forth-coming as we are used to. He is on some high doses of steroids and breathing treatments, as well as lasix, to keep his respiratory rate more comfortable. Our primary battle at this time is with mucositis. The chemo that Jay had causes the lining of the digestive system to break down (aka mucositus). Because the chemo was so intense, the mucositus is severe. This is very painful and will last for a couple weeks until Jay’s donor cells start to grow in his bone marrow. The past couple of days have been kind of tough and we have a long way to go. Thank you so much for your love and support.
Thanks for this update, Nanci. Continuing to pray for little Jay.
14. What is your take-away and why?
This morning I listened to Keller’s sermon on Job and suffering. As I reflected back on this week’s lesson, pondering the questions that asked “how do you respond to suffering” and how do I feel about God when suffering happens, the thing that impacted me most from it all was that Keller pointed out the lie we’ve been told from the beginning, “God doesn’t love you” (he said Satan sings that song “What’s Love Got To Do With It”). Adam and Eve said that God didn’t want them to eat from that one tree because He loves us – Satan said what’s love got to do with it? He’s using you, holding out on you…
Satan brought up the same point in his conversation with God about Job, when God said that Job “feared” Him (had an inner awe and wonder of God, Satan said what’s love got to do with it? He doesn’t love You, He loves the money, the stuff, the status…
Yet, when Satan accuses us before God, God doesn’t believe it…when Satan accuses God before us, we believe him. I have believed the lie, and Tim Keller said he has, too. He has also struggled with believing in his heart of hearts that God loves him. This is our human struggle, the deciding point, the point on which everything else rests – DO I BELIEVE GOD LOVES ME.
What I want to take-away is a resounding YES! God the Father loved His Son. When Jesus was baptized, God’s voice boomed from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love. With Him I am well-pleased.” Yet Jesus ended up on a Cross. More love – Jesus willingly went there out of love for me. When I suffer personally, or suffer because I’m watching someone I love suffer, I can be assured that God loves me and He loves the one I love, too. When my nephew died, I wanted to know why God allowed it, and I was mad, at times, and thought that God must not have loved him very much. Yet God in His grace kept drawing me back to Him – like Chris said in her testimony, I also thought of Peter’s words, thinking where else will I go? To who else can I go? God is truly the only lifeline to hold onto.
Satan’s voice: Suffering proves God doesn’t love you, and if you give yourself fully to Him and trust Him and give Him your love, He’ll crush you.
God’s voice: I love you. I identify with your suffering because I suffered too. Trust me, I haven’t left you. Jesus was crushed so you wouldn’t be crushed. Your trials are not punishment.
My response: God, You are my Heavenly Father. As a perfect and good Father, You love me as your child. I can trust You because You are good, all Your ways are good. You are not out to get me or hurt me; in fact, it hurts Your heart when I believe the lie that You are that way. Jesus, You are the perfect Older Brother. You saw the Father’s anguish over His lost children and You left home to come and bring us home. You are the best Friend anyone could ever have, for You said that there is no greater love than this – that You laid down Your life for Your friends. Oh how I want to know more and more the depths of this tremendous love, and I want to be changed by it. I want to love You just for You. I love You, Lord. Thank you for coming to me this morning through the words of the sermon and through the Scripture in Job.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Susan, and for your prayer. It is my prayer too, but even this morning I find myself fretting about my circumstances, and admitted to myself that I am not really believing that He loves me and that I am not fully trusting Him. I DO believe and yet I don’t believe deeply enough in my heart of hearts, as Keller admitted as well. Still, I am seeing more clearly my sin and that makes it easier to run back to God and say “Oh, help. I am a sinner. God help me, rescue me from myself.”
What I always see in you Susan is a heart for God.
I have read over posts that I missed throughout the week…I am sorry for my delayed prayers.
Cyndi, Kim, Elizabeth, and Chris, I will be praying for you and the challenges you are facing. May the Lord give you additional needed strength, comfort, and wisdom during these times of difficulty.
I was transplanting and repotting all my plants yesterday and busy gardening outside.
I actually have a bit of a sunburn.
Anyhow wht I discovered while doing all this lovely work is that with some plants I had to place them together for various reasons.
Some were quite beautiful but I had to “sister” them together.
Where one was lacking the other was not.
Put them together and they are a beautiful plant now.
Stronger, one shades the other.
When u rebuild a house’s foundation.
When the foundation boards have been cut and weakened due to various reasons.
U sister them with another board.
To strengthen and make stronger the foundations.
I found it interesting in realizing that the word “sister” applies in both places.
To make one stronger, to give shade to one another.
That is what all of you have done for me.
Made me stronger and you have given me shade(protection) when I needed it the most.
That is what I have discovered while doing this study. I came into the study with not very much faith in people. I trusted God but He wants me to have an abundant life which means interacting with sisters in the faith. That is all of u.
Some weeks I am diligent but even if I am unable to complete all of the studies, I am still lifted up, when I read the responses. I am blown away by the honesty of everyone. It reassures me that I can attend church. That I can go to bible studies. That I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strenthens me.
All u ladies have blessed me so much in so many ways. This bible study has as well as listening to Pastor Keller’s sermons. I now have them saved to my favourites. Bit by bit over the last few months my faith has been renewed not only in God but in the church. This is still a church even if it is on line. Are we not commanded to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another that all may be healed. I am not exactly sure of the where that scripture is the bible or if I am quoting it properly but I know the scripture exists.
I thought that I would share this with u.
After reading all of our responses or most of them.
I am strengthened by all of your honest and heartfelt responses.
I have completed Dee’s book and it is awesome. I want to meditate on it. I want to meditate on the scripture. Chew slowly if u know what I mean. I literally want to digest all that God is giving me. I do journal so that helps. If the enemy attacks my thoughts I can say no- out loud and quote scripture and read my journal, books etc. and know that God is good and all His promises are Yes and Amen!
The Lord has led me to Joyce Meyer just like He led me this bible study last fall after watching 100 Huntley Street where Dee was speaking. I had heard of Joyce before but her tv show has blessed me as well. I feel like I am beginning a new journey of faith. One step at a time.
Blessings my eternal sisters
Wow Mellany great sisters point! Seems we have a reputation for strengthening one another since the beginning. I’m so glad you are feeling better and getting out.
I like your thoughts that we are an “online church”! And as sisters we give each other shade and strength.
Exciting to see your excitement — and you put things so well too, Mellany.
and blessings to you, my sister in Christ, Mellany…:)
My take-aways from this week: The video by Chris Swan is undoubtedly my numero uno for this week! Keller’s sermon on suffering was exceptional as well. I finished reading his book, King’s Cross. I can heartily recommend it to anyone. He is so insightful!
Then you top all of that with the fact I just arrived home from attending a Changed Life Seminar at which Susie Larson was the speaker. I had never heard her before, and was delighted. She could speak from past pain and suffering, but with such a sense of humor! I could see multiple connections between her message today and many of the things we have been learning in this Bible Study blog. I couldn’t begin to share all of it on this blog, but I am carrying one remark with me: “As Christ’s followers, we are not too small to do big things, but we are also not too big to do the small things.”
The music today was provided by a 17-year-old girl named Abby Paskvan, who evidently specializes in gospel and religious music. I have never known anyone that young who had that much poise and certainly not that mature, clear, beautiful voice — it was amazing!
I feel like I have been so blessed in multiple spiritually uplifting ways this week!! Can’t wait to see what Dee posts tomorrow!!
My take away:
I am so touched every time I watch Chris’s video. I get something more out of it every time. It is so deep. She is so humble and clearly learning from Jesus in the midst of her never ending pain. Love you so much, Chris.
But, I was also deeply touched by Keller’s sermon, especially the part that God deliberately doesn’t tell Job why he suffered and we aren’t likely to know either because, if we knew, we would look to the goal of our suffering instead of completely trusting God and loving God for Himself and not for what He gives. This insight shows me that demanding answers or fixes from God is just another way of not trusting Him, of wanting things instead of wanting God. I have so much to learn about embracing the mystery. As I rewatched Chris’s video, I see she is learning this lesson. She will never know why Daniel was killed, but she turned to God accepting the mystery, and God has been there for her in amazing ways and she shows his love in her depth and humility.
PRAISE – Adam home safely from spring break in Florida! He spent the last nite he was there at my husband’s uncle’s home as he and his wife took Adam to the airport early this morning. He told us that where he stayed was right next to the biggest nightclub in the country – but he told his dad that the experience there was “too wild, even for me”.
He observed…he discerned…thank you for praying!
So thankful he is home safely, Susan
I started this week wondering why I felt a barrier that had started the week before and was not really grasping the study, but part way through the week it I realized that I was bothered by a decision my dad made the week previously. I worked through it and came to acceptance that it was his decision but that I felt that it will eventually result is the disintegration of my family (brothers & sisters) and it has been a major distraction. I have ben trying to focus (unsuccessfully) on the study, I have been able to understand more on suffering this week when it occurred to me that I was grieving the loss of my family (emotionally they are all still breathing)and there was nothing I could do to undo anything. Keller’s sermon helped, reading the posts by everyone helped as I didn’t feel I was alone in my discouragement. I tried turning to God a lot this week anytime I realized I was thinking too much about it, I would remember to turn to God and read a little quote that I have posted on the screen of my computer at work (sit still for a bit, I can do wonders with this mess of yours)and I would smile and agree with God that this was a mess that only He could fix and that would require a change of everyone’s heart in my family, including mine. I see so much resentment and animosity that I just want to run away and hide, but this week I was able to run more to my Lord than I had before.
No matter what happens now, at least one of my siblings will resent another one because of my father’s decision. If my dad realizes the likely outcome and undoes his decision, another will be resentful. Each will suspect the other of manipulating my dad. Unfortunately, when the time comes, I am named as one of the executors and I will be implementing his decision. I don’t have any problem with his decision (at least I don’t think I do) I know his reasons and that tells me his heart was his motivator. At first I was caught off guard by it and did suspect one sibling of influencing my father and was feeling resentful. It took me about a week to ask God to show me my own heart and why I was resentful and the thought came to me that I was resentful, because I felt that I was going to be the one to have to try to deal with the fallout after the fact. My father is mad at me, he just wants me to do it and thinks that’s good enough because I know what he wants. I told him that once he is gone, I can only do what he has put down in writing even if I know it’s not what he really wanted. Because I have been telling him over and over to put it in writing, he is mad at me. I have siblings mad at me because I am trying to get dad to put it in writing, who think that I am trying to manipulate the outcome even though I am not trying to change his mind, only for him to put what he wants to do in writing. I have another sibling taking sides and another one who thinks another sibling is setting up sides for a battle over this issue. I feel like I am in a no-win situation, no matter what, someone is mad at me. I told one sibling that if someone offered me a job in Australia tomorrow I would take it, leave and let them deal with this whole mess.
I know the only way this can end well, is if God intervenes and heals a whole lot of hurt and anger. The positive outcome (oddly there is one) is that I have turned more to God in this past couple of weeks than I would have a couple of years ago. Because of this group of ladies and the posts that stuck out to me have helped me turn toward the only one who can help me through this process. The Lord is good and although He has said very little to me, has not opened me up to understand much if anything, the last couple of weeks, I know He is there. Like Job, I do not have an answer for anything. I do not control the outcome, I am not responsible for the outcome. Christ suffered way more than I am, although I know that, there are moments when I can only see my hurt. Even though He doesn’t tell me it will work out the way I hope, I know that it will work out the way He wants. There is also probably something I am not seeing in this whole thing and right now I really wish I could see it. I don’t know if it would help, but I would like to know what I am missing.
I have suspected that this is an attempt at a diversion to take my focus off what The Lord is trying to work through my heart this Lent. Unfortunately, the diversion has taken time and focus away but I also realize that the enemy is not as successful at this as perhaps he has been in the past and it is because of the things I have learned, the changes in my heart that The Lord has done over the past few months. I am so far from diligent these past two weeks and have failed in being as focused as I was originally thinking I would be, but oddly I kinda suspect that’s okay and that there was and is a purpose for this. Lent is not over and the Lord still has work in my heart that I am sure He will be doing over the next couple of weeks. I did wonder at the beginning what my heart would look like at the end…I still think it will be different, I just don’t know what kind of different it will be.
I know there are many of you that are suffering or struggling with different things and that the enemy is working overtime in his attacks. I found this week after listening to the sermon that when I remember that his attacks are really against God, I just happen to be in the cross fire at that particular moment in time, that he won’t win because I belong to the Lord and the Lord will not let him succeed. I belong to the Lord and He controls the outcome…and now I need to remind myself over and over and over. I think I am going to try to sleep now and hopefully wake up more rested than I have in a couple of weeks.
Praying for you, Mary~
Mary — I am both grieved over what is happening in your family and grateful that God is comforting you and giving you perspective. And yes, yes — God only gives Satan enough rope to hang himself. But we pray for you now, caught in the crossfire.
Amen to Dee’s post, Mary.
So sorry, Mary…this sounds so hard, and I don’t envy your position of being caught in the middle.
Please help Mary stay especially close to you during this difficult time, and keep the enemy at bay, keep him from distracting Mary and dividing her mind. I do pray for peace between her siblings, and that You would give her dad wisdom to plan what is to be done after his death.
Praying for you also, Mary, and your family.
13. How does the gospel help Chris face her suffering?
As She is taking in more and more God’s love for her He is stilling her fears, helping her lay down her idols, helping her to not need approval from others or comfort from this world, and she is resting more and more in her identity in Christ.
How did she reject both the younger and older brother approach? How did the book of Job help her?
She had questions going through her mind like she wanted her old life back-there has to be somewhere else to turn-somewhere else to make sense of it. She wondered if this could have happened because God was disciplining her. She went to Job and realized that He didn’t know either-He just accepted the mystery and trusted God-she realized she doesn’t have to know why-and I love what she said here, “I just have to be small and trust.”
Sermon notes. I will share just a couple of points out of my notes that stuck out to me:
I love Job’s emotional realism-His response to suffering was, “naked I come and naked I go.” Keller said If you build your life on God, suffering drives you deeper into Him-the source of your joy. This is how job was-he built his foundation on God, not the things of this world.
This REALLY stuck out as something I need to chew on: satan is a liar and we know that because of the cross. SO whenever I am suffering and tempted to think God doesn’t love me for me and struggle thinking I need others approval or comfort-I know it is satan lying because here is the truth: Jesus was the true job-satan tempted Jesus too. Jesus was truly abandoned by God-Jesus is the only one where God said to him if you obey me fully I will crush you and send you to hell. Jesus is the only person who served God truly innocently and got nothing-He did it for us. When he died on the cross that proves that satan is a liar..that God in human form was willing to love us just for who we were not what we could give him..he had all the glory-he had the angels-why did he love us? He couldn’t get anything out of it. He loves us for us and didn’t get anything out of us. Jesus suffered not that we would not suffer but when we suffer we can become like Him.
God is softening my heart in so many ways and freeing me from the bondage that stemmed from me believing satan’s lies about Him. I can easily err on the side of believing God doesn’t love me for me-but the truth is that He was gladly crushed for me NOT so he could get something out of me but because He loves me-He wants me. He has everything- he doesn’t need me but He wants me-He loves me for me and not what I can give him! How can I not love Him back this way. HE suffered so that when I suffer I can become like Him. I see this in Chris and I am seeing now my suffering is so that I can become more like Him and becoming more like Him is loving God for God-loving Him more than anyone or anything on this earth, and loving others not for what they can give me but because I love them and I can love them because God loved me first.
My take aways were many! But primarily God used this particular study to bring some comfort to my heart. His truth and His Word can heal in amazing ways. Thank you all for sharing your insight, so glad to have gleaned!
My take-away is something Diane reminded me of in her sermon notes–we NEED to not know the why of our suffering–that is how we depend on Christ alone–for Who He is, and not what He can give me. And also this from Susan really impacted my heart today:
“God’s voice: I love you. I identify with your suffering because I suffered too. Trust me, I haven’t left you. Jesus was crushed so you wouldn’t be crushed. Your trials are not punishment.”