Hey friends! This one is a definite switch in OOBT’s typical content + format as M spends time openly sharing about a shattering Job season in her own life… and the ways God showed up to meet her in the depths of her despair as well as some “good” she now recognizes He brought to her life on the other side of her time in the pit so to speak.
The statement, “God is making beautiful things out of our lives - out of us” becomes a crucial part of today’s discussion. Be sure to listen in to not only find out more about what it looks like to be “a Job of your time,” but also how to keep your faith in the midst of immense suffering all while trusting that God has a bigger plan and purpose for all of it.
PLEASE NOTE:: Today’s episode comes with a trigger warning as M speaks candidly of her experiences with miscarriage and depression.
// Show Notes //
First off, as I mentioned in today’s episode, if you are ready to take the next step in finding a Christian counselor, here’s a link good place to find the right fit for you and your circumstances: American Association of Christian Counselors.
Below are the questions M mentioned in today’s podcast… the ones she asked you to dig into while reading Job 22-24. These major moments and questions for each chapter were found in First5’s Suffering & Sovereignty printed study guide.
- JOB 22 // Eliphaz pleads with Job to return to God.
Read Colossians 4:6 and Ephesians 4:29. Think about your conversations during the last 24 hours and ask yourself these questions: What words filled my conversations? Did I use any careless or critical words in my conversations? After studying Job 22, what would you like to avoid or implement into your conversations?
- JOB 23 // Job longs to find God and acknowledges that God is testing him.
Although Job cannot find God, he is still confident that God knows and sees him. (Job 23:10-12) There are some really critical declarations of faith found in these verses. Job believes that not only does God see him but is testing him and that he will emerge better than before. What does it mean to be tested and refined as gold? What is the result of such testing? (Psalm 66:10-12; 1 Peter 1:7).
- JOB 24 // Job seeks to understand why the wicked succeed and innocent suffer.
More than anything, Job wants answers. It almost seems as though he could bear the pain of loss, if only he understood why. Based on his observation, what does Job conclude? (Job 24:2-12) To Job, all justice seems absent from the world. The psalmists often agreed. (Psalm 73:2-12) At the very end of Job 24, Job seems to come to the realization that he can and should wait on the justice of the Lord. (Job 24:22-25) What does it mean for us to wait on the justice of the Lord? Does this change the way you feel about your current situation?
Here are a few more questions from M to help you as you consider your own “Job” moments in life.
- In what ways are you questioning how God is making your life stronger and more beautiful than ever?
- What broken pieces do you need to surrender to God? What is something you're facing right now that you know you need to hand over to the Lord?
- No matter what we are going through, we have the choice to have more confidence in God or less confidence in God. How can you make the choice in your situation have more confidence in the Lord and learn to truly rely on his strength?
- What are some ways you can seek out hope in your period of long suffering?
- Tell the story of your disappointment using God's goodness as a central theme. Take your time with this. Where is God's goodness threaded through? Find ways to intentionally look for evidences of God's goodness even in the midst of circumstances that aren't seemingly good at all. You may not yet know the good results God is going to bring into your situation but shift to seeing all things through the lens of being confident in His goodness.
For a more in-depth chance to process the hard things you are currently going through, let's take a look at the PURPOSEFUL JOURNALING process as mentioned by M in today’s episode and found in the “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” study guide. These questions could be adjusted for processing past hurts more closely as well… really for processing anything with God.
- List the top three circumstances in your life right now that feel too hard, heavy, confusing, or difficult.
- Now that you've identified these three situations, spend some time journaling. The best way to get started in focused journaling is just to write. Keep writing and allow your heart to respond in full honesty with no hesitation. Journal a minimum of 10 minutes (more would be great), using the following prompts to process one of your situations:
- The hardest situation I'm facing is ...
- I feel (mad, depressed, panicked, numb, etc.) …
- This is affecting me by...
- I want...
- I need...
- However, after our reading in the book of Job and working through the related OOBT podcast episodes, I now know...
- A truth from God's Word that is helping me in this situation is ...
Now, you are going to transition in your journaling and use a practice of the ancient Israelites called lament: pouring out feelings of loss, pain, and the need to process with God. There are many examples of laments in the Psalms, the books of the prophets, and a whole book of the Bible devoted to it - the book of Lamentations. The practice of lament is not just pouring out our pain and sorrow but also intentionally calling to mind the hope we have in the Lord. A great example is found in Lamentations 3:19-22.
- After reading Lamentations 3:19-22, in what ways do you relate to the author's lament?
- Continue journaling, spend the next 15-20 minutes writing your own lament to God. Tell Him what the pain or frustration or hurt feels like and where it comes from. But also affirm what you know is true about God as you write. Pay special attention to the turn toward hope that the author of Lamentations makes and include this same kind of turn in your lament as well. For every sentence or few sentences of lament, right a truth of God's nature and His promises. Practice letting yourself feel the hard things while remembering God's goodness.
- End your journaling time by writing a prayer asking God to help you live out His truth in your situation.
MFahring’s Website // https://mfahring.com/
MFahring’s Bible Study Resources // https://mfahring.com/bible-study-resources
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way // Lysa TerKeurst // Book & Study Guide
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way // Lysa TerKeurst // Online Bible Studies
Not For a Moment-After All // Meredith Andrews & Vertical Worship
Never Let Go // David Crowder*Band
Life.Church // Love & Hate // Loving Like Christ Loves
Beautiful Things // Gungor
First5 App // Suffering & Sovereignty
First5 App // Suffering & Sovereignty // Printed Study Guide
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