Tonight wraps up what has been quite possibly the best Bible study journey of my life. For the past eleven weeks, I have worked my way, verse-by-verse, through the book of Ephesians with some mighty women of faith. Technically, I have been the teacher, but to be honest, much of this journey has been learning for me. God gave me a message to share, but I have gleaned so much from the position of a student.
As I’ve watched God’s Word transform lives right before my very eyes, I have been repeatedly amazed at the God who is able to do immeasurably more. You know what I mean? We are taught to believe that God is who He says He is, and yet we still find ourselves awe-struck when He does what He says He can do in our lives. Why weren’t we expecting it, right? I don’t know if I’ll ever learn, but let me tell you, this teacher has been humbled time and again by the faith of my students throughout this journey.
While I’ve passionately imparted hard truths from God’s infallible Word, I’ve watched women lay down their pride and choose to submit to their husbands. While I’ve delivered messages from some of the most convicting portions of Scripture, I’ve watched women respond in repentance over their sins. I’ve listened to women share their stories of nearly failed marriages being resurrected back to life by the grace of God and their willingness to cooperate with Him. First-time Bible study students have fallen head over heels in love with Jesus Christ. Veterans of the faith have waded even deeper into the waters of trust, surrender, and obedience.
And I’m amazed.
I’m amazed that God would use someone like me. While that statement might shock you, I am fully aware of my countless shortcomings. I’m painfully human and far too prone to wander. Faith is not always my natural default. Fear still holds me in its relentless shackles more often than I’d like to admit. I struggle with patience. I lack mercy. And the list could go on.
There have been so many times throughout this journey when my faith was tested. There were times when I came home after a night of teaching feeling like such a failure. (INSERT: PRAY for your teachers, your pastors, your spiritual leaders. They are continually under attack from the Enemy.) There were times when I doubted myself and my abilities just as you probably do. But then, I would receive an email from one of you. Or you would show up to class early, and you’d share with me what God was doing in your marriage. Or you would stick a hand-written card in my bag when I wasn’t looking, filled with words of encouragement. Or you’d courageously share about your own faith struggle through tears, welcoming myself and others into the painful places in your heart, allowing us to come alongside of you in prayer.
Your faith lived out in these ways was strength to me when my faith seemed so frail and weak at times. Your presence each week in class and your participation in discussion and your willingness to pray out loud, even if when it frightened you, repeatedly redirected my gaze back to Christ.
Because a flame only needs a spark to set it ablaze.
Thank you. Thank you for loving Jesus well. Thank you for thirsting after His Word. Thank you for prioritizing fellowship. Thank you for spurring this fellow Ragamuffin on towards love and good deeds.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25