True Woman Book Club 2019: Week 6

Whoa! It’s the final week in our True Woman Summer Book Club! We hope you’ve enjoyed our study of Elisabeth Elliot’s Suffering Is Never for Nothing. It was a joy to have you join us. If you have any suggestions for our next book club, please leave a comment at the end of this post. (And don’t miss our last giveaway!)

Memory Verse: Isaiah 58:10–11

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Devotional Thought: 

Wood chips floating like fairies in the air, drywall dust caressing your nostrils and lungs, the pungent fragrances of paint and polyurethane and mold, a dumpster poised on the lawn amongst the gnomes and hostas . . . sigh. There’s nothing quite so lovely as a remodel. 

Okay, okay. Maybe this isn’t your dream world, with circular saws and carpet rolls and random hand tools as far as the eye can see. But what about the fruit of all that mess? I think we can agree that the end of a renovation is more glorious than the middle. (Even if your experience with construction ends with watching Chip and Jojo.) 

When the paint is dry, the wood floors are polished into a sheen, the last pillow is placed with love, and we get to the final reveal, all the pain and long hours begin to pale in importance. They’re not forgotten, but somehow the mess of everything has turned into something beautiful. The long hours of smashed fingers, inconvenience, and hard work don’t reduce the glory of that moment. Rather they add to the value of it. 

When we see beauty in something restored, it’s because something needed restoring. Something was broken and was fixed. Something old was made new. Something grimy was made glorious. 

And don’t the most glorious reveals come when something was the most broken? It’s one thing to see a nice house become updated. It’s entirely another to see an unlivable place become a refuge of beauty—to become someone’s home. 

It’s the same way with our lives. God takes our circumstances, broken and moldy and unsightly as they are, and brings glory out of them. As Elisabeth Elliot said in this final chapter: 

The best fruit comes out of the most drastic pruning. The purest gold comes out of the hottest fires. I have certainly learned the deepest lessons of my life through going through the deepest waters. And the greatest joys come out of the greatest sorrows. Life comes out of death (p. 103). 

Just as a renovation never comes easily, so does God forming the image of Christ in us takes time, pain, and effort. That’s the grace of suffering—that God takes people and circumstances that we’d never think would be useable, walks in, and says, “This is the one I want to work My glory in.” Then He takes us (even with our difficult situations), redeems us, and sets about making us new and useful and beautiful. 

He already sees the potential of our lives, and since He’s eternal, in His mind, the work is already done. Because of Christ, we are beautiful in His eyes. We see His vision in our verse for this week: our light will rise in the darkness; He will satisfy our desires; we are becoming useful for giving life to others. Glory is coming. 

For today, that may mean dealing with the blood, sweat, and tears of the glory-making process. It may mean that walls get ripped out in our hearts, and we may be chipped away at and pulled apart at times. But whatever God does to restore us and whatever cost we find ourselves paying in His service, we can be sure that the big reveal will be worth it. As Peter writes:

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hopethrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:3–9). 

The transfiguration—the big reveal of transformation in all its glory—is coming. That’s the message of Elisabeth Elliot’s book Suffering Is Never for Nothing, the message of this book club, and the message of Scripture. You can be sure of it. In Him and through your suffering, you are being made new. He is faithful, and He has overcome the world. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Tell about a time that you saw something transfigured (made glorious). Explain what difficulties were required to get to the end result.
  2. “If your faith rests on the character of Him who is the eternal I AM, then [it] is rugged and will endure” (p. 93). Which of God’s attributes means the most to you and why? How does it give you hope in suffering?
  3. “[V]ery often my prayers are really asking for stones. And what God wants to give me is bread, something that will not only feed myself but feed the world as well” (p. 95). When have you asked for something and seen God answer your prayers differently but better? Discuss: How can we rightly ask the Lord for things that may not be His best for us? 
  4. What suffering “makes you long for that better country” (p. 99)? What glory are you looking forward to experiencing or seeing in eternity? 
  5. Throughout this chapter, Elisabeth pointed us to examples in Scripture of people who suffered and saw glory come out of it. Who in Scripture or outside of Scripture do you see as an example of enduring through suffering? How were they able to persevere? 
  6. What is your number one takeaway from this book? How has it made a difference for you?

(Download these questions as a PDF here!)

Resources and people mentioned in this chapter:

Giveaway: For our final giveaway of our book club, we’re offering a copy of one of my all-time favorite books, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. In this chapter, Elisabeth told us about Corrie’s joy: “[A]ll who saw Corrie ten Boom either in person or on the screen saw a radiant old face filled with the joy of the Lord.” But Corrie wasn’t always that way. She had to learn to be joyful—through deep, life-threatening suffering. If you want an example of perseverance, look to Corrie. In her book, she was honest about how she struggled with joy and contentment as she hid Jews in her home from the Nazis and endured a concentration camp. Enter to win—and consider buying a copy for yourself or a friend. It’s a great addition to your library! 

Leave us a comment! What was your number one takeaway from this book, and what are your thoughts on our book club? Any books you’d like us to do for future book clubs? Anything you’d want us to do differently? We’d love your feedback and suggestions!

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About the Author

Hayley Mullins

Hayley Mullins

Hayley Mullins is a biblical counselor based in northern Indiana who finds joy in helping people find help, hope, and healing in Christ. Reading, hiking, watching soccer, collecting records, and chatting over coffee are her everyday delights. Hayley formerly served … read more …

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