Simona Spear: Looking Back on RBC
Posted On August 30, 2016
Thousands of miles away—a continent, in fact—lies a school that has shaped and changed me in more ways than I could begin to express or may ever fully know. Its grounds have taken my breath away on misty mornings, afternoons of drenching sunlight, and quiet nights with buildings serenely lit. There is a pond that has seen many walks and runs around it. There is a wall of mailboxes, a kitchen that’s witnessed many a morning greeting and tired joke, a courtyard occupied by lunchers and wannabe studiers. There are classrooms that have heard enough theology to fill volumes and in which men and women have come alive with the beautiful grandeur of the gospel and the magnificent Book given to us by God Himself.
Really, that Book was the main reason that brought us there, and its pages formed the backbone of our time together. We were convicted as we came under its piercing truth; we were healed by the mercy of a God who met the demands of His own justice by judging the One in whom His heart delights; and we were undone by the weight of this mercy and love. Side by side, we sought to stay awake amid the dulling powers of the world, our flesh, and the devil.
I realize there are many people who would deny the worth of such a place, and would probably term all the blood, sweat, and tears shed over outlines, essays, and study guides an utter waste. To these, all I can say is that when the answers of a classroom ring true on the pavement of life under the sun of the world, it is no small thing. When the deepest questions of life are touched and opened and reverenced by men who have dedicated their lives to rightly handling the Word of Truth, one finds a reality that boggles the mind, lifts the heart, and changes the sight.
We began learning to open and divide the Word of God, and also to fear in the exercise of this responsibility and the risk of our own wayward hearts. We saw men pour themselves out for joy in the reality of the gospel, give of themselves for the sake of those striving to join in the harvest, and open themselves to be changed by its invading power.
There’s a deep contentment that comes from having paradoxes admitted, truth articulated, mystery hallowed. One comes to terms with living in one’s own skin and brushing up against others. It takes many uncomfortable realizations. By grace, it also brings the slow growth of a humility in the face of daily personal inadequacy and sin, and courage to love in the face of great need.
When a group of people live out this kind of honesty among each other and give of themselves so extravagantly, one cannot call this a common thing. These past two years were anything but common.
Reformation Bible College was a place where I and my classmates climbed peaks, trudged through dark forests, and looked out over valleys. We found ourselves exhausted, exhilarated, and hungry for more.
Together, we lived life, we mourned the effects of the fall, and we grew in our desire for that eternal city that awaits. Life coram Deo began, slowly and surely, to define our choices, our habits, our time, our desires, our affections. It’s all about returning to Eden: through the waters to the mountain for worship. God will dwell among men one day, and all things will be made right when we enjoy the undimmed presence of our King once again.
Indeed, this was a full period of life, and to leave such a place was a hard goodbye. Yet the sweetness lingers. Pilgrims can’t camp out together forever, I suppose, and the path winds on. Many of us will not be returning, but I doubt we will soon forget the ways in which we saw the kingdom arriving in the hearts and minds and lives of those around us, and in our own. We came away changed, with the holiness of God and the love of our Father ringing in our ears.
May these coming years find us each faithful. We have been let loose as laborers in the home, in the office, in the church—in the world—for a harvest. I pray we plant good seed, and that we ever engage in the planting itself with the earnestness of love for the people we meet. May the Word continue to go forth, and may it bear fruit as we live in this world that continually cries out for renewal.
Above all, know God.