There are a myriad of things that can wake you up in the middle of the night. A crying baby. An upset stomach. A snoring spouse. Too hot. Too cold. A troubled heart. A spinning mind.
Several of those things plagued me one night. As heat, humidity, and my husband’s rolling snores awakened me, my mind began to spin, thinking of many friends and family members with difficult, painful, and complicated circumstances. I began to pray, as I often do when I wake up in the middle of the night, since very often I think God uses trivial annoyances to compel me to prayer.
As I prayed for people and circumstances, I also prayed for wisdom and words to speak into those lives and circumstances. And with the candor and simplicity that 3 a.m. brings, the wisdom and words all culminated in this phrase:
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake.
As I prayed for people steeped in illness, heartache, weariness, desperation, confusion, and sin, I began to recognize that as the culminating purpose and motivation for every person and circumstance. I also realized as I prayed for those people—most of them women—and their circumstances, that phrase I kept coming back to is the essence of the closing of Titus 2:5 and 10:
That the word of God may not be reviled . . . so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
These are some of the results of my very early morning prayer and meditation on God’s Word.
For the Woman Betrayed and Burdened with the Consequences
I know the hurt goes deep. I see the results of that betrayal, and they are overwhelming. I know you need practical help to take the next steps. I know you need the comfort and understanding only Christ can truly give. I know you’d rather give up and demand apologies, repentance, and vindication for all you’ve endured. Why should you continue to endure? Why should you forgive?
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake. As you take each step to move through this betrayal, know that your obedient steps put Christ on display. As you talk about and explain all this to others in your life, you can share the truth you are clinging to from Scripture. You’ll show there is no other way you could act or speak in these ways without God and His Word.
For the Woman Filled with Disease
Your physical body is under siege, and there are physical, mental, and emotional effects of that siege. Day-to-day life is difficult at best. Weariness and worry seek to be your constant companions. How can you continue like this? Why has God allowed it all?
Because displaying and spreading His Word is at stake. As you go through all manner of medical care, you are displaying the strength God gives you. As you talk to friends, answer questions from doctors and nurses, and explain each step of this journey to your children, you have the opportunity to share truth from God’s Word that you might not have been able to share in any other way.
For the Woman Deeply Concerned for a Family Member
I know your heart is heavy with real, founded concern for this one you love. I know that hope for the drastic change of heart and behavior that is needed is dim. Why continue to pray for and love this family member? Why should you continue to present truth and God’s ways?
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake. While you don’t know what this person’s response to truth and love will be, you can know for certain that you are equipped with that truth and love by your Almighty Father and you must share them. I’m praying for you to be encouraged and enabled by the Holy Spirit as you walk this difficult path.
For the Woman Who Has Given Up on the Church
I know you have been hurt by people and situations within your church family. I know that faithfully and consistently pursuing involvement and relationships within the church takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. So why should you try? Why isn’t it enough to just believe?
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake. You will not be built up to fullness in Christ without the teaching, encouragement, and exhortation of the local church. You will miss out on opportunities for growth in, proclamation, and practice of God’s Word without regularly joining together with other believers. God and His Word are worth the sacrifice and complications.
For the Woman Gossiping and Slandering
Do you know that when I hear your biting words or see the results of your careless, self-centered speech, I pray for you? While I war against my flesh that wants to, quite frankly, shove your sin in front of your face and demand you confess, I am quickly brought to my knees in humility realizing the ugliness and reality of my own sin. I repent of my own tendencies to do some of the same things I see you doing. But do not miss this exhortation to look at your heart and the words that are coming up out of it! Why would I risk uncomfortable confrontation? Why should you recognize and repent of this slander?
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake. When you speak these words that harm and dishonor others, and when you seek to elevate yourself, you contradict the faith you confess. But forgiveness and restoration are offered to you through Christ. Repentance will not only change your heart, mind, and words, but it could also be the means of repentance and salvation for others.
For the Confused and Searching Woman
We are inundated with information and all kinds of possible truths every day, and you are weighed down by it all. Nothing seems clear or certain. You doubt there is absolute truth. You don’t believe that God could have love, mercy, justice, and authority all at the same time. Why should I strive to tell you God’s answers to these things? Why should I even have a relationship or conversation with you?
Because displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake. I am not seeking to prove to you that I am right. Rather I’m striving to show you the proof in God’s Word, His creation, and His character that He IS. He establishes and orders all things and shows His love in giving us both the Savior we desperately need and a way to live in response. I am for you, and my heart’s desire is that you would believe and follow God.
While there are “other” women and circumstances you might be praying for, I am certain that you either are or know women and circumstances like these. Will you continue to pray? Will you continue to pursue relationships with love and truth? Will you seek whatever repentance, obedience, or action Christ is calling you to right now? Displaying and spreading God’s Word is at stake . . . and God is worth it all.