Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Family Woman

I loved this's message and the graphics...but what I especially loved was that it told the story of my life...well, if you could insert "family woman" into the story. (I wasn't a man...promise.) But the life I wanted is far, far, far from what I have...and I couldn't be more grateful. God knew me so much better than I knew thankful I am for all the times He said no to my prayers...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Words for the Wind

Piper on Job, Part 2

During the first message, Piper reached the section of Job 2 after the sores covered his body...
"What's the result? His wife can't take it anymore...I have a lot of sympathy for this woman. And I think the author and Job do too because of the wording here. I mean, she's just lost her kids, alright? Ten children. And she's watched her husband who valiantly worshiped God be struck with boils. This is not easy. We're going to cut her a lot of slack, right? And if words come out of her mouth...there's this beautiful verse in chapter six that talks about 'words for the wind'. 'Will you judge a man for words that are wind?'

There are a lot of words for the wind in the midst of tragedy. Pastors need to discern what are words for the wind...and he doesn't correct them. He just let's them go off into the wind. He knows they will say better tomorrow."

Then after Job's wife says to curse God and die...
"But he (Job) said to here's what he did not say: 'You are one of the foolish women.' He said: 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.' I think that's intentional. Giving her a break. 'You're not one of them, honey! This isn't you!'"

This comment on Job's wife was one of those moments that stick for a long time. All of our group mentioned it later and told of the impact this section of the conference had on us. I will admit...I've never had much sympathy for her. I never put myself in her place. I never cut her much slack. She just went into the category of the three friends and off I'd go until Elihu speaks in chapter 32. How grateful I am for this perspective.

Piper refers to Job 6:26 (NASB)...
Do you intend to reprove my words,
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind?

In the heat of the moment...when the impact of the suffering is still raging...when the news has just hit...when the pressure is still on...we all speak "words that are for the wind". Words that reflect our panic, our pain, our grief, our worry, our discouragement, our anger...but do not reflect our hope. Like Peter our eyes see the storm and not the Lord in the storm with us.

I can't do it anymore. I can't. I quit.
I want him gone. I'll never be able to forgive him.
There's no reason for me to even be here any more. I just want the pain to be over.
That's it. Forget it. If this is the kind of God He is...then never mind. I don't want anything to do with him.

And those are just my words. I've heard so many others from women in deep just yesterday. She can't see the way through. Why would God continue to pour grief upon grief? Nothing is just seems to be getting worse and worse. And God isn't doing anything! If He loved me, wouldn't He do something? Why, Kim? Why isn't He helping me? I don't want to be here. I want this over. I'm so tired. Sobbing followed for long minutes...

Words for the wind. She knows the Lord. She's loved Him and served Him for many decades. She's just overwhelmed...and will be again. The tide did turn during our conversation. I was able to speak gentle truth to her (keeping in mind yesterday's post). I didn't berate her for her words...I just showed her His hand. Reminded her of the Cross and that Jesus is a man acquainted with grief and full of sorrows. That she has a sympathetic High Priest who is able to help her in her time of need. And held her as I said I'm sorry...over and over and over and over...

If the theology continues to be bad in six months or a year when the grief has abated a little? We'll work together to see the Lord clearly. There's time for mourning and words for the wind...there will be a time for laughing and rejoicing in our Father again. I want to be there for both.

And like the words Piper put in Job's mouth...This isn't her. This isn't who she is. She loves the Lord. She trusts Him. How do I know? She belongs to Him. I can remain completely confident not in her, but in God's ability to finish what He began. Did you know that God Himself is bringing her to completion? God Himself will sanctify her completely...her whole soul and body and spirit will be kept blameless until the Day Christ returns. It's true. He wrote it in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. And the very last words seal it...He is faithful. He will do it.

It's my job to remain confident in His ability to bring everyone to the see them not for who they are, but for who He is making them to be. To see not their grief, but their hope. Not their windy words, but their final proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord. All I need to hear is their heart and know these words are a measure of their pain. They are not meant to make me worried, but compassionate...not angry, but seeing to the depths of their suffering and believing for them that He who began this good work is faithful to complete it until He comes again.

Like the friends who lowered their friend on the mat...sometimes in the midst of suffering, it is our faith that makes them well...if I can get out of the way enough...and bring out Jesus enough...and wait with them until the healing of the Lord comes...and let their words go to the wind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm so thrilled that this morning the doorbell rang and the Fed-Ex guy dropped off a package with my gift from ESV Study Bible! YIPPEE!

And inside is a precious second gift to me...another Bible for Wayne. It's a good mama who builds up not only her daughter, but her daughter's house. We don't take lightly all that you do to bless us, Mom. And the gift of the Word is the best you could do.

I'm so very grateful today! Thank you!

Good theology...hurt people

Piper on Job, Part 1

So, you know now that we attended Desiring God's Regional Conference on Job. I'm going to spend the next several posts thinking through some of the content most meaningful to me. I'll start with a quote or thought and move from there.

On Job's friends..."They got it so right theologically...mostly...and so wrong practically."

"True theology can hurt people very badly."

"True theological statements can cause harm and become false in their application and destructive in the mouths of fools."

It's always been so easy for me to dismiss those three friends in Job. All they did was pick a theme (What have you done wrong, Job?) and beat it into the ground. Now I see that I am them. Piper pointed out that they mostly got it right. You can find Scripture after Scripture that says exactly what they say. Righteous people are blessed...wicked are punished. Rahab at Jericho. Daniel. David over Saul. (And to cut them some slack, they didn't have ANY of the Scriptures. Imagine how much we'd get wrong without this Word that we take for granted so easily.)

It is not enough to know truth. We must also pray for the wisdom to use it rightly. Proverbs 25:11 says A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. It's not the word. It's when and how it's spoken.

And you'd think I'd get this because I can remember the sermons that led to us leaving the church. We had moved when I was going into the sixth grade to a small west Texas town where we weren't known. We had begun attending a small church outside of town. There were probably 10 kids in the entire youth program. Then change again...after years of strife and unfaithfulness, Dad was leaving and they were getting divorced. As I was in Jr. High, this wasn't a shock to me nor even unwelcome. Back then there were very few divorces and you could only get one for a few reasons. When it happened, it was shocking. I can name only a few friends whose parents were divorced and can distinctly remember that the reaction was like a death in the family. We were all shocked, saddened...didn't know what to say to them. Then it was our turn. It caused a huge turmoil in our family. We tried to keep living, activities, church, youth stuff.

Then came that Sunday...small Texas towns post updates on the town each week. Who got a speeding ticket in town...who got arrested last night...who applied for a marriage license...who reported stolen property...and who was getting divorced. I think I remember Mom telling us that it came out, that now everyone knew. When we walked across the parking lot, I just remember feeling uncomfortable, butterflies in my stomach. I didn't know what it meant that everyone knew. At first it didn't seem any different. I went to class then on to service. Just like always. Until the sermon started. You guessed it...divorce...the damage it does...the sin that it is...repent, repent, repent.

Then came the visit from some of the men in the church. Men who had never been in our home before. Men who had no idea what life was like for us. The message was the same. Repent. I remember the tears of hurt and anger from Mom. I remember the feelings of rage in me. I think I probably went back for a few more times, youth stuff mostly. But that was the last time that I felt like I had a church home. I didn't attend a church again on a regular basis until Cassie was about 18 months old...10 years later. And when I did, I was wary.

I get it now. They weren't trying to harm us. They had the truth...divorce is is not what God intended for what He joined together. I stand with them in that theology...but they, like Job's friends, had the right thoughts with the wrong heart. And I know I've followed after them more than once.

God told us to weep with those who comfort those who are afflicted with the very comfort you yourself have received. When Jesus saw people who were suffering, He didn't just preach a sermon. He had compassion and stayed until it was late to relieve it. And when He came to friends who were grieving, He only asked them to remember who He was while He wept with them because He was moved by their tears.

There is a time for truth and we must be ready with it. God can stand up to the hard questions we have. He is more than sufficient for our every fear and our every challenge. And we must be also. There are large truths that will steady us in the storms of life and have soothed my heart as I've come through suffering. But the delivery of those truths matters as much as the truths themselves. For in speaking for God with the truth of God, we must take care to represent Him not only in word, but in countenance...not only in deed, but in emotion. Then people near us can taste and see that He is good...and ready to meet them as a refuge in their pain.