Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 4 - Holy Spirit, Comfortable

This week's study is going to be hard for me to write in one posting, but I am going to try. As I sit in my reading/writing chair, the sunlight is pouring in on me, my favorite time. I have prayed about what to write here because this a very important week. If you have been reading this book for answers to your pain or if you read my blog expecting to learn exactly how to deal with loss, then, you have turned to the wrong source. Everyone grieves differently, and if you don't feel the exact same way as I do, or if you are at a different place, I pray that you know it is ok. If you felt like you would find a simple, fix-it solution to the pain in your heart from this book, I am afraid to tell you that you won't. Both are helpful, but not the ultimate solution. The main comfort in the midst of your pain and sorrow is our God. That is why I am praying so intently that God gives me the right words to write here because if you do not know this God or his son Jesus Christ then I want so badly for you to learn about him here. This is a safe place.

The taste of your apple pie or your attendance at church does not determine your entrance into heaven. The way that you handle your grief does not determine whether or not you get to heaven. It is only by faith that someone can stand before the amazing God of the universe (John 3:5). God knows that we cannot handle all of these situations in a perfect matter, and that is why he sent his son to pay for our all of our wrong doings on this earth. And once you come to God through saving faith, you are "reborn" meaning you get a clean slate from God, and when you give your sins to Him, they are on his shoulders.
Did you grow up wearing Keds? I did, and I remember having a white pair that I wore a lot when it was hot outside. One day I was eating a melting red Popsicle, and I am sure that I was not being careful as instructed, the sugary, red liquid fell on my shoe. This was not coming out, and even after trying to get the red stain out myself, I could not get them clean! That red stain is nothing for God! He made the greatest sacrifice when he sent his son to die for us, so when we make mistakes that are undoable and have left scars, God can come and give us a fresh start.

Once the Holy Spirit truly resides in your heart, how you live your life will change. I like what Nancy Guthrie says on page 28, "many of us want God to save us, but we don't always want him to change us or control us." We may hang onto sins because we think that is what will make us be our best. Like we know what is better for us than our all-knowing God! When I write that I think to myself, "Well, duh! God knows better than I do!", but in my life my wanting to be in charge forgets to go before God, pray and give him my life. Even with having faith in God, I still need to bring my struggles, pains, and requests to Him daily.

When I read certain parts of this book it is obvious that Nancy was following God's will by writing this book. Some parts seem to have been written just for me, and one of those readings titled, "No Words" is one of them. While Magdalena was with us I struggled to pray consistently. Sometimes I would plead with him and beg him for a little more time or for certain little things, but staying on my knees for hours was not done as it should have been. I was hurt, angry, tired, and just like Nancy wrote, I wasn't sure how to pray every day. The Holy Spirit, who knows are hearts, intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27) to God in a way that is in accordance with God's will. Even when I was too weak to pray, others were intervening, praying for me, and the Holy Spirit was doing the same. I know that this may be wrong comparison, but so many times I have treated God as I probably would antique furniture. I have so much respect for such beautiful, quality things that are made so much better than plastic furniture, but instead of enjoying a beautiful and inviting piece because it is "untouchable" because I am not worthy of it. God is not like that! He invites us to come and fellowship with him through the Holy Spirit! And one day when we get to heaven we will bask in all of God's glory!

Whether you have truly suffered in the past or you are living your life with little loss, God will comfort us with the truths that we know about him, but we have to learn these truths. Seek after who God is through The Bible that he has given us here on this earth. God doesn't always show us why we have endured such trials here, but he will comfort us and give us the strength that we need. And when are weakness begins to overwhelm us in this life, let us turn to the continual flow of strength and comfort in our God.

During my reflection time I realized that the Holy Spirit was truly with me during the week that Magdalena left this earth. I don't see how I stood for hours greeting people during the visitation and funeral, how I listened to every word that the pastor said, or how my knees remained in tact as I saw her tiny casket for the last time. The Holy Spirit gave me the strength that was needed just for that day, and the next I needed to seek after Him again.

The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. - J.I. Packer

Please share any way that God may spoken to your heart through this chapter, or what you have learned by posting a comment.

6 comments:

  1. I really got a lot out of this week when we were in it...it was hard at times to read, but only because there was so much truth in it.

    It reminds me of Natalie Grant's "Held"....that the promise that was made was that when all had failed, we'd be held.

    Not that we'd get what we wanted or His faithfulness and glory would be shown in the miracle healing or saving....but that no matter what, we'd be held.

    I was so grateful for the Holy Spirit to intervene for me then...and still am many days now.
    xoxo

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  2. Lori, Thank you for sharing your heart with us. We so easily forget that God will comfort us when we hold onto our pain.

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  3. Hey. I'm catching up and almost finished with part 4 so I'm forming thoughts and will comment again either later today or tomorrow, but a couple of things for the moment: I loved the comparison of antique furniture and don't find it wrong at all. To take it a bit further, why do we love antique furniture? Because it makes our lives better, because it's a thing of beauty. And so it is with God -- to so many He is something to make their lives better or to marvel at His beauty but as you said, nothing to truly embrace and enjoy -- it's more something to sit in the corner and hope no one too heavy breaks it! And it's not that He is not beautiful or that He doesn't make our lives better on the whole (not always in ways we can see), but He is so much more. I guess this is where the comparison ends, because if the antique furniture chose for us some of the things God chooses, so many wouldn't love it anymore. But still, you are on to something there!

    Also, I love how one week of this book builds on the next. Where you quote Nancy in saying "many of us want God to save us, but we don't always want him to change us or control us", I thought of last week's entry on page 21 and her comment of "I suppose the truth is, I want the inheritance without the hardship." Amen to that!

    We have had many talks and you know that I have not lost a child. There are other hardships, other things to grieve in my life which I do grieve (oftentimes, I sit in Sunday school with tears in my eyes as I just listen to the depths of God's word and the realities of life around me) and I would never begin to compare levels of pain because being a mother, I cannot imagine having to let one of my little ones go. And yet I wonder "what if I had to?" You can't help but wonder it when so many around you have had to and you acknowledge that God is in control of these things.

    I marvel at how many of us take for granted days of health in ourselves and our loved ones when King David himself asked God to teach him to "number his days". The days are short. If we are God's, they must be lived for Him and in that, I have to remember that my children are His -- the hardest thing for a mother to do. But more personal to me, I have to remember that God is bigger than physical and emotional depression, than lost relationships, and that there are those I have lost that I will see again in Heaven.

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  4. Ok, I finished reading the fourth week last night. There is so much every week it's hard to figure out what my favorite parts are and what is most encouraging. But this go 'round, I think the lesson on "Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled" got me. With my church background I know exactly what people are referring to when they say "Spirit-filled" and I loved how Nancy pointed out that really the question isn't whether we can get any more of God but whether we'll give Him any more of ourselves. She did an incredible job of showing how God's sovereignty and our human will work together. And I was so thankful that she pointed out that when you are saved you receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In my teenaged church days, if someone did not pray in tongues, they weren't "filled with the Spirit" then if things happened to them it was THEIR fault. I still have to remind myself that this is not the case in my life.

    The other SUPER encouraging thing to me was the reality that "Rather than lingering far away, God comes near, even inside us, reminding us that we are his."

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  6. This article is true. I love it. Sometimes we think that if we read books or turn in a circle and scream "I'm free" that we are free. It takes a relationship with God, and obidience to His Holy Spirit. Just like Naaman was told to dip in the Jordan 7times and he would be healed from the leprosy, God can easily tell us to do wierd things that we don't want to do, but that's where are healing comes. God bless you and keep writing as the Lord leads you.

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