Ever wonder why God has allowed hard times to come into your life? Even though you may not have enjoyed the trials or may be walking through them now, have you considered that God has a great blessing for you in the midst or aftermath of your brokenness?
Friends, I would like to tell you about a book study opportunity that will run for five weeks June 10 through July 8 over Charles Stanley’s The Blessings of Brokenness: Why God Allows Us to Go Through Hard Times. I stumbled across this book in the library a few months ago, and I loved how simply it delved into the very hard questions that all of us ask at one point or another: God, why is this happening? Why did you allow this?
As I have shared in other places of my blog, I have had to confront the truth in my own life that God allows brokenness at times in my life for a specific reason. In a simple, eye-opening way, Stanley unpacks the possible reasons for hardship and brokenness in our lives in his book — and then shows us how we can confront that brokenness and find blessing in it, rather than just suffering.
There are several ways you can participate with us in the book study. I have written five posts that correspond with the chapters in the book, and we will also have some live chats on the weekly reading with other writers on the blog. You can receive the posts and links to the chats by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ (if you are not already following us).
I would highly encourage you to get the book and read it along with the study. However, it is also possible to join us in the study without purchasing the book, and you can get something from the study just by reading the weekly posts. (Click here if you would like to preview or buy the book.)
To get a sample of the format of the study, I’ve included a preview of my first post for chapters 1 & 2. I encourage you to read it and look at the book study schedule below! Blessings!
Sample Book Study Post: Response to Chapters 1 & 2
A few years ago, I sat in a small prayer service at my church. While the people around me had upraised hands and cheerful expressions on their faces, I stewed on my pew.
I was angry at God. During the worship and prayer, two continual questions played like a tape recorder in my head, over and over: Why is this happening? Why are you letting me go through this, God? I had never been so confused or doubtful in my Christian walk. Whereas a few months before I had joyfully left my job to follow down a new path at His leading, I had no idea that it would lead to what felt like such chaos and suffering.
Our money had dried up. God hadn’t directed me to a way to replace the income we had lost when I had quit. All of the part-time work I looked into didn’t pay what I needed or would demand too much of my time.
My marriage was hanging by a thread. My husband and I were constantly fighting over finances and this “new direction” I felt I was to go.
My newborn son was difficult and colicky. He cried all the time and added to the tension of our already tension-filled household.
The area I had felt God ask me to step into wasn’t opening up like I wanted. I kept coming up against walls in relationships and opportunities. I made adjustments, worked on my skills, practiced in any spare second I could — but none of that made any difference.
I felt stuck. I knew this was where God wanted me. But why did He want me here? Although I would never admit it out loud to anyone, there was a voice inside that said, “This isn’t working. You should give up.” I wanted to run away. I didn’t want to follow God anymore if He continued to lead me down this path.
As I wrestled inside with these questions that I am sure everyone around me would find so shocking, there was also part of me that wasn’t completely void of hope. Part of me that knew that I didn’t have any other options. And because I didn’t know what else to do, I walked up at the end of the service to the altar call. There were hardly any people standing at the front of the church. I felt really foolish and silly standing there.
My bad mood hadn’t completely left. I really didn’t think anything would happen in that moment. But as I stood there, I heard the pastor say, “Don’t turn away. Don’t turn away.”
He was on the stage. He wasn’t talking directly to me, but I knew that God had put those words in his head for me. And, who knows?, maybe there was someone else sitting in the congregation — even in the midst of all those people with saintly expressions — who needed to hear that too.
Don’t. Turn. Away.
And that was it. That was enough. I felt the searing heat of God’s presence in my soul. I still didn’t understand what He wanted from me. I didn’t understand why He was letting me walk through such hardship, but I did understand this in that moment: He knew what I was going through, and He wanted me to stay with Him in the process. He wanted me to stick it out.
I didn’t get any other answers in the service that day. God didn’t reveal to me the reasons I was going through what I was — but I got the reassurance that God had me on a journey. And that there was a purpose for me in what felt like utter agony and disorder.
The reality is this. As Charles Stanley notes in The Blessings of Brokenness, “Brokenness is not something to be shunned and avoided at all cost. Rather it is something to be faced with faith” (12).
To be continued … read the rest of my post starting June 10.
Here’s How You Can Join in:
1. Read two chapters a week, starting June 10 and ending July 8. (Again, reading the book is optional but will help to bring clarity to the weekly posts.)
2. Read the weekly posts starting June 10 and write comments underneath in response to what I wrote and add your own reflections and insights. You can write comments in response to just my post (if you haven’t read the chapters), or you can write comments based on what you are reading in the book.
3. Each Monday starting June 13 (with the exception of the week of July 4), writers here on the site will lead a Blab chat on the two chapters for that week. You can look for the link for the chat on Facebook, Twitter or Google + and submit questions or comments in response to the chats — or listen in on them later during the replay if you are unable to make it to the chat.
A Breakdown of the Schedule:
June 10: Chapters 1 & 2
*Blab Chat: June 13 @ 9 p.m. EST
June 17: Chapters 3 & 4
*Blab Chat: June 20 @ 9 p.m. EST
June 24: Chapters 5 & 6
*Blab Chat: June 27 @ 9 p.m. EST
July 1: Chapters 7 & 8
*Blab Chat: July 5 @ 9 p.m. EST (Note, this chat takes place on a Tuesday night to account for the July 4 holiday.)
July 8: Chapters 9, 10 & Epilogue
*Blab Chat: July 11 @ 9 p.m. EST
We hope you will join in!