I spent last weekend at a collegiate women's retreat, I was speaking on Sunday morning and leading the prayer time. It was an honor and a big challenge. The theme was about trials, suffering and temptations. There were several older women invited to speak, ranging from a single woman pursuing her doctorate, to a busy young mom of two, to a mom who has been married 33 years. Saturday night, older women from our church brought food for dinner and were available to hang out and get to know the college girls. I was also part of a discussion panel later that evening made up of the guest speakers and four men--a couple of young fathers, a middle-aged dad also a grandpa and then Tom, in his late 60's. We fielded questions from the college women, which ended up mostly about sexual purity.
Which was really, the underlying theme of almost everything.
In preparing for a couple of weeks, I had a feeling for which direction I wanted to go in my sharing for Sunday morning, but the question was how deeply I needed to go. How much vulnerability was necessary? Along the way, I've learned to draw boundaries in what is appropriate to share and what isn't and now I found myself confused.
By Saturday night, I found what the girls needed to hear and from the cues from the other wonderful speakers, I knew that I had to go a little further than I had planned to. Carol, who had earlier shared an excellent and moving testimony about God helping her in her marriage, came up to my room to pray with me on Saturday night to help me prepare for the next morning. By that time, my fuzziness had turned into a resolved focus. It wasn't necessary to make myself into some kind of spiritual hero. But it was essential to glorify God for His rescue of this weak and meager sinner. Carol agreed with me that if we older women of the church didn't share the hard stuff, who will? It's a big tough hungry world out there.
Usually, in the last year or so of sharing a testimony, I have it nailed down and rehearsed for a month before having to present it. That time, I wrote it fully in a few hours, which included my plan for prayer time. And I wasn't nervous at all. I was eager to proclaim the excellencies of our Lord, who is faithful and good to me and came to my aid as I suffered big temptations in some really weak moments. That Hebrews 2:18 is true, true, and true.
Commentary on Hebrews 2 by Matthew Henry:
The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this
atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear
of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made
it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom