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Gerard Seghers Flemish Artist 1591-1651 (Seghers was established by the age of 17, and has a “Chiaroscuro” style similar to Caravaggio)

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


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?


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?


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?

Leave a Comment

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

    I really liked Matt Chandler, I would like to hear more from him.
    I have taken great comfort from John the Baptists story. He was not out of Gods will yet he suffered, not understanding why.
    Also Mary, she had to endure hardships that came with pregnancy before marriage and I doubt as she watched Jesus life unfold that she had been expecting the crucifixion, she suffered though she was highly favored. These gave me hope to life my eyes a little off off of myself, to see that God’s ways are higher than my ways.

    1. Chris, I loved your testimony of the severe mercy of your experience. I am beginning to grasp that two-sided truth of trusting The Lord as being less confident in myself/more humble and yet more confident in the Lord’s character.

  2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.

    I see people trying to understand why.
    Poor Job, my heart hurts to look at him.

    How do you tend to respond to suffering?
I really figured that it was my fault, or at the very least that I could have walked through it all in a way that felt less alone, less desperate, if I had been a better follower.
I thought of fleeing, I so wished that I would die. I knew that there was no place, or thing to flee to. For some time I felt like I had my head down and my tail between my legs….following but deeply stunned. 

    Suffering has been a catalyst, spurring me to look at Gods sovereignty and especially Him love in a way I had resisted, it is still seeping into my resistant heart that God loves Me…me, I am something more to Him than a cell in the Body of Christ, that He sees me and paid such a price to call me to Himself, so that the suffering really can be temporary.

    1. Chris, I’m sensing that your connecting with Job, as you wrote, “I see people trying to understand why. Poor Job, my heart hurts to look at him,” is because you know what that feels like. Oh.

    2. I agree with you Dee. How perfect that Chris has opened the comments with her heart. Her response was so like Job’s.

    3. Chris, Your Heart..WhaT He Has Done Through Your Suffering Yet Your suffering Is Still Fresh..And His Fragrance InYou-So Fragrant Indeed..

    4. Chris, I can’t imagine the pain. Your reflection on Mary is spot on too. So favored yet she had to endure the crucifixion. I always think of her when I reflect on the cross. Especially when I see a movie like “The Passion.”

    5. Dear Chris, you are truly a wonderful example of John the baptist and Mary…how they suffered, yet were so loved and treasured by God. And then like Job…accepting the pain and suffering…never knowing the reason, “Why”, just accepting it as God’s will and that the suffering is temporary because one day soon, we will know all the answers, when we are with Jesus. I can only imagine how painful it is to bring this all up again to mull over, but what peace it must be to just give it over to the Lord and let it go and just rest in him.

      1. I loved the 2 minute clip by Matt Chandler. I had to laugh as he talked about John the Baptist being beheaded…but it was so true..how we expect to recieve rewards, but instead recieve suffering and must just trust God in it.

        In the video of Chris, it goes on and on of other video’s…I didn’t know if they were Chris’e personnal video’s or what…just wanted to let you know about it, Dee.

        I love this week’s study about suffering, quilt, reward and trust.

      2. Thank you sisters for your support of me, now and all along this path. This has been such a safe place to heal and grow. Being able to work out my thoughts here in my home sobbing so often as I do has been gift. I do not think I could not have processed so much in a face to face setting as I have been able to here.
        Joyce it is hard to think about these things, it always will be I imagine, I do feel less angry this time though, I am thankful for that. I hope to come to a place where I can share out loud in front of people with out feeling like throwing up.
        Susan I began reading Job to Bill in the hospital on day one. He had never known about Job before then. I guess I hadn’t REALLY known about Job before then either,

        1. You faith inspires! Thank you for unveiling this heartbreaking journey with so much grace!

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

    As I read the opening, one of my first thoughts was, “This is really going to minister to our Chris…” and I am glad, because I want her to be encouraged and strengthened here. She has walked, and is still walking through deep suffering and pain. Chris, I’ll be praying especially for you this week. I know your testimony on the video is going to reach out to even more ladies this week.

    I’d never heard of Matt Chandler before. What he said was very good, that if you follow Christ, things can end badly for you. It certainly reminds me that following Jesus is not that He is a means to some other end- a better marriage, a happier life. He is supposed to be “the end”.

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting – tell us what you see.

    The postures and expressions of Job’s three friends remind me of the elder son in Rembrandt’s painting-they look so judgmental. They are studying Job, trying to figure out where he went wrong, what he did to deserve this severe punishment from God. In a strange way, the figure of Job seems to hint at the “true Job”. The reactions of the friends and the wife could be the same of many surrounding Jesus when He was arrested, tried, and crucified. There is what almost looks like blood on his left side, left foot, and on the straw he’s sitting on.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?

    There have been times in my life where my thinking has gone in this way…to hate myself for not living up to the moral standard that would have ensured that God would not ________
    (in other words, when things go wrong, somehow it’s all my fault; if I’d been a better mom, living out my faith, all my children would be walking with the Lord. I felt a lot of this when my nephew died, this self-reproach, that if only I’d have loved him better, confronted him, reached out to him more or in a different way, not been so selfish with my time, spoken-up, maybe he would not have died the way he did.) My default-mode is to feel I must have done something-sinned, failed to do the right thing, I’m just a terrible person, and now I deserve the consequences.

    The gospel says that I deserve punishment, yet that punishment was paid in full on the Cross. Jesus said, “It is finished”. So why do I often struggle with, as Dee said, “So let it be!”? When I go off the gospel path, I’m trying to be my own savior, and everyone else’s as well.

  4. 1. What Stood Out To You From The Above And Why?

    The Gospel In Job, And The Chandler Video.My Computer Is Down So I Am Using My Phone. I Wanted To Cut And Paste can’t. 🙁 But Oh I Love When Dee Brought Out That Job Not Only Points To The Gospel Approach, But To The Greater Job! I Haven’t Seen This Before And Look Forward To DivIng Further..

    Chandler Video: So Good!This Made Me Think How Jesus Yielded To God And Suffered And He Is God! ..So Did John The Baptist, And Many Others…We Don’t See Pretty Lives Or Endings Yet Can See that their Momentary Afflictions Achieved For them An Eternal Glory That Far OutweighS them All.
    How I Need To Cling To This.

    1. Hope you are able to get your computer fixed soon, Rebecca. Good job summarizing though.

  5. 1. Oh how the painting stands out to me! Will get to that in a minute.
    Matt Chandler’s delivery of truth was awesome. I saw his fire. He is a man on fire with truth and he delivered it rapid-fire. Sometimes truth cuts because of it’s conviction but this was the truth that heals. He really helped me to see God’s love.
    Dee’s description of how she felt after Steve’s death helped me to see. I can’t even describe. I’m sure it will become clearer as we study.

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

    The video clip was good! However John the Baptist was beheaded and that doesn’t seem that great of a deal…..much more extreme than me not making a lot of money, or having “good” children, or losing my house.

    And this is me unfortunately:

    “…to hate ourselves (for not living up to the moral standard that would have ensured that God would not punish us.)” so Job. So older brother. Depressing. It’s hard to be rid of those thoughts when you grow up with them.

    1. I’m not sure what happened to this post! I guess day light savings time 🙁

      What I MEANT to say was that John the Baptist’s beheading was extreme compared to my little issues in my day to day life. It came out all wrong 🙁 so sorry!

  7. 2. I must admit, when I first looked at this painting, I was disappointed. It is not beautiful. Naked old man surrounded by those miserable comforters.
    Dee said that the light highlighted the truth and that gave me a hint. Then I saw that Job is looking to God, not just with his eyes but with his whole hurting body. His hands is out toward them as if to bring their words to God and ask “is this right?” He knows they are not and that is why his response is right.


      1. Thank you Dee. And thanks for the picture. It’s very interesting.

        We are going to see our oldest in New York over Easter. The Metropolitan Art Museum is where I will be while they are at the Mets game. I am really looking forward to it.

        1. Wow, enjoy it and your son, Anne!

    1. Anne, I can’t seem to get this youtube~

      1. Joyce, it didn’t work for me either when I tried it. I think this one will. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfc9y7X3zog

        1. Thank you Anne, it worked and was beautiful!

    2. Anne, I felt the exact same way and had (nearly) the exact same thoughts. Old man! Lol! I just didnt want to say it…..

      1. 😉

      2. Laura-dancer, I probably should not have said it either. It is just a painful experience, like Job’s, not pleasant like I always look for.

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Matt chandler// love that clip! So true yet we don’t want to hear it often. So thankful for my church because of their proper view of suffering! Gospel centered. You know Matt chandler had a brain cancer but it is in remission now.
    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
    Don’t like it so much…his wife is there and the friends…his friends came when his skin was all messed up from boils…would have liked it better if it portrayed this.
    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    Used to think I did something wrong but after I specifically prayed that God do whatever it takes to make me more like Him my life started to fall apart….not that He needed my permission but I think He knows in His great love when our hearts are sincere and we truly want to go deep with Him…He has allowed great suffering through illness, disability, deep rejection, family issues, and now adoption. I can look back at all and see His amazing love as I enter the refining fire how He is molding and shaping me more like Him. Whatever comes He is enough and I don’t have to be afraid just trust my Father who loves me immeasurably.

    1. Wow, Angela, your answer to number 3 just slays me….” as I enter the refining fire how He is molding and shaping me more like Him. Whatever comes He is enough and I don’t have to be afraid just trust my Father who loves me immeasurably”.

      That takes a lot of faith and trust to give him permission to put you through the refining fire, (even though he doesn’t need permission), but knowing it will mold and shape you to be more like Jesus. I admire your faith and trust so much. It makes me wonder how many people back away from God, when he puts them through so much pain and suffering, instead of crying “Help” and not back away, like Annie did, when Steve died.

      1. Thanks Joyce! I wonder often if that is why people back away as well. I remember the disciples who backed away when things got hard…So many flocked to Him yet when He talked about eating His flesh many walked away.

  9. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Seeing the direction of this week’s study, I once again see God’s hand at work in me…what IS He up to?? I just began reading a new book yesterday…”With” by Skye Jethani. I listened to interviews with Skye regarding “With” and was intrigued. “With” talks about the different postures often taken in relationship with God…
    Life FROM God (“People in this category want God’s blessing and gifts, but they are not particularly interested in God himself.”),
    OVER God (“The mystery and wonder of the world is lost as God is abandoned in favor of proven formulas and controllable outcomes.”),
    FOR God (“The most signicant life, it believes, is the one expended accomplishing great things in God’s service”…works mentality), and
    UNDER God (“primary role is to determine what He approves (or disapproves) and work vigilantly to remain within those boundaries.”)
    ..rather than WITH God which is a genuine, authentic relationship with God accepting His grace and truth.
    (For those of you that might be interested, the URL to links of interview podcasts with Skye is: http://myfaithradio.com/?s=Skye+Jethani)

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
    I noticed how Job’s friends and wife are all in the shadows…Job looks illuminated. I also notice that Job has only the white cloth covering him while all the others are fully clothed. Their expressions differ…Job’s expression seems accepting, almost peaceful, while his wife’s seems somewhat frustrated and accusatory, his friends’ expression seems to have an aloofness.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    Typically, like a turtle, I tend to stick my head in my shell; I turn inward and put up a wall to keep the outside world and often God out…I just want to be left alone. Other times I turn to the psalms and pray to God using the psalms.

    1. Nanci, Thanks for sharing the website. I quickly went there. Will look more carefully later.

      1. Hi Renee…there are really only two podcasts out the listing that I am aware of; the page shows more than that showing when the podcast was re-aired. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the book and am finding it dovetails really well with what I have been learning about heart idols elsewhere.

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

    First of all, I found Matt Chandler very easy to listen to. He made good points about a difficult subject in a humorous way.

    Secondly, it is interesting to consider the three responses to suffering as seen in the book of Job. I want to think deeply about which way I am responding and to see how I am both the older brother and the younger brother.

    This is not just an academic lesson for me; I am living and breathing it. I woke up in the middle of the night last night berating myself for having failed in some way to raise Krista properly and maybe that is why she is in this difficult situation. Then I had to stop myself, confess the guilt (both the deserved guilt and the false guilt) and deliberately handed it to God, asking for forgiveness and for his covering for me so that I can rest in His promises of sins forgiven. I quoted to myself Romans 8 verse 1 and 2 which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:1-2 ESV) Jesus sets us free from the law of cause and effect, which chains us to guilt forever for the slightest error. He broke through and sets us free from the law of sin and death.

    Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
    Just to take Him at His word
    Just to rest upon His promise
    Just to know thus saith the Lord.

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.

    What I noticed about the picture when I really looked at it was the hands. Job’s wife is pointing an accusing finger. Job’s “comforters”: one hand is pondering upon a chin, and the other is palm down as if in judgment. Job’s hands, however, are palms upward in prayer and submission to God.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?

    I tend to first of all react in anger, thinking that I do not deserve this pain and then, later, I become self-judgmental, feeling unworthy, and blaming myself. The gospel response is definitely not my default first response. I have to sometimes work hard to focus on the promise that God loves me unconditionally and deeply and that this suffering is part of a greater purpose to make me holy.

    1. Diane–I hate the thought of the enemy attacking you in the night with such guilt–but thankful that you met it with Truth. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…

      1. Mom, I’m very glad you found God’s truth, because you did a WONDERFUL job raising me! I was truly blessed to have you & Dad as my parents! I love you both very much. And He put you in my life for this time as well. Next to God, you are the dearest friend I have right now. You are there for me, and my biggest support. Thank you. <3

        1. oh Krista–love how you and your mom love one another–love having you both here 🙂

        2. Thanks, Krista. I certainly know I was not perfect and AM NOT perfect. But God is gracious and so are you!

    2. Diane, I loved you answer to …Reflect on Segher’s painting…about all the hands in the picture…I never noticed that before, but is so clear now that you mentioned it.

      LOVE THIS TO….”I have to sometimes work hard to focus on the promise that God loves me unconditionally and deeply and that this suffering is part of a greater purpose to make me holy”…that is so me too!!

  11. 2. They Are Clothed, Comfortable, Looking At Job With Their Hands Gesturing Trying To Figure It out-Not in The light. Job Is Naked, Stripped, Emptied, Devastated, With His HandS And Eyes up Looking To God Not To Himself Or His Friends- In The Light.

    Wow, Totally Upside Down.

    1. Loved your responce to the painting too, Rebecca..everyone has a different view of it…which helps me to see it that way too!

    2. LOVE!!!!!

  12. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I enjoyed hearing Matt Chandler. His wife spoke at the GC Women’s conference—I’ve gleaned from both of them.
    I have been thinking more on what Dee mentioned here, the ways the older brother responds—either anger at God for not getting what he believes he has earned, or anger at self for failure. The younger brother, too, responds in anger. At the core of both brothers’ response is a focus on self. They have elevated themselves to the throne of their heart. When I do this—my perspective is skewed. I cannot see that my Father is on the throne, in charge, righteously handling all around me. Instead, I have put myself in His place and, having no power to do anything in the “throne”—I can only be overwhelmed by fear, leading to anger.

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
    What first strikes me is that Job is not weak—you can see his muscles. He is submissive, as he is the only one sitting. Such contrast between he and his wife—her neck says so much! I’m going to ponder this more and come back—so much here!

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    I have had fear, anger at times, loneliness, feeling forgotten. But He has continually drawn me back to Himself. The night my dad died, I felt this overwhelming despair at first. How could he die, he was young, I was young—we hadn’t repaired our relationship yet—I had waited so long for that, and how could I live without that resolution? I asked God that in my bath that night. And I felt His answer to me, was that if I had needed that resolution in order to live—God would have brought it, but because my dad had suddenly died—God was saying my life was not dependent on that restoration. It was a simple “if-then” kind of logic, but it brought me much comfort. I rested in what I knew of God’s character—He would not withhold from me what I needed to live—and so I knew I would be ok.
    I have had my share of trials since—and I wrestle, and in it-I know that’s OK, because He doesn’t expect it not to hurt. He told us, life would hurt. But then I rest in Him—because—I cannot find rest apart from Him. I rest in what I know—I know He is faithful to His promises, and as I read His Word, and remind myself it is all true, I rest.

      1. I loved that too, Elizabeth..what Dee pointed out.

        1. Me too ” I cannot find rest apart from Him”
          To cease striving

        2. ditto to Dee, Joyce, and Chris…what a golden nugget, “I rest in what I know—I know He is faithful to His promises, and as I read His Word, and remind myself it is all true, I rest.”

    1. Elizabeth, here again I never noticed the wife’s neck..wow it is a neck of much stress and strain! Perhap’s her stress has been with Job for many years! Job has the comfort of God within him and his wife has strained over all the loss’s they endured, more than Job has (because of his greater faith and trust). Thanks for pointing that out.
      I’ve never been one that takes notice of people much, because my husband will say to me..”did you notice her face or what she had on” and I said no! What I do look into is people’s eye’s and see their pain or their joy! Men don’t look into people eye’s like a women will, I think. Job’s eye’s are looking at God in heaven with trust and his wife is scolding him for not being angry.

  13. 1. What stood out?
    Matt Chandler video … both the title, that following God could end badly and that John the Baptist was beheaded for following Jesus. I’ve been seeing/hearing the prosperity message implied lately (online) and at the same time, have been tired and sometimes overwhelmed.

    If I had more energy, I might lean toward being the older brother. Chandler’s message is comforting and brings freedom because it affirms reality. In contrast, when I compare myself to “prosperity” (especially in terms of “productivity”), I lack peace.

  14. 2. I don’t think I’m seeing what I’m supposed to be seeing! I see a bunch of white people. The woman on the right looks crabby. The man on the left looks perplexed, as if he were thinking “What should we try next to fix this guy?”

    Job, the guy on the straw bale, looks relatively healthy, but he is almost naked therefore vulnerable (especially considering the layers of clothes the others are wearing). The red on the bale most likely represents watered down blood, from cleaning up Job. Hmmm… maybe Job doesn’t look healthy when considered the time of the painting. That may have been a time when plumpness was considered a sign of health and prosperity — and he looks skinnier than everyone else in the pic.

    The guy with his hand up in the air?? A sign of blessing or “keep your disease away from me” ??

    To me, Job’s expression looks like “Gimme a break. What should I do with these morons?”

      1. must be the time change 😉

    1. Renee, you make me laugh! Your so down to earth with your answers..love it!! (Keep your disease from me!…gimme a break)

  15. 1. I was struck by Dee’s statement regarding moving from struggling to surrender. As I reflect on my times of suffering, I realize that peace did not fill my heart until I had surrendered to God’s will in my life. While the pain itself might prolong the peace, I believe that it is often my unwillingness to surrender that results in longer times of suffering. I enjoyed the video as well. I believe that many people walk away from Christ when they face suffering simply because we, as a church, have not done a very good job of communicating the whole Truth. “In this life, you will have trouble…” We must be honest with people that the Christian life involves suffering.
    2. In the painting, Job’s hands are interesting. His left hand is kind of facing sideways and down a bit. To me this represents the struggle, the times of questioning, the attempt to figure it out or to control the situation. But, his right hand is turned upward, representing full surrender.
    3. Similar to what I believe Job’s hands represent in the painting, I often half-heartedly surrender to God while still questioning the cause of and the purpose for the suffering. I spend too much time trying to figure it out, like those around Job were doing, letting those questions bring me down further. Then, I try to “fix” whatever I think is causing the suffering. It is only when I stop trying to figure it out and stop trying to fix it that my heart is free to surrender to Him. Then, and only then, do I experience true peace. Moving from struggle to surrender…

    1. Christy…I love your comments, especially this one… “It is only when I stop trying to figure it out and stop trying to fix it that my heart is free to surrender to Him. Then, and only then, do I experience true peace. Moving from struggle to surrender…”

      1. Joyce, one would think that I would learn to stop trying to figure everything out. But, unfortunately, it’s my default mode. I’m a problem-solver both in my personal life as well as in my professional life. God doesn’t call us to be problem-solvers, though. He wants us to just grab His hand and walk with Him. If only I could really grasp that truth!

        1. Don’t feel bad, Christy, I do the same thing!!

        2. Yes, me too…I need to move from struggling, trying to make sense of things, or trying to fix them in my own strength, etc. to surrendering it all to the Lord.

        3. So funny Christy, I am so like you! Except, sometimes I am too stupid to realize I should try to problem solve, and that’s when God takes over and things go relatively well because I was too stupid to know better! It’s like I wake up and say, “oh, I should have done something,” and then, well, nothing happened, so maybe I don’t need to step in.

    2. Christy your answer to 1 reminded me of something that was said in Sunday School yesterday, ‘how many 11 day journeys do we turn into 38 year wanderings?’
      The Israelites in the desert grumbled and mistrusted God, when they came to the promised land they wanted to elect a leader and return to Egypt.
      They failed to see Gods great love for them. if only we can be rooted and grounded in love, with such a heart knowledge of His love for us, then we can surrender so much more quickly to what we don’t understand.

      1. Chris, your last statement is so very true! There is a Psalm that reads, “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You.” If we truly understood God’s Name (character), we would have no reason to fret during the struggle. Lord, help us to know you more intimately and to trust you more deeply! Also, Chris, thanks for sharing your testimony. I can’t imagine the pain.

  16. I looked ahead to Chris’ testimony, and Oh, how I wish I could just hug you, Chris! It brought tears to my eyes. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for letting God use You, even in the midst of such pain! (((hug)))

    1. Krista knowing it ministered to you means much to me, your trial is so fresh, hugs to you too.

  17. We had so many wonderful songs this morning–but this hymn I had to share, it especially makes me think of Chris, Diane, Krista, really all of us-
    I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

    1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “Come unto Me and rest;
    Lay down, O weary one lay down,
    Your head upon My breast.”
    I came to Jesus as I was,
    So weary, worn and sad;
    I found in Him my resting place,
    And He has made me glad.

    2. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “Behold I freely give
    The living water; thirsty one,
    Stoop down and drink, and live.”
    I came to Jesus, and I drank
    From that life-giving stream
    My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
    And now I live in Him.

    3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “I am this dark world’s light;
    Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
    And all thy days be bright.”
    I looked to Jesus, and I found
    In Him my star, my sun;
    And in that light of life I’ll walk
    ’Til pilgrim days are done.

    1. Love those conforting words in that song, Elizabeth, Thank You!

    2. Thank you dear Elizabeth, this is lovely.

    3. I love that song!

  18. I was looking for this weeks sermon by Tim Keller, because I do not have a ipod…but I come across this from Tim Keller and it’s very good….. http://youtu.be/dkn5lfutSrY

    1. Joyce, I’m confused. Do you have to have an ipod to listen to Keller’s sermons? I don’t have an ipod but am able to download Keller’s sermons and listen to them on my laptop computer using the MP3 format. Have you tried doing that?

      1. I just have a home computor, Diane and don’t know if I can do that. I will try and find out if I can download and listen to the MP3 format. I’ve downloaded them before and then can’t find them!! Do you have Itune’s I don’t. I know I’m not doing something right…I need a 10 year old to help me!

        1. You do need to have some kind of media player to listen to music and sermons on your computer, but almost all computers have them. Also, when you download you need to “save as” and put the downloads in a place where you are sure you can find them again. That can be a little complicated until you get used to it as there can be files under other files. Wish I could be there to help you navigate it the first time or two. Do you have any computer savvy friends who could help you?

          One thing you might be able to do is “search”. On my computer at the bottom left, I click the Start icon button and a “search programs and files” window comes up at the bottom of the menu. I type the title of what I am looking for there, and sometimes it works really well helping me find things that I cannot find anywhere else.

          Hope this helps. It seems a shame that you are not able to listen to these great Keller sermons. I hope you can figure it out.

        2. Thank you, Diane…I will try that.

        3. Joyce – when the sermons are free, like last week’s, I just click on the link, and then when it takes me to Redeemer’s site, there’s an arrow to start playing the message. I just sit at my computer and listen online.

        4. Thank you Susan, I’m going to try it.

    2. Thank you for the Keller link, Joyce. It is very good and gives some short reasonable answers.

  19. 1. In the painting, I was struck that Job was looking to The Lord, despite the murmurings on all sides.

    2. Having The Lord ‘tune’ my ear to some of my older brother responses in recent years, I am struck by how easily they still slip into my thinking and the thinking of fellow believers. It is good to know that we deserve, by virtue of our sin, all that hard things might befall us, BECAUSE we have been made righteous by Christ ‘while we were yet sinners’. He knows my dark heart, he sees my weakness but He sees with eyes of Love that also make me His beloved. He sees what God had in mind when He designed us. So the suffering can be endured as something we share with Christ, as we seek to walk in obedience. Our end is that we are with Christ, beholding His glory. Instead of trying to earn Grace and approval, I can receive it as a love gift from The Lord.

    I loved Matt Chandler’s quip: Follow Jesus and get beheaded. I don’t think I ever noticed the part of the Isaiah verse Jesus left out when he affirmed that he was the one foretold.

    I also moved on to Eliphaz’s dream, having read it recently. Thank you for sharing Mike Mason’s observation about the dream. It was totally illuminating. I can absolutely see how it was Satan asking that deceitful little question. “How can mere mortals be more righteous than God?” They cannot of course, HOWEVER we are made righteous by the one who was both fully God and fully mortal. Also, that verse suggests that Job was claiming he was more righteous than God, which he was not.

  20. or to hate ourselves (for not living up to the moral standard that would have ensured that God would not punish us.)

    this stood out to me so much because it put into words what i felt in my heart for so many years….if I would just learn my lessons the easy way then God would not have to bring suffering to teach me the hard way. still putting in in MY court and making it MY fault if I am suffering.

    I need to make sure that Im not blaming myself everytime something bad happens but also learn from each hard thing if I did make a bad choice and I AM to blame for the suffering. its such a hard ballence to keep.

  21. I also was unable to access the youtube for which Anne gave us a link.
    However, I was able to get the one that Joyce gave us, and it was excellent!! I hope I can remember Keller’s points for future discussions about “Why God allows suffering.”

    The benefit of Matt Chandler’s performance is that he was able to help us swallow a tragedy with a spoonful of humor. Of course, no one knows what John the Baptist was thinking while in prison. To me, it sounded as if John wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah, as it gave meaning and purpose to John’s life as the one who prepared the way. He may have worried that all he was going through was in vain. He probably never would have guessed that he would be beheaded. It is more likely he expected to rot in jail. All of that can seem sad and depressing to us. I very much appreciated Matt Chandler’s humorous presentation.

    On Segher’s painting of The Patient Job: The first thing I noticed was Job’s wife with her hand on her hip, and her pointing finger, as she told him what to do,”Curse God and die.” Bad advice and not much comfort there! One “friend” had his finger up to his lip as if pondering — either pondering what the cause of Job’s suffering might be, or what to say to Job. Another “friend” has his hand with the palm facing Job, as if to say, “Stop trying to defend youself, Job.” Job himself has his palms upward and his eyes upward — I feel that is a posture of submission. We are told of Job’s faithful submission, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” I think the reason we find the story of Job so fascinating is that his response was considerably different than our default-mode response would be. We talk about the patience of Job, but he was more faithful than patient.

    This is his first spring break trip (it’s his senior year)-he’s flying out in the early morning (thankful they are not driving). Please pray for his safety while there, and for God to give him discernment and good sense.

    1. Praying for Adam and for you, Susan.

    2. Lord, we lift up Adam to You and his trip to Florida tomorrow, we ask for safe travel, for discernment during Spring Break, that You would command Your angels concerning Adam to guard him in all your ways (psalm 91:11), In Your Name~

      1. Praying your prayer, Elizabeth for Susan’s son, Adam…please keep him safe and bring him all home safely, Father

      2. Amen and may God work on Adams heart, wooing him in the most unlikely setting.

        1. A bunch of college students in Panama City would definitely be a “most unlikely setting” – but with God, nothing is impossible!

        2. May he see the meaninglessness and futility of “Vanity Fair” (name from Pilgrim’s Progress).

    3. praying!!! that is a hard one! 🙂

    4. I’ve been there and am praying!

  23. kinda a ramble…skip if you want 🙂

    I have a good friend who lost her 5 month old (youngest of 9) 2 years ago. she was so honest and raw that sometimes it hurt to be with her. she was so angry with God and just did not understand. she is very much an older brother like me and wanted to know WHY, what had she done? She has had to remake her faith box and see God in a different way.

    Well, her house burned to the ground on tuesday. ALL they had is gone, EVERYTHING. It will take a year to rebuild.

    what do you say to a friend that goes through this!!!! I hugged her and we cried about what could have happened had they all been sleeping….then she told me John, her husband and the rock of the family, is being deployed in a month and a half….
    and all I can say is “really God, really!!! you have be be kidding me!!!!”
    I dont know how to help, I dont know how to BE when I am with her! Im giving her my time going through the rubble tomorrow if they let us….but really?!?!?!

    to make matters worse this is a woman that 4 years ago I was insanely jealous of. She is skinny, beautiful had 8 children that behaved and obeyed, her husband is drop dead gorgeous and has delivered all her babys at home and treats her like a princess..

    I dont know how to process all that has happened to her, and I dont know how to be a good friend to her because her grief scares me.

    1. I’m praying for this family.

    2. Cyndi, how awful for this family! Go back and watch that Timothy Keller youtube I put on. Tim says to just sit and be silent with the grieving, like Dee taught us in God of all comfort…sitting shiva. I will be praying for them. You are a wonderful friend to offer your day to go through the rubble with them…I can’t imagine how hard this must be for them:(

    3. Cyndi,
      I will pray for your friend and her family-what devastating losses…so thankful no one killed in that fire. I think you are doing the very practical things to support her, like helping her go through the rubble.

    4. Cyndi, a friend I have had since fourth grade now avoids me. I think she thinks she needs to fix my pain somehow and since she can’t she can’t be near me. I hurts to think that I have lost her too.

      You can give the gift of not backing away. She does not need answers from you, but she probably needs you to make her go for lunch or a walk, to show up even when she isn’t able to know or ask for what she needs. To let her talk, or to let her be quiet.
      My most helpful friend said little, but she came every morning 2 summers ago and waited while I dried my face and changed out of my pajamas where I would have stayed all day if she had not come, we got in her car and drove to local parks. We walked and I talked, she barley said anything, but she cried with me.

      1. Oh, Chris. This brings tears. You are SO RIGHT in your advice to cyndi. One of my worries right now is that so many of Krista’s “friends” seem to have abandoned her, perhaps because being around her makes them feel awkward because they cannot “fix” things. She is lonely, I know, and there is only so much I can do, especially living an hour away. Your friend did a beautiful thing, making you get out and taking you to parks, etc. She truly “sat shiva” with you.

      2. Oh Chris…what a TREASURE God gave you in your friend. This is truly beautiful-she was Jesus with skin-on.

      3. Love your second friend.

      4. Chris, that is the friend I want to be, if someone needs me. I never want to back away, because I can’t “fix” their problem! I do remember, when going through divorce, that I lost some married couples as friends, because all of a sudden, you become a threat to the wife…as if I were going to go after her husband. Crazy how people think! Your in so much grief, especially with kids to take care of, that’s the last thing your thinking about! You need a friend…not another man!

      5. thank you Chris! what wise words. that is what I will do. I am such a fixer!!!! its so hard for me to admit that I can not fix this for her. such good advice thank you!

      6. Thank you for the wonderful advice, Chris…I have a friend whose mother recently went into Hospice care. She is about 7-8 hours distance from her mom. She has spent time in the past months at home and most recently last week; she came back to work this week. I feel so very helpless…what can one say? I inquired how her mother was doing and her head dropped in despair..I was tongue-tied other than to say how sorry I was. I had thought of sending her a note just to say that I was thinking and praying, and if she needed an ear, I was there…from your advice, this would be the thing to do.

        Cyndi, I will include this family in my prayers…oh so much…

        By the way, I haven’t seen a post from Becca in a long while…is she okay? Would you please give her my regards and tell her I miss her…thanks.

        1. That is sweet Nancy, I will tell Becca you asked about her. She just found a job that she is really excited about, she had a difficult class load for school this quarter too.

          Regarding your friend, I was too down to even respond to the kindest notes. I suppose part of it was feeling that no one really wants to be with someone when they are that low. Maybe give her two dates and to locations and tell her to choose one…that you are determined to spend time with her. Then maybe she will dare to trust you with her pain.
          I love you heart of concern for her!

        2. Thanks for the suggestion, Chris.

    5. Cyndi, It sounds like you are being the very best friend possible. I will be praying for your friend’s family and for you (that you will know what to say or do). I totally agree with Chris’s response below: just don’t back away.

      Actually, Cyndi, I am beginning to think maybe we live in the same area. Last week I read in The Blade about a family of ten being displaced by a fire. Does that match up?

      1. I can’t imagine the service taking a man into deployment after his family lost their home and leaving his wife and 8 children alone. Maybe there is a chance they would delay the deployment.

      2. yes! that is them! im in toledo and they are in springfield township, just 4 miles away. the blade 🙂 we must be close! we go to westgate chapel together….which if you live in the area you prob. know of our church, its pretty big.

        1. Cyndi, How exciting that we are so close to one another. I am in Sylvania. On Saturday, there is a Changed Life Seminar at Emmanuel Baptist. That is where I met Dee, when she spoke to that same group a few years back. I’m taking a longshot here: I wonder if you are registered for the seminar on Saturday — if so, we might look for one another –that would be so fun!

        2. im not but I have heard that it is wonderful! Im sending 2 of my kids to Emmanuel next year 🙂 I met her at Westgate’s christmas celebration.
          I grew up in Sylvania, went to Northview High School.
          That is so cool, we will have to meet for coffee 🙂

        3. Cyndi, Yes, let’s make it a point to meet for coffee sometime before Lent is over! Good idea!

        4. message me on facebook 🙂 cyndi ferrell im in a purple shirt sitting in front of a fountain.

  24. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    “…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.” It is the only hope that we have.

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see. I have read everyone’s comments so far and I don’t think that there is any more that I can add. I love the talent that is displayed and the fact that it has survived over 400 years.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering? I don’t like it, I resign myself to it, I want it to go away, I feel sorry for myself, I talk about it with others, I want it to go away, I think continually about it, I remind myself of the necessity of it, I want it to go away, I pray, I beg, I cry, I plead, I want it to go away.

    1. I want it to go away…yes
      Someday it will

      1. Chris, I recall a story about an elderly man who seemed to remain cheerful despite a great amount of adversity. When he was asked how that was possible, he replied that in the Bible it always says “and it came to pass” and it never reads “and it came to stay!”

        1. Love this Deanna!

  25. I feel like I am stuck between being a “worldly Christian” and a Christian. Our pastor spoke on the three types of people this morning. The natural person, the worldly Christian, and the Christian. The natural person thinks the gospel is foolish, hates Jesus, loves the world. The worldly Christian is always in conflict and contradiction. They feel anguish and may even be mad toward Jesus. They walk with the world as their guide. The Christian walks with the Holy Spirit as the guide in all they do. Their life is a Christ centered one. This is all from Bill Bright (CCFC). I thought it fit well with what we are discussing. Isn’t it “funny” how our church sermons seem to be following Dee’s study???

    1. “Isn’t it “funny” how our church sermons seem to be following Dee’s study???”

      Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives me chill bumps, the way everything weaves together and I know He is showing me something!

  26. 3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?

    Probably by whining mostly. It’s not fair, how can this happen? Why me? What have I done to deserve this?

    4. Do you agree with Keller that Job’s wife (see Job 2:9) represents the younger brother approach? Why or why not?

    Hmmm. The younger brother is the prodigal. He is the one who squanders the fathers wealth and then comes running home when things aren’t just right. He is sorry for his dirty deeds, and the father takes him back, no questions asked. He is humble and tells his father he will do anything to make amends. I’m not sure this is “giving up” on God, as the text in Job implies. She says (in exasperation) you are still here whining? Give up! Turn your back on God! He has turned his back on you! So, I’m not sure I agree with Keller here. Is there a sermon we listened to where he explains this? I don’t remember him saying this.

    5. When suffering comes into your life, have you felt tempted to give up on God? Why or why not?

    Absolutely! It has been awhile though. Usually it has to do with my exasperation with my two middle children. I have tried everything I know to help them change their hearts and actions, and nothing I did worked. They continued on their downward spiral in life. I usually have begged God to help us and it seemed like He wasn’t there. This went on for a very long time. Eventually, I became numb. I realized God must have a different plan. I gave up. I used to say God hated me. Now I know it isn’t that way at all. He is in total control and I just have to believe, put my faith in Him. My children are His children. I am too. He will lead me straight. He loves us.

  27. PRAYER REQUEST – my daughter Sarah, was being encouraged (in my opinion) to quit her job over the course of the last few months. They were only giving her 4 hours a week. She put up with it, and wouldn’t go look for another. She has intelligence issues and is kinda of asperger-ish. Last weekend the manager had her time card when she went to work, and Sarah wandered the store looking for her for 30 minutes. She asked where she was and finally lost patience and left the store. She now is unemployed and looking for work. This is a struggle because she doesn’t do well in this area. It is hard to get her going and I am not looking forward to having to push her. Please pray that Sarah realizes she needs to find a job and try to support herself. Depressing for me.

    1. Praying for Sarah, Laura. I understand this concern about unemployment and concerns about difficulty getting a job for those with some intelligence or mental or social ability issues. Is there anything in your area to help those with special needs find suitable work? Perhaps they might be able to help Sarah.

      I WOULD APPRECIATE PRAYER for this as well. I don’t often mention this but both my son Joel and my daughter Krista are still unemployed. Along with all the other things that are going on, this is a very discouraging issue. There are just not that many jobs around here.

      1. Praying for Jobs for Sarah, Krista, & Joel
        Diane any thoughts on a small business that Krista & Joel might collaborate on?
        We have a friend who began an ebay business and has done quite well.

      2. Praying also for Krista and Joel…so hard for both of them, and for you to watch them struggle.

      3. Praying for Sarah, Laura….and for Krista and Joel, Diane. God will find them the best jobs suited for each of them.

    2. Will pray for Sarah’s situation, Laura.

    3. Laura,

      I will pray…I so understand and identify.

      God, this is so painful, so scaryfor Laura to see Sarah not being able to care for herself yet. It is tempting to remain in the scary possibilities of the future. HELP Diane and Laura and me and other moms here on the blog who have similar situations not back away from you but rest in you. Help us to cry out to you..help us to cling to you for you are beautiful and compare to no other. We are hhumbled that you are faithful whhen we are not..when the waves ppoundon us you are are our lighthouse of refuge..Be our refuge and still our hearts..give us wisdom to counsel our children, help them see it..Help us to trust you with the outcome.

      1. Ahh, Rebecca; the lighthouse. Thanks for the memory 🙂

    4. I’ll add Sarah to my prayer list…

      quick edit… and pray for Krista and Joel to find employment as well.

  28. 3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?

    My first response is like I am a mad woman inside. I fret. My temptation is to back away from God..The younger brother response. Suffering exposes the depth of my dark heart yet also the beauty of the Gospel.

  29. 4. Oh yes. She is telling him to back away from God..run from him instead of to Him. She has exposed her heart of wanting what God gives rather than wanting Him.

  30. Read Job 3:25-26 and describe the closing of Job’s lament.

    The Message
    25 “The worst of my fears has come true,
    what I’ve dreaded most has happened.
    26 My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
    No rest for me, ever– death has invaded life. ”

    Death has invaded my life…my plans for earthly happiness are dashed, things have happened that can not be fixed in life. Hope…not to be found.

  31. How would you answer the question Eliphaz asks in verse 7?

    Eliphaz suggests we can be in control by being good. It reminds me of the Larry Crabb thoughts on Christians treating The Almighty Infinite God like a cosmic vending machine…I put good behavior, prayer, obedience to the rules in…God is obliged to give me _____, (a good life, a job I love, a spouse, a wonderful spouse, children, good children, health, a nice home, a fruitful ministry….)

    Isaiah 55:9

    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

  32. 4. Do you agree with Keller that Job’s wife (see Job 2:9) represents the younger brother approach? Why or why not?

    I hadn’t thought of her as a ‘younger brother’…she says, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” In that sense, she is telling him to forget about trying to be good, to please God-what difference does it make? Go ahead and rebel.
    The younger son, in effect, did curse his father when he asked for his share of inheritance. Then he left home. She is encouraging Job to ‘leave home’, to turn his back on God.

    5. When suffering comes into your life, have you felt tempted to give up on God? Why or why not?

    I am tempted to give up on God when I get down on myself, telling myself “what’s the use of trying anymore…do you really think God can help you with this…He’s working in everyone else’s life but not yours…you deserve this anyway…”
    But something inside of me just can’t go away from Him, not forever…my suffering or trials are only all the more miserable when I back away from Him. I have learned through Dee’s studies, (nowhere else did I ever learn this) to speak the truth to my soul, to lament to God, to not back away, to look to the gospel for help.

    1. “…to speak the truth to my soul, to lament to God, to not back away, to look to the gospel for help.”
      Beautiful, Susan!

  33. 1. Immediately I think of the greatest trial I have encountered and those feelings of anguish are amazingly accessible. I can still remember the feeling that the bottom dropped out, and all that I placed confidence in was removed leaving me exposed and vulnerable. I watch the video of Matt Chandler and think, yes, this is true…you can sacrifice for God and it isn’t guaranteed to end well. But it is also true that having Him is all that matters. When everything is stripped away, God makes Himself utterly known.
    2. What stood out to me in the painting was Job’s open arms. They weren’t folded with a “hrmph” attitude. They were open. To me the open arms mean that he was questioning, but submitted and embracing the will of God.
    3. Ah, my response to suffering… the interesting thing is that I think about how James tells us not to be surprised by trials of various kinds, and the word various is what stands out to me. There are a variety of trials: big trials, like the one in my response to question #1, and there are everyday trials like living with chronic pain, or the teenagers being difficult, or being late for an appointment, or an argument with my spouse, etc. To the severe trial, God came in technicolor revelation of Himself so I walked through that big trial amazingly well. He showed me truth about Himself that has changed my life forever. My faith grew, my hope in Him alone deepened. BUT, the everyday garden variety trials are a different story. I try to escape. I succomb to anxiety. I walk in self-sufficiency. I forget that God is still revealing Himself in these things.

    1. Laurie south jersey,

      Oh i identify with everything you said here!! When my computer went down..boy did that expose some things. I dont trust my heart and I so need him.

  34. What stood out and why?

    “We know also that suffering is inevitable in this life, but for the Christian, it is only temporary.” This is just a great reminder to me of the ultimate joy to come (“Who for the JOY set before him endured the cross”), all tears will be wiped away and all things will become new. So grateful for the promise! I think of the suffering that Chris has so bravely described, there are no other words that comfort like these especially in such horrendous circumstances. Thank you Chris, for your courage and openness and for modeling an obvious depth of character in such a profound way!

    What I noticed in the Seghers painting

    I noticed the man in the middle of the friend group. His hand is posed in such a way that says, “I don’t want to know”. I think sometimes it is so easy for us to close our eyes and ears to suffering because let’s face it; it isn’t often the bright spot of our day. In this culture that particular hand placement is often accompanied with the statement, “talk to the hand”, an indication that the conversation is over! It is very hard to sit and wait silently with another in the midst of their suffering. To me this hand gesture is very telling of his heart. I also see this hand gesture as saying, “whoah, whoah, whoah”, hold on a minute this is an inappropriate reaction, you are wrong in your perception. Thinking through the book of Job, I find myself amazed that God allowed chapter after chapter of “bad theology” (from these so called “friends”) to be handed down to His people. I think God is gracious enough to give us the whole perspective, to even allow us to eves drop on their conversation and hear what bad counsel sound like! For years, I would read their words and wonder, “why is this even in the Bible if God reprimanded them?” Now I understand that God wants us to hear this rhetoric to help us better understand how the accuser works (especially in suffering)! This realization was wonderful for me, study the counterfeit and you will know what to receive and what to reject!

    How do you respond to suffering?

    “For we know God is our only hope and we know God is good”, when I think about this statement, I am reminded of some memoirs I once read from a group of Vietnam Prisoners of War. They talked about how they learned to suffer in that situation. They said they could almost predict who would survive and who would perish. The prisoners who would fix their eyes upon a “perceived moment of deliverance”, a particular date or idealism like “we will be released by Christmas”, were often the ones that suffered most and usually died. The survivors were the ones who stayed in the moment, learning to trust that they had not been forgotten but were not fixated on the deliverance. Not that they weren’t hopeful but they learned to live in the moment and I have found this to be helpful in my own life. I can only be present to THIS moment and trust that God hasn’t forgotten. I think this is a truth that we all can embrace in this most certain life of suffering. I have found that it is a helpful perspective, not trusting in an “outcome” but trusting in the fact that I am loved and pursued constantly by my ultimate SAVIOR!

    1. Your description of the perspective of the Vietnam Prisoners of War is very interesting, Rhonda. Interesting thoughts to ponder deeply.

  35. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The comment from the video about John the Baptist’s beheading. It reminds me of how Dee’s sister didn’t make Christianity a bed of roses when she led Dee to Christ. That has always affected me because I was not taught to give the whole picture – just the positives. I believe she told Dee their is a cross to bear and this is so important!

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.

    I immediately saw Jesus on the cross in place of Job. See how illuminated in the center Job is with hands outstretched, feet together and looking up with trusting eyes to God? A portrait of the greater Job, a Job yet to come – Jesus.

    1. I forgot to mention that he is clothed similarly to Jesus while on the cross.

  36. 4. Do you agree with Keller that Job’s wife (see Job 2:9) represents the younger brother approach? Why or why not?
    I agree, the younger brother’s initial approach was “get while the gettin’s good.” Job’s wife was satisfied with Job and God while she was getting what she could from them. She was only interested in what she could get. Her telling Job to curse God and die is her way of saying you’ve been good and nothing good has come of it so why bother. We know later how the younger son changed, but we don’t know what happened with Job’s wife other than she had 10 more children and double everything was given to her through being given to Job.

    5. When suffering comes into your life, have you felt tempted to give up on God? Why or why not?
    Tempted? probably yes. Thoughts like what’s the point? You’re never going to get it right so why try? You can’t figure out what’s going on or why, so quit trying. Those thoughts are more resigning myself to the situation than giving up on God. If by giving up you mean, rejecting him, not going to church, not praying, totally giving up on living to bring him glory, then no I haven’t given that reaction any serious thought at all. Although I am finding that the suffering and trials that I have faced over the last 2 years has opened my eyes to what I really am and I’m quite disappointed in myself.

    1. “I’m quite disappointed in myself”. Love your honesty, Dawn MS. I can identify with your musings. Your situation is quite a bit different than mine, but I also disappoint myself a lot and spend WAY too much time on how I have failed. Your words remind me that I am being self-focused rather than God-focused. Even if I am DOING the right things, but am not FEELING the right way, I get down on myself. I think happy feelings is one of my idols. I need to focus on being holy, instead of being happy, as Keller pointed out in one of the recent sermons.

    2. Dawn & Diane isn’t it is wonderful that when suffering reveals our weaknesses, we are even more relieved that our faith is not in ourselves but in Christ and His unfailing love!

      1. Yes, Chris. I am SO glad that my salvation is not based on my ability to fix myself and live a perfect life.

  37. I guess I do agree with Keller that Job’s wife represents the younger brother approach, although I would never have thought of that all on my own. The younger brother didn’t care about the father (his father could have gotten sick and died while he was away). He wasn’t thinking about his father. All he was concerned about was getting his inheritance early. Job’s wife is indicating “If God doesn’t give you good things, then be done with Him.

    When suffering comes into my life, I have not been tempted to give up on God, but I have
    queried “Why me?” and “Why now?” That response is followed pretty quickly by the next which is “O God, get me through this — please!” I can honestly say I have been through some unpleasant episodes in my life, but I have not been able to say that God ever totally abandoned me. So when another bad thing comes along, I expect, based on past experience, that He will help me make it to the other side.

    1. Loved your comparison here between the younger brother and Job’s wife, Deanna…”Job’s wife is indicating “If God doesn’t give you good things, then be done with Him”.

  38. Concerning Job 3: 25-26 — describe the closing of Job’s lament.

    Job is saying in effect “I have been afraid my sins would catch up with me and I would get my just desserts! Sure enough now it has happened.” Job is an Old Testament character who had no knowledge of redemption through Jesus Christ. It is not surprising that Job would expect God to exact justice and show no grace or mercy. However, there is no excuse for us to feel that way today (I am not saying we don’t, I am just stating there is no excuse for it!) Job in his closing lament states, “I have no rest, but only turmoil.” If we forget that we are redeemed, we can find ourselves with no rest and only turmoil as well. The gospel IS the solution!!

    1. Right on, Deanna. If we find ourselves in constant turmoil, this is probably the reason. “If we forget that we are redeemed, we can find ourselves with no rest and only turmoil as well. The gospel IS the solution!!”

    2. So good, Deanna!

  39. 5. When suffering comes into your life, have you felt tempted to give up on God? Why or why not?

    I love your testimony Dee that you could not back away from God because you knew He was your only lifeline. I feel like that deep down and yet I am struggling so. I can’t say I am tempted to give up on God, but I am tempted to think I must not be getting it right with my faith and, therefore, go into another round of striving, striving to muster up the faith and the feelings that I think I should have during the trial. Deep sigh! There it is again; “works theology” or “elder brother” mentality.

    Perhaps I am like a drowning victim who, though she sees the rescuer near, will not stop struggling and is unwittingly pushing the Rescuer away because I will not relax. When will I get it through my head that I can STOP trying, Jesus has done it ALL? At this point, I do not even know how to do this. I am not “getting it”. I feel like I do understand, I relax a bit, and then I go right back to striving all over again.

    I am indeed being an elder brother to myself and it is “tearing me apart”, as you said in the introduction, and “twisting a knife” in my own wounds. I am raw, naked and bleeding here. (Do I dare to even post this???)

    Guess I’ll have to do the rest of the lesson and hopefully find out. (By the way, I feel as if you have done this lesson just for me and my situation,even though I know many others are suffering here. I need the answers so much!! Thanks, Dee.)

    1. “I am indeed being an elder brother to myself and it is “tearing me apart”…

      In the last couple of years along my healing journey, one thing that has been repeatedly emphasized (by a wise counselor) has been the idea of “self compassion”. We definitely can be our most harsh critic, I do not think I really saw this idea with proper perspective. My thought was, “how could self-compassion play a role in anything, isn’t that just another way of feeling sorry for myself?” Oh how wrong I was, and the scriptures confirmed this, I can only “love others as I love myself” and truly I had a hard time with “loving myself”. However, with some wise counsel and gentle prodding I started trying to be more gracious with myself and although I still struggle at times, God has used this approach to bring a supernatural quiet to my spirit. There really is a connection between the two! I think this self forgetfulness idea has its roots in false humility but to properly see ourselves as women made in the image of God is to honor our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental selves. And God is okay with that! 🙂

      1. Rhonda,

        I love what you have learned. I am going to copy. I needed to hear this.

      2. This is so rich Rhonda!
        I needed to hear it too.

      3. Thanks, Rhonda. Good thoughts. I need this reminder. I am definitely my own worst critic. I need to learn to accept God’s compassion on me and give myself compassion.

    2. Diane, that’s all I can do…is pray and I promise you that is what I’ll do. I’m so sorry for the anguish you and Krista and all the family is going through. Keep the faith that all things will work out for the best…love you all!

    3. Oh Diane, I’m so glad you posted what’s on your heart. I’m still committed to praying for Krista especially on Mondays-but am keeping all of you in prayer. If it helps at all, I dont think God expects you to have any certain kind of faith or feelings during this trial; if all you can do is collapse in His arms, that is a good place to be.

    4. Oh dear Diane, I am asking for peace to flood your heart.

  40. 4. Read Job 3:25-26 and describe the closing of Job’s lament.

    He feels without hope, as if this is his own fault. He cannot rest. His mind is in constant turmoil.

  41. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Absolutely loved the video clip. I laughed and laughed. He is so good. He puts everything into perspective with his humour. I never thought of that before that whn Jesus quoted Is. to John Jesus left out the part where “the prisoners go free”. Yet that would have spoken volumes to John and been his answer and comfort. He knew that Jesus was in control of his situation and no matter what the outcome God would use it to glorify His name.

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
    Hmm…I think that today the Lord has restored unto me the “joy of my salvation” b/c all I want to do is cover up Job. Bring comfort I guess. Clothe him and keep him warm. I know that I am supposed to say that his wife is not very supportive (nag) and his friends are not comforting him at all. They are considering and debating his situation. I want to bring him clothes, blankets and cover him up. Keep him warm and comfort him and if I cannot bring him someone who can.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    I cry out. I blame myself. I tell God there is only so much I can handle. I withdraw. I journal and write poetry. I plug in music. I go on trips with my husband. Mostly I would think I blame myself and think that God is punishing me. I actually believed for a year or so that God was punishing me b/c I had sex outside of marriage.
    God is teaching me that all this wailing and wringing of hands and feeling sorry for myself and being angry at my husband (bitterness and railing) blaming and judging is nothing. If I just turn to Him and invite Him into my mess (of my own making) or not He makes something good of it.
    I am living testimony of that.
    In 2005 I went back to school to get my degree and a husband.
    After being a single parent I thought it was about time.
    I found one. I sinned. I lived together then I got married.
    My dtr. who is Rev. married us. My middle dtr. sang at my wedding. My youngest one gave me away.
    Then the winter of 2007 all my husband’s addictions with sexual stuff came out.
    I cried out. I hid. I withdrew. I blamed myself and when I couldn’t blame me I blamed my husband. Many bad things happened. I do not need to go into detail.
    Fast Forward to 2010 -in the fall God met me and again I fell in love- exhausted, bleeding, broken on that Jericho road. God poured in the oil and the wine. The kind that restores my soul.
    I rejoiced but still I felt bad. I withdrew. Almost sitting on the Father’s lap. I cannot tell u the shame I felt or how bad the enemy was working but slowly I started to claim the word and not my feelings.
    I ate and comforted myself with food and with God but mostly with food.
    Then God began to teach me to stop analyzing and to begin proclaiming scripture by faith. I still have consequences of my earlier choices but now I feel like I can breathe again. My husband and I can do devotions together. Piece by piece we r being made whole again.
    I am resting in Christ Jesus and not my husband.
    When I want to go anywhere I ask first. When I am angry and bitter I cry out to Jesus. I do not hide or deny or blame or judge. Well sometimes I do but I remember to cry out and Jesus is there. I am not perfect but I feel like I am venturing out of a very dark place in my life.
    I am beginning to realize I am in a new chapter of my life. My dtrs. are all young adults as my husband’s are. In the last 7 years we have buried both our mothers. I do not know if they were Christian. I did share the gospel with my mother but I am not sure of Chuck’s mom
    No matter what I want to talk to Jesus first before making any other decisions but I marvel at His grace and mercy. I can hardly remember the pain. Now if a glimmer starts to shine I claim the word. I stand close and call upon the Lord. Knowing He will never leave me or forsake me.
    God has led me to this bible study. Thank u Dee and all the ladies who make me feel welcomed.
    God has led me to music, to my writing again.
    To people like Joyce Meyer. Anne Graham Lotz. To the music shared on this bible study. To the hymns which I love.
    To a church
    To a sense of belonging again.
    So again I say thank u.
    I am actually celebrating Lent and it has been wonderful.
    It is beginning to dawn on me that God loves me. That He has a plan for me. That He died to give me an abundant joyful life. I am laughing again. It is like God is restoring the joy of my salvation. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
    I mean I am laughing again.
    That is quite a feat for me.
    Usually I am wrapped up in my pain and misery but God’s stripes I am healed.
    I believe and proclaim that.
    That I am never alone and that by Jesus’s stripes I am healed.
    Thank u Jesus!

    1. Such a beautiful testimony, Mellany. God is with you. Wonderful healing. Love the laughter part.

    2. Mellany, you are an inspiration here…keep smiling and laughing!

    3. Mellany,
      I love your whole post, and your heart! We are watching as you have come out of that very dark place in your life – you are blossoming right before our eyes! I like to think of you laughing, singing…enjoying the abundant life that He paid so dearly for you to have!

    4. Woo-hoo!!!

  42. I think Eliphaz began humbly, asking permission to speak. He progressed to flattery, telling Job to think of all the people Job had helped with words. The flattery was, in fact, “inserting the knife;” but then he turned the knife by asking what had happened to Job’s faith. I can recall someone trying to snap me out of it, when I was pregnant and sick (not just morning-sickness, but all-day-sickness). I was so sick, my husband hired a friend-of-a-friend to come and stay with me. This woman knew that I was a person of faith, and she began asking me why I wasn’t acting like one. “Where’s your faith now?” Frankly I didn’t want to hear that right then!!

    Verse 7 “Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?” — My answer initially would be that I have no way of positively identifying a “truly innocent” person. However, as far as I can tell, I have known some seemingly lovely Christian people who have had tragic things happen to them. So, I would tell Eliphaz, “Yes!” Of course, “scrap heap” may be the operative words and I might have to consider modifying my answer. A scrap heap implies the person has been thrown away, not to be used again. That’s pretty strong! I don’t think God does that.

    Concerning Eliphaz’s dream in verses 12-17: All I can say is that God has never spoken to me in a scary, terrorizing dream. I was quite intrigued with Dee’s description of her husband’s dream from the evil one. Perhaps it is God intervening when I wake up from a nightmare before the truly evil thing happens.

    1. As I went through the chapters composed by Job’s friends, I was able to pull out a few accusations from each…I wonder if anyone else has been told or believed any of these things in the midst of suffering…there were several that jumped out at me! There is an accuser of the brethren and if you are anything like me, you have heard these phrases many times (aloud or internally), I thank God for allowing us to see the errors contained….

      Job 4&5

      They said to Job, “You have instructed others”… then they begin to condemn him for his sense of discouragement, saying that his strength and blameless ways should have been his confidence and hope

      They took the truth of “sowing and reaping” and used it to torture at him, “You get what you sow (good or evil)”

      They accused him of thinking he was more righteous than God

      They conveyed a poor image of God’s love to him…God with an evil eye looking to crush…

      He is accused of resentment and envy and of being a fool

      They harshly used the death of his children as a hammer

      They used the idea of God’s discipline as a bludgeoning tool…He wounds, He injures (a partial truth but used with wrong intentions)

      They used phrases like “We have examined this” (self exaltation, arrogance) and then they said, “Now, you apply it to yourself”

      Job 8

      They accused him of not seeking God earnestly, not being pure and upright

      They accused him of forgetting God

      They said “God doesn’t reject those who are blameless”

      They said “God doesn’t strengthen the hands of evil doers”

      Job 11

      They called him a talker, idle talk, said he would not be vindicated

      They asked, “What can you understand about God?”

      They told him to “put away sin!”

      Job 15

      They said, “Sin prompts your mouth, you have adopted the tongue of the crafty”

      They asked, “What do you know that we don’t?”
      They associated “godlessness with barrenness”

      Job 18

      They said to Job, “You think we are stupid”

      They said, “You aren’t the center of the world”

      They said, “You are wicked”

      They said, “You do not know God”

      Job 20

      In their arrogance they make statements like this, “My understanding inspires me to reply”

      They accuse him of pride

      They accuse him of treasuring evil

      They are jealous of his riches

      They say he is guilty

      They say that his trouble is an indication of God’s wrath

      Job 22

      They made statement like this…

      “If you were righteous”

      “In your piety he rebukes you”

      “He brings charges against you”

      “Your wickedness is great”

      “Your sins are endless”

      “You have stripped, you withheld, you demanded, you gave not, you sent away empty handed…”

      “You are not submitted to God”

      “You are not accepting instruction from Him”

      “You are not innocent”

      Job 25

      “How can one born of woman be pure?”

      “Human beings are maggots and worms”

      Job 33

      “I will teach you wisdom” their arrogance again

      Job 34

      “Your friends are evildoers and you associate with the wicked”

      “God repays for what you have done”

      “He brings you what your conduct deserves”

      “You have no knowledge and you lack insight”

      “You needed to be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man”

      “You are not only sinful but rebellious”

      Job 35

      “You are full of empty talk and without knowledge”

      Job 36

      Your chains and afflictions are because you have sinned arrogantly

      Obedience = years in contentment
      Disobedience/not listening = perish by the sword, die w/o knowledge

      They said to him, Beware of turning to evil which you seem to prefer to affliction

      1. Lots of good work there. He’s a sly one, the Accuser.

      2. Rhonda, I heard a lot of that internally just even last night..This post is so good.

      3. Rhonda,
        Wow – thanks for doing all of this digging for us and posting it here. Reading through each statement, it helps to read it and to see that these kinds of accusations are not God’s voice.

  43. Dee, I am looking at The Gospel Approach to Suffering. I think you meant to refer to chapter 14 instead of 13 in that section. It would make it easier to answer questions 10 & 11. Would you please check on that?

  44. Just had to pop in and share (sleep is not coming to me yet!) However today was a hard homeschool day!!! My youngest admitted to lying about some things then found herself not able to be good enough (she was a moralist! I did not even know it) however hearing me talk and talk and talk about this stuff here and other things God is teaching me she is starting to see it is all by His grace not what she can do…Today she confessed and cried and saw Him and He opened her eyes! She says today she is a Christian. So very sweet. I thought she was but maybe it was all moralistic. My oldest took the time to sit with her too and explain the prodigal son stuff, how both sons were wrong and the Father was right. It is funny because it was what I had to explain to her not to long ago because she desired the youngest to be punished more severely. Now she can see as well. 🙂 They both were on fire for God after all the talking and praying and went to their brother (little man) separately at separate times and shared the love of Jesus. They were sad because little man refuses to believe he is a sinner or likes his sin. He knows Jesus loves him though but loves his sin more. I told them to just keep praying God draws him as well. Thankful for this blog!

    1. I’ll be praying for little man, too. 🙂 So encouraged to hear God is opening the eyes of your kids!!

  45. 4. Read Job 3:25-26 and describe the closing of Job’s lament

    Job is devastated. He is worn out. Only turmoil; he is struggling inside himself constantly. I hate that feeling; when you can think of nothing else. You are haunted by the thing.

    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?

    I suppose it is a pious tone? He tells Job to trust in his devout, exemplary life. This is belief in the things under thr sun. This is holding onto things of this world not holding on to God. We must trust God.

  46. I am slow getting to the study this week. I just read the intro this morning and will add my two cents here. Studying about Job and suffering almost always triggers a bit of anxiety in me. I have always believed the worst things I have ever suffered happened to me before I was a Christian. When things went bad at that time, I would cry out to God,always believing there was a God, just never placing my faith in Him. As a girl and into my teen years, I just thought God’s blessings were for other people and felt many times as if God had forgotten me. I remember even thinking God must be too busy to hear my prayers and that I was on my own.

    It wasn’t until I finally heard the full gospel of Christ spelled out to me and I repented of my sin then placed my trust in Him that I could see He was always there. He had been nearby and had even seen my suffering and I’m certain was grieved by it just as I had been. As I have grown as a woman and especially in my faith I see glimpses of my childhood occasionally, and God shows me that He really was with me all along, He guided me, protected me, provided for me in ways I couldn’t see as a child but now clearly see as His hand in my life.

    So, why the anxiety as I mentioned above? Because the little girl in me (or i guess my flesh) who was always waiting for the next bad thing to happen still makes it hard for me to fully enjoy the blessings of today while worrying about the problems of tomorrow. Since coming to faith in Christ, not everything has been a bed of roses, but nothing has seemed as difficult for me to endure with Christ as it was when I believed I was all alone. It’s when I take my eyes off Him, as Peter did in the water, and begin to focus on my circumstances and I start to fear what might be coming. That’s when I feel myself sinking into the ‘ocean’ of my anxieties.

    I look forward to reading more of this study and the thoughts of the other gals here because I know there is still so much I need to learn about this topic.

    1. Jean K. You certainly touched a nerve in me with your post. I think I have been like you in my past.

    2. Jean,
      Thanks for sharing your testimony. This caught me, “Because the little girl in me (or I guess my flesh) who was always waiting for the next bad thing to happen still makes it hard for me to fully enjoy the blessings of today while worrying about the problems of tomorrow.” I catch myself in this ever since the loss of someone I loved four years ago.

    3. Good thoughts, Jean. Glad to have you here my friend!

  47. Q: How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    A: I’m much more pliable to suffering than before. What I have wanted at each “crisis” is another shoulder to cry on, someone to listen to me, and someone to be there to sit with me. I cry out to God asking for a human to be His hands and His feet – and He sends me not the person(s) I had picked out, but rather just the perfect friend to encourage me in that particular moment. In our infertility, there was no local support group. I found few women understood or wanted to sit shiva with me – this forced me to give up the idol of human comfort and relentlessly pursue God – the God of all comfort. Healing for me did not nor does not come unless I draw close to Him. I am again in a new stage of “crisis” trying to find the way being a first-time Mom and an adoptive Mom for our 5-year old son. He is faithful in this. Sending just the right friend or playdate for just the right day. Whispering just the right song or scripture to my soul to encourage me.

    On another note, a friend of mine that has waited 10 years to be Mom – buried her full-term first-born infant son last month. Every time I think of her, I am broken for her pain. I’m finding myself filled with more compassion for the suffering as others as I have suffered, too.

    1. Cherie, my heart felt like it dropped when I read your comments. I will be praying for you and for your friend.

    2. Oh Cherie, just as you prayed for someone to comfort you and God did, now you can be and share His comfort with this hurting friend.

      Did you recently adopt this 5 year old?

      1. Chris: I learned this week that a group for Moms that have lost babies or couldn’t get pregnant started in our community this Spring. I plan to get involved and yes, be there for my friend. We are adopting this precious 5-yr old boy; finalize this summer.

  48. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I’ve actually been thinking about this topic a lot recently for varying reasons and a big thing that has stuck out to me is that, not only are we not promised that things will go well, we’re actually promised the opposite. We will be persecuted for following Christ, but He will not leave us to go through it alone. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:10; “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    2. Reflect on Segher’s painting — tell us what you see.
    The friends who are there to “comfort” Job aren’t even willing to touch him. Their faces seem to say “what if it’s contagious?”
    There is nothing lovely, comforting, or welcoming about Job’s wife. There is only anger and accusation. No peace.
    Job’s face seems to say “What are you going to do?” and his eyes are turned toward God and away from those that would lead him to despair.

    3. How do you tend to respond to suffering?
    Heh…not very well. I tend to feel like things are unfair. I get stressed. Angry. Lately I cry a lot. But, in the end, I am pointed back to Christ. I spend time on my face and I let go.


    1. Liz, so encouraging to hear about your younger brother…praying he will want to give up the drugs completely. Good job with idea’s for your store!