Grace to Listen

Seven years ago, the wife of a beloved professor asked if I would want to read the Bible with her and some other girls that were in the same degree program as I. I think I concealed how abundantly excited I was, seeing as I was going to be a sophomore in college and needed to be “cool,” but I could not have been more thrilled to join in with others in this book that I could not understand for the life of me. I had no tools, no help, and most times, no want, but desperately desired to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Her invitation to me was a lifeline, until I heard what book of the Bible we’d be studying.

At that time in my walk, Psalms or maybe one of the super practical Epistles would have been my first choice, but she chose Deuteronomy. I was going to fall flat on my face regularly as the know-it-all would be asking more questions, confused regularly through these sermons of Moses, hoping to find some potent inspiration so that I would miraculously be changed overnight. By the grace of God, digging in with these women seeking to eat up the words of life provided a feast that I still am chewing on to this day. My three days at the TGC Conference walking through the book of Deuteronomy brought me back to those nights sitting on a beige couch, snuggled up with throw pillows and tea, while we talked together about what we were learning about God and God’s people until our gracious Mrs. fell asleep under the giant plush red blanket. God’s Words that never fail to return void, using the mundane faithfulness of His disciple, and the Spirit that has circumcised this heart, has birthed fruit that continues to blossom and bloom to this day. That’s a testimony.

The beauty of what I heard each session during the conference is that every word wasn’t this sexy, new thing, but a exhortation to hear, remember, and go forth with what has always been there: God and His Words. The call was to listen and live.

Every word of God is true and good, but not only that, none of them ever grow stale. The practice of asking God for a “fresh word,” a new truth personalized for us, has grown more and more popular. I don’t think any of us would argue that we have adored and adhered to the ancient words thoroughly enough that a request for new ones could be credible. Faced with uncertainty or difficulty, or just spiritual malaise, my perception is that it would feel better if the words were meant strictly for me and my circumstance. But it is not new truths we need; we need old truths recently forgotten. It is not personal truths we need, but rather shared truth preserved and passed down from one believing generation to the next, personalized to us in our current day. That shared truth is available within the pages of God’s Word to me and to all who believe.
— Jen Wilkin, In His Image

Together with eight thousand women, each of us in our respective home churches, were given a bold reminder to stay the course, to repent and return.  

As four of us packed into a hotel room in different seasons and stages of life sharing our stories as well as our snacks, we all could land on one thing: there is so much grace given that we may love God all the more. There is so much grace given that we can even hear His voice, read His Words, provided as much as we need to know and adore Him. There is so much grace given that we can move forward, stumbling, crawling, misstep after misstep, and yet, He loves us.

For it is no empty word for you, but your very life.

The Scriptures are always pointing to Jesus Christ, the perfect mediator, teacher, sacrifice, the Word that gives us abundant life. We are seized by this love, although we, also fallible and constantly needing these truths to speak above the many lies and golden calves we adopt instead, but God pursues us to the very end. As these past few days provided a steroid shot granting fresh eyes, may they not glaze over, but look up, and believe.