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He Loves You Better Than A Mother (Happy Mother’s Day!)



My youngest, Annie, e-mailed me last week:

I want my mom! Fever and chills! Dee - sick in bed cartoon

How I remember those days as a young mom when I was sick, Steve was working, and the boys were running wild.

I wanted my mother too!

My mother was the best when I was sick.

Cool washcloths on my forehead,

7-Up and pretzels;

stories, songs, and

looks of loving concern.

For many of us our mothers are no longer on earth.

For others, mothers are not the comforting presence our hearts yearn for.

But though a mother may not be present,

though a mother may be broken,

though a mother may forget,

Isaiah says God will never forget you.

This week is for all of us, with one of the

most comforting promises in Isaiah,

and a favorite Keller sermon.

Many of you have heard the story I will tell this week, about a psalm that is tied to this promise in Isaiah, but I must tell it again. For not only does it illuminate these passages, but it is a vivid reminder of how God can be the best mother:

nurturing and never forgetting us.


can a mother forget362530_R_K_by_Ingo-Döring_pixelio.de_1Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?

She may forget.

But I will never forget.

Isaiah 49:15

can a mother forgetgod-when-things-get-tough-7-638

That’s the promise.

I’ll begin the story today, this Mother’s Day,

and continue on as we go through the passages

that show us that God’s love

is even better than a mother’s love.

My story began with a lament. Not too different than

Annie’s lament of last week. But for me it was:

I want my husband!

I was alone in the king-sized bed Steve and I used to share. A bed too big for one, but I cannot let it go.

bedSteve and I used to call each other

“co-dependent insomniacs.”

If one of us couldn’t sleep,

we would whisper to the other:

Are you awake?

And then we would be.

Steve would often pray over me, or even quote nursery rhymes like

Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.

WINKIN, BLINKIN, AND NODHow I missed him. And so I lamented, for the Scripture teaches us to tell God how we really feel.

He can take it. He wants honesty.

So I cried:

You promised you would be a husband to the widow, but how can You be? You aren’t even flesh and blood. I don’t feel like You are even here!!!

OH LORD, why did you take Steve? There are plenty of lousy husbands, fathers, and doctors — why didn’t You take one of those?

You promised to be with me,

but I don’t sense You here at all.


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

2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?

Monday – Wednesday Bible Study

3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.

The night that I lamented in my bed, a memory came to me of when I was a first time mother and needed to keep J. R. quiet in our little apartment with paper thin walls in the night. Steve needed to sleep, so I would run to that baby when he cried out, unbuttoning my bathrobe as I ran, so as not to lose time. I would take him to my breast but he acted like I wasn’t even there, wailing and flailing. I WAS THERE, MY MILK LET DOWN, BUT HE WOULD NOT LATCH ON. Finally he would find me and I would think, Oh my — what was all that about?

And at that moment I realized God was saying, I am right here, Dee — what is all this about? It was the turn in my lament. But it didn’t stop there, for the next morning the psalm I happened to be on was this one:

psalm-1314. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.

5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.

A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   

B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)

C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing. Every day we face challenges. You may feel today like this one today.

baby-crying6. Write your lament here, and then be still and know He is God — then, when you are ready, write your turn and your trust. He loves you better than a mother and longs to comfort you.

7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16

A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?

B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?

C. Is this real to you?

Prodigal SonIN REMBRANDT’S “Return of the Prodigal” Henry Nowen observed that the son’s bald head looks like a baby returning to the womb, that the father has one masculine hand and one feminine hand, and that the cape looks like wings sheltering a baby bird.

8. Read Matthew 23:37

A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?

B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon: Can A Mother Forget?


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9. Share your notes and comments.


 10. What is your take-a-way and why?

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  1. C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing.
    The psalmist trusts that the Lord is ultimately in control and will care for him and his needs.  The psalmist believes/trusts that the Lord has everything well in hand, he can be content and hopeful in the Lord’s control, care, provision, etc.  The psalmist understands that his comprehension is limited in light of the infinite God.

  2. 7. A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?
    The people are saying that the Lord has forgotten and forsaken them. 
    B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?
    The Lord promises that He will never forget or forsake His people; He will care for them always and forever…His love and provision is unfailing. 
    C. Is this real to you?
    Yes…the Lord provides for me in so many different ways, some ways so very subtle and unless I am very aware/mindful could potentially go unnoticed (and how many do?) and in other ways quite obviously.  I trust that the Lord is in control.  I understand that the sinful nature of human is the cause for death, disease, destruction, etc. of this world…death, disease, destruction, etc. are the consequences of a fallen world, the consequence of using our free will to choose sin.  My heart aches for the many injustices and hurts of this world, but I am well aware that this is not God’s doing, He allows it for now, but eventually it will be done away with when the new heaven and earth are ushered in by Jesus.

  3. Thank you for all the kind words of welcome.  After hearing Dee speak at my church’s retreat a couple weeks ago, I checked out her website and found this beautiful community where you all encourage and challenge one another.  I feel privileged to join in on the conversation and to study God’s word together.  A Bible study I was in recently ended, and my springtime work and family schedule is filled to overflowing (mostly with baseball and track meets), so finding another study to plug into has been impossible.  This online format is perfect.  I’ve enjoyed reading the comments, so full of honest and heartfelt and reflections. Thank you for including me.  Now….I’m off to find that Tim Keller sermon. 

    1. I add my welcome to the rest you’ve received Jody 🙂
      I wonder is your church the retreat some of us went to in Ashland?

      1. Thank you.  No…our retreat was in Elkhart Lake, WI.

        1. I’m in the Stevens Point, WI area…grew up in the Fond du Lac area. Hey neighbor…:)

    2. Nanci – Relatively speaking, yup, I guess we are neighbors 🙂  I actually live about an hour and a half south of Elkhart Lake.  Halfway between Milwaukee and Madison.

    3. Welcome, Jody!  Just getting back on and scrolling from the bottom up:)

  4. Jody welcome. I’m so glad you have joined us.

  5. 8A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?
    He laments over their sin and separation from Him. He wants to gather and protect His children.

  6. B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?
    The family unit is an illustration of God. It takes the qualities of father and mother to give us understanding of who God is to us, His children. Not only is a man created in His image but so is a woman. It takes both to reflect His image and give us a beautiful picture of Him in marriage and family. We all experience family either as a parent or as a child and in that we know God.

  7. 6. I’m also not going to write out my lament here…I’m afraid of sounding like a “broken record”! It’s just been one of those weeks where the darts of criticism are flying at me; I feel stuck in the same place again.
    7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16
    A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?
    The people believe that the Lord has forsaken and forgotten them.
    B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?
    God promises that even if a mother could forget her baby and not have compassion, He will never forget us. God says that He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. The engraving makes it sound permanent.
    C. Is this real to you?
    I’m thinking of Wanda’s post…some days yes, it is real; some days it seems that God is so far away. The engraving on the palms makes me think of the nail prints on the hands of Jesus; His sacrifice for me. When I feel unloved, I feel a disconnect.

    1. {{{HUGS}}} Susan…you’ll never sound like a “broken record”…put up your shield to the evil one’s darts…you are loved.

      1. Thank you, Nanci…you guys are such encouragers!

    2. Susan – I think part of lamenting IS sounding like a broken record and that’s ok.  Understandable that you don’t want to write it here, but DO write it.  In my experience, there is power in writing it and then watching the Holy Spirit take those words of lament and transform them into words of truth and praise right there on the paper (or computer screen) in front of your very eyes.  
      When you feel unloved and far from God, fill your mind with the truth from his word that you ARE loved, regardless of your feelings.  

      1. Thank you for the good advice, Jody…there is something good about writing it all out on paper. I was wistful reading your post above about a busy schedule filled with baseball games and track meets…those were fun days when I used to go to my kids’ sports events (still have my daughter at home-she’s a swimmer and swim meets last forever:))

    3. Susan, sorry you are having a rough week. I understand. Sometimes our lament is so personal that we cannot write it here. But I agree with Jody, writing it out somewhere (journal?) many times has helped me to think through my wrestlings. And you really nailed it with this sentence:

      The engraving on the palms makes me think of the nail prints on the hands of Jesus; His sacrifice for me.

      Many times I have wondered what the engravings here mean in the context when they were written. This is the best explanation I have ever heard — so meaningful!! The writer here could not have known about Jesus’ nail pierced hands – but God did!!! and God has given us a picture to hold dear when we are feeling unloved and unworthy.

      1. Thank you, Diane…I know you understand what rough times are.

        1. Susan,    I’m so glad Diane highlighted that sentence because I had missed it.  That is such a GREAT thought.  I had not thought of it like that.  Had thought of how we are held in the everlasting arms and how he holds us and takes hold of our right hand etc.  But making the segue to Jesus and the nail prints is really a powerful visual.  

  8. 8. A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?
    Jesus desires the best for His people/Jerusalem and grieves their turning away.  He longs for their willingness to return to what is in their best interests, what will give them the best life possible.  He uses the metaphor of a hen gathering her chicks under her wing…as the hen for her chicks, He longs to provide His people security, comfort, love, refuge, etc.

  9. 9. Share your notes and comments.
    This is what stood out to me:
    -When we are despondent, not feeling God’s love God wants us to drill this picture of a mother child relationship down from our heads to our hearts. We need to think think think on it until it affects our affections.
    -Three reasons why a mother can’t forget physically-nursing mothers can’t forget because of prolactin. The more you nurse the more you have to nurse the more your milk comes in. The physical nature moves the mother toward the child. And then emotionally she cant’ forget-nursing also releases oxytocin a chemical that makes you feel delight and contentment. There are enormous forces in her being moving her toward her child. IT is unconditional. The infant does nothing to merit her love. Yet some moms are bad regardless and some just get dementia and forget, but God will never forget. His love is indestructible. He says-you see mother love-that is nothing compared to my love for you. Everything about my nature drives me toward you.
    -If you knew this love was really really yours-an abiding reality to your heart, moment by moment what kind of person would you be? Way different than the person you see now-a fountain of joy no circumstance could put a cork in. Yet, God is not done.
     -because God says to us-“You have not seen the magnitude of my sacrifice for you and the most crucial deed of love that matters is in v.16..”See I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.” It was sometimes true in ancient times that the name of a master might be tattooed on the servant but never is the name of the servant tattoed on the master. It isn’t a beautiful metaphor-a horrible metaphor. I have engraved you on my hands..engraved means hammered with a chisel and a spike. Why in the world would you conjur up the image of someone out of love letting people take a hammer and drive a spike through the palms of your hands. It makes you cringe-it isn’t crazy. You are afraid I will forsake you? On the cross I was forsaken so that now no matter what you do God will never forsake you like a mother never forsakes her infant.
    -Psalm 27: 10. Though my mother and father forgets you I will build you up. You can through meditation and contemplating the word of God and drilling it down toward your affections-you can be melted by spiritual understandings into blazing joy about God’s love for you. You have to live in holy conscienous of this because  If you don’t, you have to take people’s identity of you.  You will be crushed when insulted, toss nad turn in bed at night when slighted, be destroyed when put on weight. You can be free from all of that-none of that has to darken your life. God is like a good mother-always after you and they will move heaven and earth that you flourish. This great mother has moved heaven and Earth and I will flourish. Comfort my heart with these words and one another with these words.

    1. I so resonate with Susan and others who so honestly confessed that we don’t feel His love for us all the time-I don’t all the time, either. 🙂 So God is moving heaven and Earth via Dee’s study this week and through Keller’s sermon to help us/me to begin the journey of flourishing in His Love..and I am encouraged to memorize and contemplate His Word-drilling it down deeper toward my affections for I want to be melted into blazing joy about God’s love for me.  
      I have a verse pack with tons of verses I have memorized in past years that I failed to keep reviewing over the years and I have forgotten most of them so I am getting them out starting today. I got it out last week at work and started and noticed most of the verses express His love for us in varying ways. Dee’s friend Twila is right, memorizing and contemplating is communing with Him- like coming home. 🙂

      1. Awesome, Rebecca! Thanks for encouraging all of us to memorize scripture.  It really is the only way to “drill it down to our hearts.”

    2. Rebecca, they really are comforting words. And freeing! The depth of the mother picture that Keller described moved me.  How God revealed this characteristic of himself in response to an unbelieving lament.  As a mom, I would be bugged by that sort of whining.  But he responds with this great assurance of his unfailing love, calling his people to identify with him as closely as a nursing child.  When babies are in their mothers’ arms, you see contentment, not searching and striving for gratification elsewhere.  Oh, if I could remain in that place of complete satisfaction and trust in my Savior’s arms…….Instead, when I doubt his love because I believe the “evidence” against his love, then I try to “steal love and acceptance from elsewhere”.  He stated it well when he said we must think and think and think on the truth until it is drilled down into our hearts and feelings.  It really is a discipline.  We have to exercise our minds to dwell on the promises found in his word, rather than on our feelings.  Then teach our minds to inform our hearts.  Then comes the bubbling-over joy!

  10. This was an awesome sermon! And one that I really, really needed to hear. Because I am like God’s people of old who said, “Words, words…but I don’t feel loved.” Here are some of my notes that stood out to me:
    Isaiah 49:14 is a painful question: “You (God) don’t love us” It’s possible to say that you believe in a God of love, but it doesn’t affect how you live at all, how you feel about life, yourself; it doesn’t shape you.
    We may say, “I believe I am a child of God and He loves me”, but there’s all kinds of evidence against that. Evidence within and without. Inside – what I am and what I’ve done. Outside – unanswered prayers, disappointment. If I don’t feel the love of God, and don’t find a way to surmount it, I will steal love and self-acceptance from other sources because I’m not getting it from the source I say I believe.
    “It is an item of faith that we are children of God, but there is plenty of experience in us against that. The faith that surmounts this evidence and is able to warm itself at the fire of God’s love, instead of stealing love and self-acceptance from other sources, is actually the root of holiness.” – Richard Loveless
    How does God deal with a despondent, despairing person? He does NOT say, “Suck it up!” (I know that doesn’t help; I’ve had that said to me before) He doesn’t just give emotional support but He give a very challenging kind of truth. Theology, a metaphor, designed to get to your affections. A great quote by John White in The Masks of Melancholy, “Years ago when I was seriously depressed, the thing that saved my sanity was a dry as dust grappling with Hosea’s prophecy. Slowly, I began to sense the ground under my feet growing steadily firmer. I knew that healing was springing from my struggle to grasp the meaning of the passage. If sufferers have any ability to concentrate, they should do solid, inductive Bible study, rather than devotional reading, because in most depressed people, devotional reading is stopped altogether or degenerated into something unhealthy or unhelpful.”
    When you’re despondent, you can’t feel anything. So what should you do? White says, get the truth of who God is, and drill it, drill it, drill it, down toward your heart. In verse 15, God goes after your thinking but He drives the thinking toward the emotions. (I want you to think and think until you feel something) God wants us to meditate and reflect on the nature of the bond between a nursing mother and her infant.
    Mother’s love seems indestructible but it’s not, because human beings aren’t indestructible. God’s love will not be destroyed. You see a mother’s love – it’s nothing compared to My love for you. Everything about My nature moves me powerfully toward you.
    If you knew that a love of this magnitude by a Person of this magnitude was really yours; if the reality of this kind of love was an abiding reality to your heart, moment-by-moment, what kind of person would you be? The answer: a very different one than the person sitting here right now. At the very least, there would be a fountain of joy that no circumstance, no tragedy, could put a cork in.
    But God’s not done yet. It’s still just talk, and we need verse 16 to see a cure for the pain…because in the end, what really convinces you that someone loves you is not just talk, but action. We read the Bible, “Words, words, words…but why aren’t You doing something for me right now?!”
    God says through this text, “You have not seen the magnitude of My sacrifice for you, and the most crucial deed of love that really matters is not the one that you’re worried about right now.” “See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” This is a horrible metaphor! The Hebrew word here means “engraved with a hammer, chisel, or a spike”. Centuries later, a man named Thomas was filled with doubt…Jesus said to him, “Look at the palms of my hands and see my love for you.”
    That’s your final argument. It’s a deed. But what if you still say, “I can’t believe God loves me because look at all the awful stuff in me and the things I’ve done” (that’s the question I’ve asked, too). Yet Jesus says that He got the forsaken-ness that I sense that I deserve, so that no matter what, God will never forsake me.
    If right now your soul is restless and you feel forsaken; you’re like a crying infant until it gets ahold of the milk – this is the milk. This is your choice now. You can, by taking the Word of God and working it toward your heart, be melted by spiritual understandings into blazing joy about God’s love for you.
    Or, if you don’t, you’ll have to take your identity from what people say to you. You’ll be crushed when you’re insulted, toss and turn in your bed when you’ve been slighted, and be elated when something goes right; destroyed when you put on weight, because you’re taking your identity from how you look and what people say. You can be free from all of that. None of that has to darken your life. He has moved heaven and earth so you can flourish.
    Okay – I need a really, really big drill right now:)) But how I need this because I am so like the person Keller describes here…the doubter of God’s love!

  11. Susan thanks for taking great notes. Such good stuff!  He hits the nail on the head where he describes our up and down emotions based on people’s comments or views of us.  I love it that we really can be free from that!  The Isaiah passage combats all that searching and doubting. 

  12. When I was at my local clinic yesterday, I saw anew a sculpture in the courtyard.  It is of a pair of hands and two people; an adult and a child, sculpted within them.   I was on a schedule and didn’t have time to go and look more but I suppose it visualizes the good medical care.  Being in good hands.  I couldn’t help but see it as a visual of Isaiah 49: 16.  I think I’ll bring my camera next week when I go back and take a picture!   
    And if you missed this sentence from Susan earlier, this is an amazing segue to the illustration being carried out with limitless love and sacrifice for us from Jesus.  I hadn’t thought of it like this.  Will definitely be one take away this week.    (haven’t heard the sermon yet.…thanks to those who have posted notes.)  

    The engraving on the palms makes me think of the nail prints on the hands of Jesus; His sacrifice for me.

    1. Wanda, I like your new picture! I paid attention to the part of the sermon where Keller talked about the engraving on the hands…I’m glad I was on the right track when that’s what came to my mind when I read the Isaiah verse. But I had no idea the meaning of that Hebrew word…

      1. When I heard it on the sermon, I thought…..wow!  Susan was right 🙂  Very astute!  

  13. WOW.  I just listened to Keller’s sermon,  going back and forth between Rebecca’s and Susan’s notes while I listened.  (THANKS!).   The sermon is excellent!  So much of the message struck me, but I won’t re=write what has already been shared.  
    But I did so  appreciate his statement about devotional readings, which are meant to inspire,  not being what usually helps one who is despondent, but a deep, digging, digging, digging into the truth:  and letting the Word get drilled into your heart.   Drill, drill, drill  the truth toward your affections and emotions.  
    I see myself in this so much.  I HAVE to find the truth first.  When someone comes to me  with platitudes to comfort or comes on strongly with a ‘happy attitude’ message, I shrink back and withdraw.  However, when I am challenged to dig into God’s truth  (as Dee so aptly does for us each week)  then I can begin to feel that the message is true for ME.   Otherwise, it’s just hearsay; or someone else’s experience against mine.  
    Sermon Takeaway:  “Think. Think. Think!”  Keller (and Winnie the Pooh!) are right.  🙂   

  14. first–I haven’t been on in a few days, but just saw Wanda–love your picture here! Much prettier than the bird I thought was a cloaked lady 😉
    7 C. Is this real to you?
    Oh this is a big one for me, LOVE THIS TRUTH. A life long favorite whisper of the enemy was that I was unnecessary, and forgettable. There is a story my family tells of me being a baby (youngest of 4), and mom forgot me at home in my crib when she went to run an errand. She got to the store (just a few blocks from home) and realized she had my 3 siblings, but had forgotten me. Not my favorite story! I know the enemy whispers lies when I am weak that God doesn’t have time to care for me or is “tired” of my whining and disobedience. But I do know this is a lie. That all because of who God is, He loves me and cannot forget me. It can be hard to erase things I’ve believed about myself—not being anything special, and actually being “forgettable”. But the truth is that is an insult to God’s creation for me to believe it, and it is sin. He loves me because He IS love.  He defines true love…and He longs for the work of His hands. So, I think it is becoming more real, the more I look to who He is for that answer and not to who I am. It’s interesting–just had this thought. My youngest absolutely adores his older sibling, despite how she has always treated him. We’ve always said it’s just because of who he is, he loves people, they don’t have to “earn” it with him. OH how far I have to go, but I am so thankful God loves me based on who He is, and not my failing merit!
    Sermon/take-away: I remember this sermon and it is SO rich. I will admit it was hard to listen to for me—just personal reasons, some parts are hard, but there is much rich “food” here. He says “when you see everything I’ve done, will you please trust Me?” I am such the restless infant, so often not at ease with what I see around me. But I am at least experiencing more of that peace. This week has been really really awful on one side, my usual trial. But at the same time I feel more joy than I have in a really long time. OK, some of that was un-locked by my puppy, but honestly—I think I sense more than ever that I can rest this hard stuff in His hands. He sees my heart. He hears my cries. He has assured me I am not to blame, and He really will not let this break me. He’s even given me peace that I can let go more and risk hoping that beauty really will come from the ashes I see. I feel more confident and peaceful than I have in maybe 11 ½ years (who’s counting?!), even though the circumstances are still not so pretty. He is here, and I feel Him all around me, guiding me. 
    I am holding on to the image that I am engraved on His hands. Most of you know how much I love “Indelible Grace”—but that is it—indelible, permanent. We are a part of Him. I love Job 14:15 “You would call, and I would answer You; You would long for the work of your hands.”—He looks at His hands, and He sees what He has made with His hands, me, and longs for me.

    1. Elizabeth:  The ‘cloaked lady’ might come back someday 🙂  Actually, it’s a bird with a bleeding heart; at least that’s what I think of with a rose breasted grosbeak.  My heart was very sad when I changed my image to the bird.  So, from time to time, I may need to……I have a hard time looking at my smiling face when I’m that sad.  ANYWAY…changing back into me felt good too!  
      Your words here gave me a lot to think about.  I started to comment but decided to think some more.  We have a fourth, youngest by a lot, child and I know feeling left out because of being at a different stage of life has sometimes been very hard.   So, on a literal level, I was thinking of those things.  On a spiritual level, I’m so glad to read of God’s peace and joy permeating some of the places that are often hard spots for you.  

  15. Most of you probably got the email–but just in case–Keller’s Marriage in Christ from Ephesians 5 is free today (MP3 )at Gospel in Life

  16. Hello,
    I just finished reading Idol Lies. I have started the study and am praying our ladies from church will do this study together. I’m so hesitant to chime in here and join The study. Mostly because I’m just learning what my idols are, and I think being part of this group would feed them. There are so  any areas of struggle, as you all are aware of. I know everyone has major struggles and hardships, and I don’t pretend  mine are worse. I see myself in so many of the examples given in Dee’s book. Christy and Lily, mostly. Dee, I feel a closeness to you because I live way up north near Lake Superior, but I live in the back woods, not on the water, like you. 
    That sermon by Keller is so encouraging and  challenging!  I’ve listened twice and need to take notes the third time!
    Anyway, just working through this journey seems so huge, and I don’t have any friends who have gone through it. I keep talking about idols to my friend, she is probably wondering what in the world is going on with me? I’d appreciate prayers. 

    1. Welcome, Marilyn and thanks for jumping in.  It would be nice  to see you this coming week too!  

  17. My take-away this week…it was good to go back to the lament, but also good to be reminded of the “turn”. For me, it is the image from Keller’s sermon of Jesus saying, as He did to Thomas, who was full of doubt, “Come here and look at my hands; see My love for you.” This has to be the final argument, my final argument, against the evidence, both within and without, that says that God doesn’t love me, doesn’t care…how could He? This is more than just “words”, as Keller said. I find that words don’t mean much to me…someone close to me says “I love you” but has been harsh, critical with his words…always pointing out my failures, so I don’t believe the words anymore. Then, I take that and put that on God, thinking that He must see me the same way, and I begin to feel disconnected from Him and like I can’t trust Him and I’m just on my own. But God backs up His words with action…engraving me on His hands…the Cross.
    Also, in the sermon, the quote from John White about doing serious Bible study when you’re feeling depressed…much more helpful than devotional-type reading.

    1. Susan, 
      So beautiful to hear you embracing the Gospel again but deeper..and you have such good insight into why you have struggled. That is painful, but you are His and He loves you so.

  18. My takeaway:
    I admit I have not listened to the sermon yet (and most of you are on to next week now) but I find myself pondering this, as some of you have said, there is a the quote from John White that doing serious Bible study when you’re feeling depressed is much more helpful than devotional-type reading. I have sometimes found that to be true and its hope draws me this week because, sadly, I have been struggling with depression lately. I need to do all the usual things like eating right, getting exercise and also, most importantly, pressing in to Christ in deep Bible study, which to me means taking the time to read, look at study notes, cross references, looking up words in Greek or Hebrew and thinking, praying and asking God to apply. It takes a lot of time, but it is more important than anything else I do, whenever I have the time. Sometimes others devotional thoughts help me but they are harder to truly apply when my sad heart needs it than if I dig the truths up for myself. … Now I need to listen to the sermon.