I’m now sitting in the office where I had a conversation a couple years ago that has deeply impacted my whole life.
Pastor Joe was the previous pastor at this church, and this was his office. One year when the local ministerial group was planning a community worship service, Pastor Joe and I, along with the music minister from another nearby church, were in charge of planning the music portion of the service. So the three of us met one day in this office.
We talked about the music program, and of course we talked about tons of other things as well. One of those things was rhema (pronounced like ray-ma). I’d never heard the word before. Pastor Joe explained to me that it’s a Greek word used to describe how God sometimes takes a piece of Scripture and uses it to speak loud and clear to a person.
Many, many times I’ve read in the Bible the openings to the apostle Paul’s letters. He usually greets his readers with words such as “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” or something along those lines. But one time I was reading 1 Thessalonians and those words really jumped out at me. It actually startled me. Rather than merely comprehending the meaning of those words with my mind, I felt God actually giving me His grace and His peace. The words became personal to me, and I experienced them in a deeply real way.
There have been other times when I’ve been reading in Scripture about how much God loves me. Sometimes the words just pass through my mind. But other times it’s as though God shakes me and says, “Hey, I’m talking to you! I love you this much!” It’s not just God’s Word in a general way–it becomes God’s Word specifically to me.
When this happens, it’s a rhema moment.
And I’ve discovered that these rhema moments are the richest moments of my life. These are the times when God’s presence with me is most vivid. These are the times when I can really understand why the Bible says that it’s alive and active (see Hebrews 4:12). These are the times when I can really understand why certain people through history have said that they crave God’s Word even more than food or water.
These rhema moments are addictive in a healthy way. They make me desire God more. They bring me back eagerly to the Bible, over and over and over again.
Recently I realized something (fittingly, in a rhema experience) that I’ve known subconsciously for a while but never really thought about consciously: My purpose in life is to experience these rhema moments so I can share them with other people, so that they may be drawn into their own rhema experiences.
When I have a rhema moment, I can tell people about it. There’s certainly value in that. But what’s even more valuable is to help move people into a position where they can personally experience rhema for themselves. That is something that only God can give them. When I ride a really adventurous roller coaster, I can describe the experience to someone who has never ridden any roller coaster. But the only way for them to really understand it and enjoy it for themselves is to ride the same roller coaster. Hearing about it may whet their appetite, but only experiencing it can satisfy that appetite. That’s how it is with rhema.
Discovering this purpose has really given me focus, and renewed my passion for doing what God created me to do.