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Bible Study Guide for Sunday February 7, 2021

February 4, 2021
  • Isaiah 40:21-41

  • Psalm 147:1-12, 21c

  • 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

  • Mark 1:29-39

This week’s reading from Mark shows us Jesus at his most powerful. Jesus heals the sick and casts out demons. Mark also shows us a Jesus who wants to conceal his full identity and seeks to keep his own counsel and pray in private. This calls to mind those times in life when God feels distant from us or those times when we are sure God could just fix things if God really wanted to. Hasn’t Isaiah spelled it out for us? God’s power is supreme. Take action God!

However, we know from the Crucifixion that God isn’t actually at his most powerful when performing mighty acts, but when displaying weakness. The true power of God is that God is strong, yet chooses to be vulnerable and in relationship with us.

In his book The Suffering of God, Terence Freitheim argues that God desires relationship with each of us above all else. The trouble is true relationship involves a certain equality. God can’t just show up and fix everything for us or constantly overwhelm us with divine power and authority. That would just be God micromanaging us. God has to give us our space to be independent and make mistakes. This creates room for human suffering and sin. Obviously, this suffering is not what God wants for us, and God suffers alongside us and for us.

God humbling the divine self to be in relationship with us and God’s willingness to meet us as we are, not as God would necessarily like us to be is an idea similar to Paul’s words in Corinthians. Paul is willing to be all things to all people “for the sake of the Gospel.” Perhaps in our own lives we can reflect on how we can meet people where they are as God and Paul do. Or, in our spiritual lives, it could mean humbling ourselves by praying in silence and seeing how God moves our heart and soul rather than trying to move God through our prayers.

  • Where does God seem to be missing in your life or in the world right now?

  • Have you ever wanted God to micromanage your life?

  • Have you evert felt you needed some space from God?

Author: Ryan Newberry


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