“My child, pay attention to what I say.

Listen carefully to my words.

Don’t lose sight of them.

Let them penetrate deep into your heart,

for they bring life to those who find them,

and healing to their whole body.”

—Proverbs 4:20-22 (NLT)

When I look back on the time I first started attending my little church in the country, I see just how truly broken I was. 

I remember sitting in the last row and not looking around, because everything was blurry and disorienting due to my damaged vision. 

I just listened. I barely interacted with the people sitting next to me or the ones I encountered coming and going. I was there for one thing, and one thing only:  to hear God’s Word. 

This was my spiritual hospital ward. And you know how it is:   sometimes you don’t want  visitors, no matter how loving or well intentioned.

Now I had attended church most of my life, but at this time, I was drinking it in as if my very existence  depended on it.

And it did!

You see, the world had nothing to offer me. Money couldn’t fix my eyes. No amount of shiny vacations or home improvements was going to make everything okay with me. I felt ripped to the core, knowing what mattered most in life.

As a result,  I sat like a baby bird with its yellow beak parked open in the nest. There I was…ears wide open, taking in nourishment. 

What a blessing it is to have a church where the whole Word of God is proclaimed, not just the easy stuff. 

Since I already knew the real deal on a gut level, I could handle the real deal of God’s Word. That being that we are a sinful broken people in need of a Savior. I was all the way over my illusion of self- sufficiency (in a good way).

Fluff wasn’t going to satisfy; rituals meant nothing.  No creed, rote  prayer,  or round of Kumbaya was going to fill me. Deep brokenness called for deep truth. And that truth, once received, brought healing.

“I am the way, the Truth and the life,” Jesus said (John 14:6).

Amen and amen.

Everything that broken people and the world could not supply, I found in God’s Word and a relationship with Jesus. The Word penetrated my heart (as our verse says). It  provided comfort, clarity, answers, a purpose to suffering, and best of all—hope!

The writer of Proverbs (4:21) says God’s words bring “life to those who find them and healing to their whole body.” 

EUREKA! I had found them! I  struck spiritual gold. 

This was not an act of my own will, however, but an act of the Holy Spirit drawing me through the Word of God. It required small steps of courage on my part:  to show up, to search the Word, to dare to believe something good could come out of loss. But in the end, God is the One who calls, and we are the ones who must answer.

Looking back on our spiritual journeys brings fresh realization.  We can mark how far we’ve come.

I went from being a patient in the spiritual hospital to being a person who enjoys a daily walk with God. Not that I don’t suffer the occasional relapse. I do! But  overall, the trend is toward joy and hope.

Last week, I found myself listening to our church’s sermon online and hanging on biblical truth. It reminded me of my early days there. How needy I was! 

But you know, I still need those words of life spoken every day. I will always need them! I’m just grateful I now know how to mine for them.

Keep Digging into the Word,