By Jason Covington
When we drove to our sister church in Frisco, TX for the “Men of the Word” conference in February, we did all the guy things. We threw hatchets and I almost cut off my toes. We played nerdy board games and I got demolished. Eventually, we ate BBQ that was worth the extra wait it took to arrive. We sat around fires and roasted smores. My wife pointed out that she likes campfires and smores, too, and she didn’t think I should claim that as particularly unique for a men’s conference, but I noted that we kind of enjoyed smelling like woodsmoke the rest of the weekend. That, she agreed, is not like the ladies.
All this was fun, but my favorite moment of fellowship was when we came together to worship, and you could hear hundreds of guys belting out praise. It sounded pretty mighty, kind of like a “Braveheart” moment, where you are part of something greater than yourself, and you are willing to give up your life for it. It sounded like a warrior cry.
I just felt encouraged that I was there with all these other men, wanting the same thing. We want to submit to God, to live out life for Him, and go wherever He wants to take us. We want to serve our families and lay our lives down for them, and we want to do it together. The kind of warriors we want to be are ones who aren’t defeating and destroying for their own gain, but the men who’ve been defeated by the grace of God, the ones who live declaring His healing love while we proclaim the glory of our Lord. It really was a mighty moment.
This conference was called “Men of the Word” because it was about mobilizing and integrating Scripture in all aspects of our lives. It’s humbling to remember men who came before us, men like William Tyndale and Martin Luther. Jon Payne asked me to participate in a skit as Tyndale, and that was terrifying. As I expressed his life, it was unsettling, in the best kind of way, to consider that the same authority he lived under, the same solid foundation he had, I still have access to that today. On this foundation Tyndale built his life and then laid it down. The Word of God is still worth that kind of commitment today. I heard this quote from Charles Spurgeon, “Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides.” Jesus is our God and He’s given us His Word.
The teaching during the conference was excellent. We heard how the storms of life will reveal our need. Under Scripture’s authority that must be where we will weather the storm. I remember Pastor Rick Gamache telling us if Scripture is the Word of God, then God is never silent in our life.
If Scripture is the Word of God, then God is never silent. Wow.
I never have to think God is silent in times of suffering. I always have His living Word.
That convicted me to take Scripture with me wherever I go. I left wanting to carry my actual Bible around all day, every day, because you never know what’s going to happen.
Sure enough, the next Monday I went back to work, and I quickly noticed that names on our communication threads were getting “archived”. Soon I realized some of my friends were getting fired. I work in an industry and business where that happens fairly often, but I’m still not used to it.
My typical response during layoffs is fear, stress and a spiraling of negative thoughts. It’s scary to think it could happen to me, and in those moments, it feels like my security and protection for my family could go at any moment.
This time was different, though. By God’s grace, I had my Bible at work, so I went into the breakroom at lunch and started reading. It was a good moment to rely on Christ. I was actually able to have joy. Instead of focusing on temporary troubles, I spent that time remembering what God has done for us. It’s still true we face suffering in future days, but I’m learning little by little that God’s presence will be enough.
I have Jesus. I have His Word.