November 10, 2012
At the end of August, I went with my mom and sister to a women's summit conference where Nancy Guthrie spoke. I've read one of her books, Holding On To Hope, which is amazing. I have another one of her books on my "to read" shelf next to my bed. Her ministry to grieving people is real and effective, I highly recommend her materials to any church hoping to start a grief ministry program. For my own remembrance, here are my notes from her talk:
There are 4 main assumptions that we make about how we think life with God ought to work.
1) If I am godly, I won't have to suffer.
WRONG!! Job was godly, he was a great man spiritually, financially, he was respected, etc. YET, he suffered!
2) My suffering is about ME and MY LIFE in the here and now.
WRONG!! Ephesians 6:12 and Luke 22:31&32 tell us about spiritual battles going on behind the scenes. Job's suffering wasn't about his earthly life or anything Job had done, but was instead about how Satan wanted to destroy Job's trust in the God he (Job) loved. Satan wanted to defeat and diminish God. BUT...BUT, God can use the suffering in our lives in the here and now to accomplish something GOOD for His grace and glory.
3) My suffering is the result of God's punishing me for my sin.
WRONG!! If we belong to Christ, SOMEONE has already been punished for our sins!!! Jesus!!! Wow.
4) What I need most is relief from my suffering and answers to my questions.
Wrong!! God has promised that there IS a purpose to our suffering, to conform us to the image of Jesus. That may be ALL we ever know about our suffering in this life.
God is the Creator. I am the created. God does not settle for my small ideals about what He should be doing.
God is a righteous judge. I have limited understanding.
He can do anything He wants to me, He WILL always do what is RIGHT to/with me. I can trust Him even if I never get answers.
Job came to realize that the more he knew about who God is, the more he could accept not having all his questions answered.
We whine about God not being "fair," but in a truly fair world, there would be NO room for GRACE. We do not deserve grace, yet we have it!
Nancy also spoke at length about how Joseph was an Old Testament "Christ-figure" or a preview of what was to come.
Joseph and Jesus both experienced suffering before glory, rejection before acceptance, humiliation which led to exultation, both descended to the lowest pits for victory. Joseph was the beloved son as is Jesus. Both endured much because of their confidence in God. Joseph was exalted at the end and he was set up for the salvation of many, including his family. Joseph was a fruitful sufferer.
But the biggest thing I took away from this conference, the words that changed some of my thinking, that made me reconsider my life....
"What is in your life, that would change everything, if you were to write across it,
'You meant it for evil, but GOD meant it for good' ?"
Think about that. I mean really think about that. Do you have something dark in your past, something hurtful in your present, something scary looming in your future? How does your thinking about that situation change when you really grasp that God means it for good?! Wow. Just wow.
I have so much more to tell you! I have completed my training to become NANC certified (a Biblical counselor) and am plodding away at the exam and paperwork to submit (hopefully this next spring I will be ready to start counseling). This fall, I attended 30 hours of amazing teaching under wonderful NANC counselors. I just spent 5 hours this weekend at a conference where Elyse Fitzpatrick (a NANC counselor also) spoke. Amazing. I am full!! I will share more of the lessons I learned in another post.
God is good!! I am fully satisfied in Him! And know what? He is satisfied in me:)
What We're Memorizing This Month
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.