The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Eight

The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Eight

Mourn Everything Hopefully

“Without a doubt Sarah is the most important woman in the Old Testament… She expressed her pursuit of the magnificent obsession in a supporting role. I don’t think for a minute that Abraham would have become the man he did without her support and encouragement… What makes Sarah remarkable is that she devoted her life to Abraham, giving him her support and encouragement through good times and bad so that he could whole-heartedly abandon himself to God and His call.”

The Magnificent Obsession, p. 213-214

You’ve heard it said that behind every great man is a great woman. I declare that to be true and would certainly say that our sister, Sarah, set the godly standard for us gals with her strength, dignity and courage! Not to mention she was one beautiful babe even at 80 and 90 years old!! All of a sudden I’m humming Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man”. And Sarah certainly did just that as she supported him through thick and thin.

So, before we move along to the rest of the chapter I just want to spend a moment talking about the lessons that we can learn from Sarah’s life.

If you are a married lady, listen up! And if you are a single lady who hopes to be married one day… listen up even more!!

As I reread this chapter, the Lord reminded me again of the supporting role I play to John in our own marriage. I prayed long and hard for the Lord to bring me a man, but never really considered the job description of a “wife” until I was 40! In fact, as I counsel women- both married and single, most women enter into marriage without ever having seriously considered what the role of a wife requires. Like it our not sisters, a wife’s main mission is “submission” to her husband. Submission- that word that gets trashed on a regular basis my most women actually means to come under the mission of another with strength. Yep, it’s a supporting role of strength.

May I speak some truth-in-love to y’all for a minute? To all the single ladies: I caution you that if you think you can do differently, you’re wrong. If you have any other role in mind for your marriage than that of the supporting role of a wife you are headed for disaster. Married ladies: If you have been in the driver’s seat of your marriage it is high time for a little Chinese fire drill and change drivers! Our God is a God of order and his order for marriage is that the wife is in the supporting role. Please know that I’m saying this with lots of love: TAKE OFF THE PANTS. (grin)

Remember- Abraham was everything that God wanted Him to be because Sarah supported his mission… his call, and encouraged him to go for it! Even when it meant that she had to pack it all up, head ‘em up and move ‘em out again and again… she was with him, without complaint or resistence. Though Scripture does not tell us specifically, I can only believe that because of the praise that Sarah receives (1 Peter 3:5-6) that she prayed fervently for Abraham; surely she prepared his favorite meals and rubbed his shoulders after a long, hot day of dealing with camel traders. No doubt she encouraged him when he was down and probably even made him laugh. I’d like to think that if Sarah had access to sticky notes she’d have left them all over the tent with words of love and encouragement for her man (it just happens to be my own little love-thing with JT). She knew how to love her man and it doesn’t appear that even her infertility seemed to have interfered in their marriage until the debacle with Hagar and Ishmael happened. Oh, Sarah loved her some Abraham and it was her joy to serve him. I think of the great Mamie Eisenhower’s comment about her marriage to President and General Dwight David Eisenhower saying, “Ike was my career.” Mamie was no doormat, nor a woman without a purpose. She was strong, intelligent, and winsome… and she loved her man. Wow… what a great position to take!

Sister, please take some time to prayerfully reflect of your present role as a wife or your future role as one. I’ll pick this back up during the Q&A, but for now let’s move on to see what Miss Anne has to say to us about mourning everything hopefully. I’ll address some points in the questions below.

The Lord bless your time in His Word this week ~

xo – P

Scripture Reading: Genesis 23
Read Chapter 8 – Magnificent Obsession

Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:

1. Read 1 Peter 3. How is Sarah described here?

2. Compare the kind of beauty that Sarah exhibited with the world’s standard of beauty today.

3. Years ago I read a book by Sheila Walsh and in it she talked about a visit with her Christian counselor who was exhorting her for her stubbornness and prideful independence. The counselor said, “Sheila, the Lord loves a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. Write that on a card and keep it next to your bed; read it every morning and every evening.” Well, I could not get paper and pen in hand fast enough to write it down for myself because I come from a family of very strong, very tall, very loud women and I knew that combination wasn’t working well for most of us. That comment remained beside my bed on my nightstand for years (I still have it somewhere). What about you? Where do you fall in terms of “Biblical Beauty” vs. “Worldly Beauty”? If you’re like most of the female population you could use a little “GQ” spirit (gentle and quiet). Would you be willing to make that your prayer too?

4. On page 217 Anne asks us, “Who is your Sarah?” Is there someone in your life who’s been so very dear to you, someone you’ve shared a lotta life with and now they’re gone? Perhaps you’ve lost them to death. Maybe they’ve only just moved away, or maybe is a relationship that’s broken up, but you’re grieving and mourning the loss just the same. How have you grieved and dealt with the loss? What does 1 Thessalonians 4:13 tell us? Turn Paul’s exhortation around to a positive statement. What do you think it means to grieve as those who have “hope”?

5. Do you live with a “KYF” attitude? A “Keep Your Fork” perspective? (See page 217-218). Or are you, as my husband refers to them, one of the “TLO” folks—living for “This Life Only”? Do you believe the best if truly yet to come? Let’s talk about what it’s going to be like where we’re going one day! Discuss our eternal heavenly home in your small group or jump on the blog and share your thoughts! What will it look like? Will we work, play, drive cars… ? If you have any Scripture to back up your thoughts share that as well.

6. Take some time do as Anne suggests on page 222 and “examine your life”. Look at your calendar, your checkbook, and charge card bills. Those things have a good way of revealing to us what we’re living for. Let’s look at it another way: If a reporter from CNN or Fox News were to follow you around for 7 straight days, day and night, what would he find to be the thing or things that you are living for? What would he write about you?

The things that will last after we are dead and gone are the things we do for Christ. ONLY the things we do for Christ. People are focused in one of two directions: Eternity or Earthly. Sisters- this earth is burning up (feels like it literally in the great hot state of Texas), and along with it anything that is not done for Christ. So… what things will last? Forever? 1) God’s Truth; 2) People. That’s it. Not card games or golf games, not clubs, not fundraisers that get your picture in the paper, not names on buildings, not universities or even church buildings… nope. Only what is done for Christ and the sake of the Gospel and the building of God’s Kingdome… will last forever. The rest ends up in the ash heap of all ash heaps. Just sayin.

As my pastor said this morning, “If you don’t have time to do what Jesus did then you are just too busy. If you don’t have the time to spend with at least ONE PERSON each week, intentionally investing in their lives and helping them to grow up in the faith… then YOU ARE TOO BUSY. Period.”

Uh, yep. OK… discuss. What are you doing in your life that matters to God?

For Personal Prayer & Reflection:

Mourn Everything Hopefully~
Forgiveness: It puts you in right standing with God. Get’s the vertical in proper alignment so that the horizontal works right. Anne brings up an excellent point on page 220, last paragraph, “…don’t talk to God in generalities. Be specific. Ask God to forgive you. He promises He will. Then you must- it’s not an option, you must- forgive yourself.” Some of us walk around with tremendous guilt or tremendous bitterness simply because we have not been specific with what we need forgiveness for or what we need to give forgiveness for. I’ve often said that when we’re not specific, it’s like throwing a big blanket of forgiveness on everything and it all gets covered up but we don’t know what’s underneath. What do I mean by being specific? Tell God what you did, what it caused, why you’re asking for forgiveness, what you learned, and end with why you know you are now forgiven… and that you forgive yourself. In the same way, tell God what someone else did to you, name the person, what happened, how it made you feel, what it caused and why you’re forgiving them. Be as specific as you can… and thank Him for His mercy and grace that enable you to forgive, to be forgiven and to walk free of guilt and bitterness.