Guest Post: Alisha Overby

   I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to a very dear friend of mine, Alisha Overby.  Over the years, we’ve experienced quite an array of life “stuff” together.  We were even weight-lifting buddies. She has been one of THE most encouraging people to watch grow.  God has moved in her life in some incredible ways. 
     Alisha is a student at the University of North Dakota studying English and she is a full-time intern with a Christian student ministry.  She is gifted in communicating, as you will see in this blog.  Alisha is also gifted in making me laugh and serenading me (and others) on the guitar.  For me, she has a way of “making sense”of things.  When Alisha commented on my previous blog, I was touched by the TRUTH in her words and wanted to share them with you.  So without further ado…

“Vulnerability is not usually fun (at least not at first), especially for those of us who are more introverted, you are correct there. I feel like I maybe have a unique perspective, being 55% introverted and 45% extraverted (whatever that means exactly). Here’s the deal, people do hurt us. I have been hurt by people who should not have hurt me. I should have been safe being vulnerable but I found out through much pain that I was not. I have also been hurt by people I should not have been vulnerable with, people I should not have trusted.

It’s a battle inside of me. I so intensely desire to be known, but how can someone REALLY know me unless they know all, both good and bad? Pushing back on this desire is a desire for comfort and security. It often feels that I must make a choice between one or the other, but consider this: what if I could be perfectly known without any risk of harm? Would this not bring the most secure feeling possible? To be known without fear. This is what Jesus offers us. Even beyond this, because he WANTS to know us and love us for all we are, he gives us Significance. These are three deep desires all people have: relationship (to be known), significance and security. Is it any surprise that the perfect place to find this is in our Savior, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe who cares enough to DIE so that he could know us AND love us. I can’t get over this….

Part of the deep hurt I experienced from people was due to me putting all my eggs in one basket. I felt as though I NEEDED them to know and tell me I was ok so that I could actually be ok. So when they “let me down,” I was devastated. I had a right to be sad, to mourn this break in trust and loss of relationship, but my utter despair was indicative of me placing them as idols.

Only at the Cross can I be CERTAIN of Relationship, Significance and Security.”

What I love about the readers of this blog are the different backgrounds, perspectives, and belief-systems they bring.  I’d love to hear what your thoughts are!

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12 thoughts on “Guest Post: Alisha Overby”

  1. Alisha, you invited thoughts from people of different belief-systems, so I’ll respond. I’m a former Christian, now a skeptic, but I’m also a guest here so I’ll try to be polite. :)

    You said that Jesus offers to know us perfectly “without risk of harm.” This leads the skeptic in me to ask about Job.

    The Bible says that God knew Job well — knew he was blameless, in fact — and precisely for that reason God enticed Satan to harm him. Just to win a bet with Satan, God allowed every possible harm to come to Job, including the loss of his wealth, the torture of his body, the approbation of his friends, and even the death of his children.

    You could argue that the story has a happy ending because after all the calamity God restored Job’s fortunes, but it would be callous in the extreme to tell Job, “The deaths of your 10 children don’t matter. God gave you new ones.” Oh, and the physical pain? It’s over now, so it doesn’t count, either.

    You could also argue that God did not carry out the harm himself, but instead goaded Satan into doing the dirty work. Surely that is a distinction without a difference.

    So, it is simply not true to say that God knew Job without harming him. If we are going to argue that God did not really harm Job, then I don’t know what harm looks like.

    You mention only Jesus in your article, but I brought God the Father into the picture because I assume that you believe Jesus and the Father are One. That means Jesus, ever at the Father’s right hand, was nodding in approval as God goaded Satan into killing Job’s family.

    (He was also smiling at God’s righteousness when God ordered 32,000 virgins to be distributed as the plunder of war in Numbers 31, and when God ordered a man be stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath in Numbers 15, and when God personally burned people alive just because they were complaining in Numbers 11, and when God announced that he would cause David’s wives to be publicly raped in 2 Samuel 12 as punishment not for their sins but for David’s. I could go on but I feel myself getting carried away so I’ll just close with my question for you.)

    What would God have to do BEYOND what he did to Job, in order for you to say that God DOES sometimes harm us? If there is literally nothing he could do that you would interpret as harm, then to say that he will not harm us becomes a meaningless statement. See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/antony_flew/theologyandfalsification.html

    1. In the context of what Alisha is saying, we can make ourselves completely known to God without any risk or harm from God based on that knowing. Yes, God knew Job but did not harm him. If Satan harmed Job, it’s irrelevant whether or not God enticed him; the fact still remains God himself did not harm Job no matter how you want to slice it. Job’s children died for their own sins, the specifics of which are not recorded (Job 1:5). Job was inflicted because Satan afflicted him (Job 2:7). Simple because God allows something to happen in no way means that he caused it. Scripture does not record nodding in approval at what Satan did nor does it record God goading Satan to kill Job’s family.

      Scripture does not record Satan’s presence at the event mentioned in Num 31; the notion that Satan was smiling is pure speculation. You are also assuming that God’s mercy on the 32k Median women was somehow unjust. I would venture to say that you are also assuming that their purpose hence forth was of a forced sexual nature and/ or life of cruel slavery (I’ve read you article on it and am researching it further). This last assumption ignores other commandments in Torah on human rights.

      The man who was stoned was stoned because he explicitly in rebellious defiance disobeyed God’s commandment. The sentenced carried out was specific to this individual and did not extend nor was meant to be applied in similar cases.

      God didn’t burn the people in the wilderness simply for complaining. Number one, this is a prophesy of what will happen, after Jesus returns, to those who rebel against God and think that they can somehow wage war against him and possible win (Num 10:36, Rev 20:7-15). Secondly, their complaining wasn’t simply an expression of dissatisfaction. Anan (אנן) is a complaining produced out of idleness not much different than the way people on welfare whine that what they are given isn’t good enough when in reality is more than they deserve. Photographically, it means ‘strong seed’ or lust. These people wanted more than a free lunch. Despite what the English says, nobody was burnt with fire. In v. 1, ‘them that were’ is added and not in the Hebrew text. ‘uttermost parts’ is qatz (קץ) and literally means the end; it is the far extremity or edge. What the first few verses are saying is that anger of God was poised to consume them but Moses, a type of the Messiah, interceded on their behalf and God’s anger was turned away. None the less, the people still went on to request meat.

      God never said that he would cause David’s wives to be raped in any capacity in 2 Sam 12. David committed adultery; God was saying that, in turn, David’s wives would commit adultery and it wouldn’t be a secret.

      God will not harm us, in the context of Alisha’s statement, simply because he loves us. This has nothing to do with his ability to harm us and does not mean bad things won’t happen to us. The Theology of Falsification uses case examples as its premise to make an argument. Case examples hold no bearing on truth or reality though they may contain elements of both. Anything can be justified or condemned by comparison. Furthermore, case examples are relative. We can learn things from them but they are not a reliable foundation upon which to base our thinking.

      The long and short of it is God will not betray those who are his. We are subject to entropy until the earth is restored and the corruption is removed. The most important thing is relationship. Job had a relationship with God. Despite everything that happened, he trusted in the LORD and did not betray him. At the end of the story, we are shown the intimacy God and Job had. It’s all about relationship.

      1. Thank you for your thorough reply, Joshua. Because I want to respect the positive, cheerful tone of this blog, I will refrain from arguing here. My hope — and I imagine yours as well — is that our exchange will motivate our readers to dig into the scriptures and decide for themselves what they say and teach.

        I do want to correct one misunderstanding, though. In response to my remark about smiling, you said, “Scripture does not record Satan’s presence at the event mentioned in Num 31; the notion that Satan was smiling is pure speculation.” I did not mean to say that Satan was present or smiling; I was referring to JESUS!! I thought my antecedent was clear based on the preceding paragraph, but I see now that my use of “He” was confusing. Jesus’ presence at these troubling OT events is a point I made at more length the end of my post about Jesus and slavery: http://pathofthebeagle.com/2011/10/20/what-did-jesus-say-about-slavery/ If you (or anyone) want to continue the discussion on that topic, I invite you to comment there.

    2. For me, there is no separating *this life* from the spiritual/eternal life. Because (from my understanding) satan rules over the unbelieving word, there are many things that happen that are not the will of God. Therefore, I cannot rightfully accuse God of tragedies that come my way in *this life.* Because I believe and have faith in the promise that God does not and will not abandon me, regardless of what this world bring me, I cannot even answer what being abandoned by God would look like. Maybe it would look like my life did before I had the presence with God ever with me, which was filled with the utmost confusion, fear, and hopelessness in the face of tragedy?…

      1. Thanks for your answer, Katy. You’ve uncovered a topic that deserves it own thorough discussion, namely the role and power of Satan versus God in this world. Maybe that’s a good topic for another post! (Another one of *your* posts, I mean, not mine. I wouldn’t know where to begin!)

    3. I think you’re probably right. I’ll definitely have to do some more research and reflection before I tackle that topic! Although, I do like to share while I’m in the process of discovering, so it may have to be an ongoing topic. We’ll see. I really appreciate the time and thought you put into your comments, The Beagle, and like being challenged. It reminds me of the importance of asking questions, searching for answers, and not blindly accepting something as truth. And although we may disagree in some aspects, I feel respected by you.

      1. The Beagle, the more I’ve thought about it, I realize that I really can’t answer what would be “worse” than what happened to Job, because we already disagree on the foundation you are asking that ? on. You believe that Job’s situation was caused by God. I do not.

        Does that make sense?

  2. It is true that God (the father, the son, and the holy spirit) allows satan to “sift” us but he intends it to be used to refine us, to remove something (thoughts, people, idols, actions) from our life in order to surrender all control to Him. God is love and I can’t imagine the pain he feels when He sees His children hurting but He doesn’t intend it for evil but for good.To atone for ALL sin He sent HIS own son to die on the cross to save us while we were still sinners. He could have saved His Son at anytime but in order to carry out His plan for man kind He had to allow His Son to be beaten and murdered. Jesus was and is perfect and Jesus doesn’t just sit there and nod His head when people are hurting. I can imagine Him weeping in pain along with God. But They know that this pain has purpose and that purpose is unknown to humans. I can’t wait to be in heaven and talk with God about the purpose of some of the pain I’ve gone through. But to answer your question God never himself harms us but He does allow bad things to happen but He is there the whole time and He gives us strength but we need to lean on Him.

  3. Tiffany, I once believed as you do but I find that is no longer possible. As I said to Joshua, I don’t want to pollute this very up-beat blog with more argument than necessary so I won’t go into why I changed my mind.

    I wish you every possible happiness. Take care.

  4. I appreciate reading what you’ve all had to say, and will continue to check out more discussion on your blog, The Beagle. I’ve been doing more research, as well, based on some of the questions you presented. Although I don’t study Hebrew, like Joshua.

    In my head, I’m always thankful for the honest push-back on this blog, but often forget to comment and say what I’m thinking in my head! ha. So thanks!

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