Below is a reflection from Kate Roberts, a member of Seven Mile Road.
Two months ago I got to sit with a roomful of women dedicated to studying God’s Word together at 7 Mile Road’s first Women of the Word mini-retreat. It was a precious and powerful thing.
Studying God’s Word…
We ran full-speed into Habakkuk 1. This is hard material. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” I learned more than I ever expected to learn in a few hours of listening and discussion.
I learned that God invites us to be honest about our struggles to understand what He is doing–but there’s more to this relationship than just ‘giving Him a piece of my mind.’ This is not a one-way relationship. Habakkuk’s cry is not a ‘rant.’ When I come honestly with questions and complaints to God, I don’t come to an unknown entity or an impersonal force. I come to a God who has told me who He is. It’s right there in His Word. And He is worthy of reverence and of open ears. I am to come to Him declaring who He’s said He is, and I am to come ready to stay. To wait. To listen. To hear.
I learned that when God seems distant or silent, He is working. And He’s not always doing what I wish He were doing. Could there be a more vivid example of this than His raising up a vicious, arrogant army against His chosen people? (Come to the next mini-retreat if you’re curious about why He’d do this, and what happens next.) It’s not over till eternity; we never get to say that someone’s story is over in this life. We never get to negate God’s goodness, no matter how dark the clouds of providence appear.
I was reminded that it’s incredibly gracious of God to answer at all when we ask ‘How long?’ And that we who have the privilege of knowing the crucified and risen One have received the ultimate answer. The answer that prophets like Habakkuk longed for, dreamed of, and waited for for centuries. A hope imperishable and unfading, a promise of every tear wiped away. We know the Savior who makes this possible. What a hope. What a promise.
I got to hear all of this from women who’ve given themselves diligently to the study of God’s Word.
The best part of that is, I got to hear it from God’s Word! There’s no substitute for walking into the Word itself and seeing these truths illuminated around you, alive in the context where God’s placed them. These aren’t just abstract ideas or some speaker’s ‘five helpful points for daily living’–we got to hear Habakkuk’s pained voice and God’s authoritative, personal and terrifying answers; we caught the vision of looming armies gathering nations in their nets, and vigilant watchmen waiting on city walls.
And I got to hear it together with dozens of other women. Every one of us walked in with suffering either imprinted on our memories, heavy in the lives of loved ones, or filling the air we breathe right now. We needed reality as harsh as Habakkuk’s because we need a God who is sovereign over that reality. We sang to Him together. We heard about Him together. We shared some of our stories and questions with one another in discussion time. We came to Him in prayer.
I needed the Body of Christ to help me understand what God is saying in Habakkuk. And now I need the Body of Christ to help me apply what I’ve learned. For these reasons, I am grateful for this whole Women of the Word idea.
Women gathered to receive and submit to the Word of God together: This changes us. This brings Him glory. What a profoundly beautiful Saturday morning.
How can you miss the next one? Don’t do it! Also: There was very tasty food. Just saying. These women know how to put stuff together.
Thank you, 7 Mile leaders, for getting this started. Thank you, women of 7 Mile, for making it real. Grateful to be becoming a woman of the Word with you.