Welcome to our Week ONE discussion for “Laughing in the Dark: a Bible Study on the Book of Job” by Chonda Pierce and Dale McCleskey. By now you should have watched the movie on DVD or streaming video, and completed week one in the study guide. Chonda received an award from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as the bestselling female comedian in history, yet when she opened the curtain to her personal life in this movie you’re seeing a humbling servant with a story that will change lives.
Her story resembles Job’s story in many ways, and perhaps yours too. She writes, “One of the ways Satan beats us up is with the feeling that we’re alone…Uniquely broken. Uniquely wrong. Uniquely alone.” From Eve in the Garden of Eden to (your name) in (your city), the enemy has tempted us to turn away from God in our sufferings. Chonda reminds us to follow a path of faith and to see how similar we are to Job.
In your study book this week you privately examined your losses through the seasons of your life: childhood, teen years, young adulthood, middle years and beyond. Chonda describes life as a “multiplying series of losses” and it’s tempting to feel depressed when we look back. Yet if we look through eyes of faith we’ll see fingerprints of God in our story, just like Job.
There’s a great quote on page 21 in your study book: “While suffering in this life is mandatory, doing it alone is not.” Jesus is always beside us, all we need to do is seek Him. I remember my own suffering when three family members all died at the same time, two in one week. It felt like I could barely breathe, yet I was never alone in my suffering. I leaned closer to Jesus, attended Grief Care classes at my church, read Christian books on grief, and found comfort in the prayers of my friends. I did not isolate myself or go underground with my feelings. They were real, I acknowledged them, and I found my faith carried me through.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 1:31 (NIV) …in the wilderness you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. This is a verse I memorized years ago and when I’m suffering I simply pray, “Lord carry me!” I even wore these words upon my arm as a bracelet for a season of my life.
What words are you wearing in your heart and on your arm? Are they in alignment with the Bible and will they carry you through? As you sip a cup of coffee or tea today, think about this.
One week from today we will begin discussing WEEK TWO so please set aside some time this week and work through the next chapter of your study book.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK
- If you have not already done so, watch the Laughing in the Dark movie on DVD or streaming video.
- If you are not getting the email updates, make sure you registered for this online Bible study
- Select a small group day and time that fits your schedule http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
- Read WEEK TWO in the Laughing in the Dark Study Book
- Deeper study: Read through the entire Book of Job, a chapter each day or a few chapters on the weekend.
- Share some of your favorite book quotes with your social media friends and hashtag #BibleCafe so we can find them too!
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK
(You will have the opportunity to share your answers to these questions during your small group time. You may also post them here. Consider also recording your answers in your spiritual journal)
- Do you see any more traits in Job after reading Job 1? Do you think of Job as being like you or your own parents? Why or why not? (page 12)
- Would you rather have financial security or the respect of people in your community? Why? (page 13)
- Chonda writes, “Loss does not mean God is punishing us, nor that His love has failed.” Knowing this, how would you respond to a friend who says, “You’re suffering because you have unconfessed sin?” (Hint: life is a series of losses as we age)
- We learned in our study this week about the problem of evil. It exists. Satan dumps a “cascade of calamities” upon Job and his family. Maybe this has happened to you or someone you know. Our natural response might be depression, anger or fear. Jesus and the apostles had that same opportunity, yet they walked a different path. What do you think made their response different from a natural response? Let’s chat!
- Chonda reminds us of two important things: first, we will experience flaws in our efforts to pure righteousness and second, we all face the same accuser. Because of this, suffering is guaranteed sometime in our life. What tools are necessary for minimizing our spiritual bruises in these seasons of our life? What tools can make the situation worse in these seasons? Let’s chat!
Praying for you,