My devotions throughout Lent took me through the books of Leviticus and then Hebrews. What a great pairing! After I’d read about all the laws, prophets and the Old Testament rules of life, I went to the incomparable riches I have in Christ Jesus as described by the writer of Hebrews. Jesus Christ stands superior to angels, Moses, any earthly high priest, and to the Old Covenant. “For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Heb 2: 2-3 NIV)
Several phrases at the end of Hebrews struck me hard. “A heart strengthened by grace,” reminded me of 14 amazing women who attended Houghton College with me. In 2011, our annual gathering was planned for our log cabin and the log cabin a neighbor allowed me to “borrow” for the weekend. Just before the DIVAS (Divinely Inspired Vivacious, Affectionate Sisterhood) arrived, I entered the emergency room at Mon General in Morgantown, WV. The women arrived at Thursday; I came once released at noon on Saturday. Disappointed by the anticipation of our gathering, confused about my diagnosis, and aggravated that I’d missed so much of the weekend, I found my sisters there, hugging me, and assuring me that all had gone well and they were thankful I’d gotten home for the last few hours together.
There I was, surrounded by God’s love, embodied in these women I first met in the mid 1960s. My dear husband had prepared the fire pit for an evening of s’mores outside and worship in the basement later. Letha had purchased small teddy bears throughout the year, and Susan had given each bear a personalized name necklace for each Diva. Our worship centered around bearing one another’s burdens.
Right then I knew what a heart strengthened by grace looked like, for the Lord of all mercy lifted my eyes to Himself; I relaxed, took a deep breath of contentment, and knew His strength in the coming days in very practical ways.
We will gather together again this year, so longer the 18-year-olds sovereignly brought together at Houghton College, but as the women of prayer and affection who have experienced decades of knowing Christ gives us a heart strengthened by grace.