Hello “Held and Beloved” online study friends . . . and happy Monday! Taking a pause to pray for the week to come …
We were wondrously reminded in CHAPTER FIVE that our LORD is the One who leads us through the storm. What a comfort that is! He meets us in those storms to reveal more of His heart to us. But as we all know, sometimes in the storms of life, loss is also real. And painful. How does the Savior respond to our grief? Let’s turn the page together to see how the LORD meets four precious women in their times of deep sorrow.
Dear heavenly gracious Father, we come to you at the close of one week and the beginning of another. These are tender topics we are exploring. Pain and loss leave us cut to the core, with an ache that is deep and seemingly endless. We long to know how Your heart responds to our grief. Help us recognize Your arms surrounding us, Your comfort reassuring us, Your truth setting our feet back on firm footing, and Your spirit leading us to fresh healing, hope, and courage! In the Name of Your Son and our Savior, the LORD JESUS, amen.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Cast your cares upon the LORD and He will sustain you.
For He cares for you.”
Psalm 34:18, Psalm 55:22, I Peter 5:7
This week we will take a look at CHAPTER SIX. As you have time on your own, read through the chapter and the accompanying Bible passages. Keep a notebook handy to jot down anything that touches your heart, encourages you, leaves you with questions.
• CHAPTER SIX •
the One who grieves with me: blessed is she who opens her heart to be held
Brief summary: Naomi and Ruth grieved severe losses in Moab, then returned to Bethlehem where they experienced the gracious provisions of GOD. JESUS met Martha and Mary uniquely and individually as they grieved the loss of their brother Lazarus and asked them to believe that they would see the glory of GOD. The author struggled with an intensifying ache – the loss of favorite faces and places in the northern hills – but learned to trust Him with her longings. The LORD revealed Himself as the One who grieves with us, who uses our deep losses to draw our hearts to His, to reveal His glory!
Read more of their stories . . . and reflect on your own!
NAOMI and RUTH (Ruth 1–4)
How did each woman respond uniquely to the losses they have experienced?
In what ways did the unseen yet undeniable hand of God move to provide for their needs?
What does their story reveal to us about the heart of God?
MARTHA and MARY (John 11:1–45)
With what did each woman wrestle in their time of sorrow? How did they express their pain?
How did Jesus respond uniquely to each of them in their grief?
What was additionally challenging about the timing of His visit? Looking back, how might Mary and Martha have considered His timing to be mysterious kindness?
What losses cast a dark shadow of grief across your heart?
How has sorrow impacted your understanding of the heart of God?
In what ways has the Lord met you (or gently tried to reach you) in your place of loss? How might His Presence speak peace and comfort over your pain?
What tender words from Scripture reassure your heart that He is near, holding you close when you may not “feel” His Presence?
What truth about God’s exact and eternally purposeful plans might allow hope to rise above despair?
** WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? **
As the LORD leads you, comment below to share with others how the LORD is making Himself real to you through these stories.
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