Renewed by the Word
Today I finished doing my homework in the Sermon on the Mount for the women’s Bible study. I probably say this every year at the end of our study, no matter what part of Scripture we have studied, but this has been a life-changing study. Or maybe a heart-changing study is a better way to put it.
This week has been hard. I have been deeply sad and unable to pull myself out of the cycle of selfish thoughts leading to self-pity leading to tears spinning around and around. The burdens of this year seem to have piled up to an extent that when one more hard thing came, I simply fell apart. I was listening to myself instead of talking to myself.
But I had work to do in the Sermon for the next Bible study. I sat down to it and as I read and studied my way through the last verses of Matthew 7, the Lord began to bring peace. That peace that passes understanding. I didn’t ask for it. I am not even sure I wanted it – self-pity feels so good and is easier than looking outside of myself for relief. But He did it. It wasn’t a particular verse, or command, or promise that did it. I think it was simply being in His Word, letting it occupy my thoughts, driving out the hopelessness, the selfishness, the pride. I’m still sad, but not without hope.
Maybe it was this passage that can help explain what happened:
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The gate is narrow and the way is hard. That’s how this week has felt. But when I wasn’t looking for it, our God took me by the hand and showed me that He is with me as I walk the narrow way. I am still sad, but His presence is real. There is comfort and peace that is real, and God was gracious to extend it when I was not even looking for it.
Then today I read this:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
I have gotten a taste of what it is like to have my house built on the rock, not the sand. And I am thankful that my house is standing firm, though it still feels wobbly at times. I will end with these verses from Psalm 19 which have been proven so true in my life this week.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes...
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward
Psalm 19:7,8; 10,11
Great reward indeed. Peace. Hope. Future joy.