We are two hundred women of different ages and in different stages of life, gathered together. We are from many different church families holding different theological distinctives. We are women who have known different struggles, different victories, different sorrows, different joys. But tonight, we are His daughters united in Christ, singing of His promises and hungry for His truth. We are women saved by grace, marked by grace, longing to grow in grace.
We stand, expectant.
We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight.
As we sing these truths and even as my heart rejoices in the swelling of resounding praise, I pause, unable to sing past the lump in my throat as I think of a woman of grace whose work is now done, who is finally finished her race on this earth. A few hours earlier this day, I was in a funeral home holding the hand of my 98-year-old friend as we stood beside a casket and looked at the body of his 95-year-old wife. For the concluding years of her life her eyesight had been failing, and by the end, everything she saw was fuzzy and dim. Still holding hands with this gentleman, and both of us with eyes bright by unshed tears, I smiled and said, “Her faith has finally become sight, hasn’t it? All these years of waiting, and now she can see.” This woman, now departed from us but present with Christ, she is a daughter of the promise made to Abraham thousands of years ago. Through the days of her long life she fixed her eyes on Jesus, her soul’s reward. My friend has finished her race. Her work is done. And her faith, a faith so critical during earthly life, has finally been replaced with sight.
The singing continues and I look around at all these women, many of us quite young, and I consider how, by God’s grace, one day that will be us. Our time on earth will end and we will not need faith to behold our glorious Savior.
But that is not yet. Our work is not done.
Right now we are women who are yet running this race, desperately in need of living water and spiritual replenishment and greater stamina and and reminders us of why we’re running a race that can be, at times, so hard. And maybe most of all, our eyes need to be re-focused on the reward awaiting us at the finish line.
Like many, I came home from Women of Grace invigorated, nourished, energized for the next lap, pressing on, face lifted and looking towards the Reward, towards Christ.
There was much said by both speakers that was theologically rich and insightful, much that was applicable for Christian women in any stage of life. No doubt for all of us in attendance, there were concrete ways that we returned to our separate lives, our unique spheres of influence, with hearts enlarged, ready to love and serve and work. But amid so much that was so helpful and so good, the place where both speakers focused our gaze again and again was upon our eternal and most exquisite Bridegroom, Christ Jesus Himself. Even as we considered the genesis of gender and the pillars of biblical womanhood and singleness and marriage, the crowning centerpiece, designed to catch the eye, was always Christ and His beloved bride.
The eternal marriage. The forever union. The love story of the Gospel.
Women of Grace concluded as it had begun, with voices and hearts joined in song.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.