* Hope was a dream, and reaching for it turned her life into an unbearable nightmare.
It's as if we can bear what we know... but not what might be...because it also might turn out not to be.
Have you ever been in a place of utter hopelessness? If so...what pulled you out?
Or have you ever ministered to a person who is in that place? Do words suffice/ What words?
* While in her room...begging her to leave with him...Michael asks Angel... "What's keeping you here?"
"I like it." is the reply he gets.
Angel does not like it. We know that she does not.
Why do we stay in situations that are bad for us? That are hurting us? That we hate? Why do we not take the way out that the Lord provides?
*And the next time he prayed for God to send him a woman to share his life, he would be a lot more specific about the kind he wanted.
Think of a time (or 100x) you got what you needed rather than what you asked for.
I'm pretty sure we all have...but can you think of a specific time that you treated God as a genie in a bottle? Like a Buddha...who's belly you rub to get what you want.
Originating in China as Budai, the Laughing Buddha statue depicts a Chinese deity from pre-Buddhist folklore. This deity is referred to as Hotei in Japan, and considered one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Shichi Fukujin, with Hotei being the lucky god of happiness and abundance – thus his fat, smiling appearance.
* She smoothed the flowing red silk of her lounging gown. It did little to conceal the rolls of flesh gathering around her waist. Her cheeks were puffy and she was developing a second chin. A pink ribbon held her graying hair back. She was obscene.
She was obscene brought images of female televangelists to my mind. Then as I went deeper...I wondered if those in terrible situations...maybe the homeless...those in 3rd world countries...those living in slums......foster kids...those in orphanages....ever think of us as obscene. Me as obscene? It's not exactly the same....but is it ever somewhat the same?
* "I don't see what good will come of it, but I'll go back, Lord. I don't like it much, but I'll do what you want." When he finally went back to bed, he slept deeply and without dreaming for the first time in days.
Obedience brought Michael rest. Think back to a time in your own life when obedience brought immediate relief. Why do you think we forget this? Doesn't it seem so foolish to think that we forget this and yet we do.
* Angel, she never asks for nothing."
Sometimes when we are so disappointed we stop asking for what we long for. Have you ever been at a place with the Lord...where you stopped asking Him for what your heart longed for?
The good news is that He knows our hearts...better than we know them.
* "When you're living out there in your cabin with the climbing roses all around, think about me once in a while, will you? Remember your old friend, Lucky."
I have a thought on this one. It's that hope begets hope. Hope is contagious.
* But she had never had this silence, this quiet that rang in her ears.
In wisdom...Michael allows Angel to be by herself. Quiet. Still. Alone.
Have you ever had an extended period of silence? No conversation. No t.v. No computer. No busyness? No distraction?
Does it sound wonderful or frightening? If it sounds frightening...why does it?
*Why are you tearing up your garden?" Michael glanced up at her tone. Her face was white and drawn. He straightened and brushed his hands on his pants. "I'm pulling up weeds. They're choking everything else. I haven't had time to work out here. One of the things I'll ask of you is tending the garden. When you're ready."
Michael does not know of Angel's history with gardens.
Isn't it exactly like the Lord to bring us to the very thing we are afraid of...and walk us through it? Has he ever made you face a very specific fear and met you there?
*She was so tightly wrapped in herself, her own misery and dark thoughts, that she was blind to everything else.
Been there. Done that. You too, I bet.
What are some ways that we can help others when they are in this very place?
Let's have Chapters 11-17 read by next Friday...Feb 7th.