Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Discussion for Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

As you read Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie, this is where you can make comments on the book, ask questions (of other club members or the authors), or answer questions that I post here.

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ChristFocus Book Club said...

The first chapter shows us that Jesus understands the crushing weight and agonizing loneliness of grief.

Feel free to bring up questions or make comments that this chapter inspired. If you prefer a prompt, here are some questions from the discussion guide:

1) What dos it mean to hear Jesus speak, and how can you really do that? How do you know it is his voice you are hearing?

2) Does it help you to know that Jesus has experienced overwhelming sorrow and agonizing loneliness? In what ways?

Debbie said...

1) I hear Jesus speak in a variety of ways, but the main one is that I'll ask God a question and he'll immediately bring up a verse from the Bible as an answer. Thus, I think it's extremely important to consistently study Scripture so that I know and God can remind me of these truths.

I also hear God in other ways, and I know it's Him or at His prompting (i.e. someone else giving me advice) because it's consistent with what's taught in the Bible--another reason to study all of the Bible regularly. Otherwise, you can only go by what sounds good to you, but the results from doing that aren't always what you think they'll be!

2) Yes. Knowing Jesus has experienced grief makes him seem closer when I'm otherwise feeling alone. I like having a God who can relate to what I'm going though and so knows how to best comfort me during these times and heal my hurts.

Many times, humans don't want to be around someone who's suffering deep sorrows and often make things worse because they don't really understand what you're going through. If Jesus didn't personally know what we're going through, I think I'd deep-down wonder how He could relate to me in these times and why He would want to be near me at these times.

Anonymous said...

In my 35 years of walking with the Lord, I've seen that he often prepares me ahead of time for a challenge that He knows is coming to me. Then when the unexpected comes, I have the knowledge and strength to meet that challenge. This occurred as I began reading our new book club selection. I had just read the introduction, when I received word that my sister has been diagnosed with melanoma cancer. The first chapter had the exact message that she and I needed to hear from the Lord, and it helped me soften the blow of the bad news when I could share that message with her. In reading the next few chapters, I realized that this entire book will be good reading for us at this time. Thank you Jesus for your compassion for your people!! Judith46

Debbie, ChristFocus said...


Yes, isn't He good?

ChristFocus Book Club said...

The second chapter shows us that Jesus understands what it's like when God says no to a heartfelt request.

1) What did Jesus know about his suffering and about God that enabled him to surrender?

2) How is it possible to move from the place of insisting that God fulfill our requests to submitting to God so we can say, "I want your will to be done, not mine"?

The third chapter shows us that Jesus knows what we need most of all.

3) Why do you think we tend to see God's willingness to heal us of our deadly disease of sin as somehow less than the physical healing we want from him?

4) What does it really mean to see our sin as our most significant sickness, and how does that change the way we relate to God?

Debbie, ChristFocus said...

1) Jesus knew that his suffering had a purpose and that God would use it for eternal good.

2) Study God and build a deeper relationship with him so we can come to trust him even when it doesn't make earthly sense.

3) We live with sin from the time we're born to the time we die. We get used to it being around. However, physical problems often come suddenly (or, at least, or knowledge of them existing) and really hurt, so we pay more attention to them.

4) If we see sin as our most significant sickness, then we can rest in the assurance that God does care and is willing to heal us of the only sickness that has eternal consequences. I will no longer feel like He doesn't love me enough to heal me.

Tasha said...

Very interesting. I might have to get this book. Sorry to heard about your sister, Judith46.

Debbie, I agree with your #3, but I'd also say: Due to God's mercy, everyone has a measure of good/blessings in their lives so that when bad things happen they still seem out of place.

ChristFocus Book Club said...

The fourth chapter shows us that Jesus saves us from ourselves.

1) Think through and discuss specific faithful follower of God in the Bible. What were their lives like? Did they make following God look good [i.e. without pain or sorrow or trouble] to the world?

2) Is it realistic to think you could begin to see things from God's perspective rather than merely from a human point of view? If so, how does that happen?

The fifth chapter shows us that Jesus protects us from eternal harm.

3) What should you assume if it appears that God has failed to live up to a promise he has made?

4) Does the promise that Jesus has protected you from the wrath of God that you deserve move you or cause you to feel a deep sense of gratitude? If not, why might that be?

Debbie of ChristFocus Book Club said...

1) "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God (Genesis 6:9 NIV)." Because he was righteous, God gave him a hard job (building the Ark) for which he was mocked and then he had to suffer through the Flood and rebuilding after the Flood.

"Job was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1 NIV)." While initially God blessed him with wealth and good health, God took it all away from him for a time because he was so faithful.

Jesus was sinless and perfect. Because of this and in perfect submission to His Father, he had his life threatened, the leaders of the Jews resisted and mocked him, and he died a very painful death.

Paul also had a long list of ways he suffered. Yet all of these men continued to strongly follow God.

2) The start is to acknowledge that God has an eternal perspective. It's not quite what the book is talking about, but I've found that reading missionary biographies help. I can see ministries work in the longer-term perspective and see how hardships that made no sense when they happened actually served to direct a ministry in a way that was even more effective or in a direction they would have never considered otherwise. This helps reassure me that something that doesn't make sense to me is all in God's overall good plan.

3) That he has a greater objective in mind.

4) I've known Christ since I was little. I want to affirm that even someone who hasn't gone "seriously astray" in their life choices can be profoundly moved with gratitude for being saved from God's wrath on sin. I think it's partly because I understand how one seemingly "little" sin in Eden had such huge consequences, that any sin is too much, and that God's wrath against any sin is so great.

ChristFocus Book Club said...

The sixth chapter shows us that God has a purpose in our pain.

1) Nancy says, "The same tool of suffering that Satan seeks to use to destroy our faith is, in the hands of God, a tool God plans to use to develop our faith. The same circumstance that Satan sends to tempt us to reject God is what God uses to train us. What Satan inflicts to wound us, God intends to prune us." How can embracing this truth change how you respond to you suffering?

The seventh chapter shows us that Jesus empowers us to forgive people who don't deserve it.

2) What are some ways we tend to justify our resentments? And what fears make us slow to grant forgiveness?

3) What do you think it means that "Forgiveness is choosing to absorb the pain and pay the debt yourself that you are rightfully owed, asking God to do a work of grace and quench the fiery anger in your heart"?

The eighth chapter shows us that Jesus is enough and that he provides what we need when we need it.

4) How does seeing that the thorn was a messenger of Satan sent to torment Paul but also a tool of God sent to protect Paul from pride cause you to see your own suffering as perhaps something Satan has sent to harm you but that God can use to help you?

5) What is the difference between praying that a thorn will be removed and praying that it will be redeemed?

Debbie of ChristFocus said...

1) We can see troubles, not as a punishment for sin, but as a way to discipline us or draw us closer to him.

4) I can look to see what good can come from a problem, like making me more sympathetic to other people struggling with pain.

5) The difference is desiring our comfort or desiring God's greater plans.

ChristFocus Book Club said...

The ninth chapter discusses how Jesus shows us that death is not the end of life.

1) How do you relate to Martha's inability to find comfort in the resurrection as a completely future event or as merely religious but not real?

2) How do you think Mary and Martha's experience of grieving the death of their brother would have been different the second time he died?

The tenth chapter shows us that Jesus is in control of our life and our death.

3) How can the truth that God has ordained the number of our days soothe our fears about life and death?

4) What are the significant implications of embracing the belief of the psalmist that "every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:16)?

Debbie of ChristFocus said...

2) The second time, they'd know gut deep (experiential rather than just head knowledge) that the resurrection was real.