Joni Eareckson Tada shared her testimony and some of the work of God in her life in the last 47 years. She was paralyzed in a diving accident at the age of 17. She shared the realities and struggles of living with paralysis, chronic pain, and cancer, yet her unswerving confidence in God’s sovereignty and goodness overflowed as she spoke. A couple quotes that stood out to me were these:
"God does not remove hardships. No, He pushes them my way to reveal the spitefulness and selfishness within me."
"Suffering is the textbook that will teach you who you really are."
Mary Kassian spoke from 2 Timothy 3:6-7. I’ve never thought that deeply about that particular passage; so many things about it were striking. The main thing I was reminded of is how sin creeps in so deceptively. I need to fight hard against even seemingly small sins, to immerse myself in the truth of God’s Word, and to not cater to my flesh. Failing to deal with sin allows others sins to pile up. Sin is such a serious matter, yet it’s tempting to make light of it. I daily need to be reminded of what the penalty Christ had to pay for my sins.
I was reminded through this conference that I so easily get caught up in wanting circumstances or situations to change. But as Nancy DeMoss said, “Anything that makes me need God is a blessing.” He wants to use my circumstances to draw me closer to Him, to reveal the sin and selfishness in my own heart, to break me of my idols, to uncover the wrong desires and motivations. He wants to change me! If I would only remember that the deepest work needed is not outside of me, but in me. And what a blessing it is that the trials and difficulties I've faced have been some of the sweetest times of fellowship with Christ, as He has refined and changed my heart.
I’m so thankful for the grace of God and His goodness in the midst of great earthly difficulty. The testimonies I heard through the True Woman conference expressed much greater difficulty than I’ve ever faced, and yet the hope they have in God is unshakable. My heart longs to say, “Yes Lord” to whatever I may face, knowing that it could mean great difficulty, persecution, trials, and suffering. But He is enough, and His ways are best. I can consider any circumstance or trial pure joy, knowing that the testing of my faith is developing the character that God needs to develop in my life.