Tabletalk magazine is issued faithfully every month in the hope that, among other things, it will encourage readers to ponder the truths of God when they lie down, when they rise up, and, yes, even when they fly. Missionary pilot Glenn Grubb recently wrote to share how he relies on Tabletalk magazine for renewal and encouragement.
Q: When and how were you introduced to Tabletalk?
A: I became aware of Tabletalk while trying to find a new Bible. While doing the research on the Reformation Study Bible, I came across the Tabletalk site. I was looking for something to use as a study guide since our book bags never made it from the States. I decided to give Tabletalk to myself as an early Christmas present.
Q: How do you use Tabletalk? Do you have a section you read most or first?
A: I go through the daily devotional readings, but I really enjoy the longer articles. Dr. Derek Thomas' article "Everything Is Against Me!" really got my attention (Sept. 2007, pp. 27−28). He used the phrase "dark providences" to describe the things that occur that we don't understand but must acknowledge to be truly from the hand of God.
As an aircraft accident investigator for a missionary aviation organization, I have heard the questions that come up when bad things happen to good people who try to live lives that glorify God. The phrase "dark providence" has given me a rally point to which I can carry difficult questions when I try to reconcile what I see happening around me with what I know is true in Scripture.
Q: Why do you think it is important for Christians to use a devotional, specifically one that is theologically and doctrinally sound?
A: In our flight department, we train for real-life scenarios. We practice what we will do when emergencies arise. We practice low-level engine failures, engine failures at cruise, fires, instrument failures, and so on, so that when the real thing happens, our response is second nature. Our discipline and practice helps us get over the initial shock of a problem and get on with what it will take to remedy it.
I view my devotions the same way. I don't read or study just to check off a box. I study towards a real-world standard. What will I do when confronted with this scenario? How can I become practiced in the discipline of responding to what God places in my life in a way that is glorifying to Him?
The theme of Hebrews 5 has become especially meaningful to me these last six months. How can I become skilled in the Word of righteousness? What solid food can I take that will mature me? I want my powers of discernment trained by constant practice too so that I can distinguish good from evil. In looking at this, I recognized that a guide would help me achieve these goals. I also knew that the devotional had to be based on the Word of God and not on fads or sentimentality. These requirements narrowed my search down to Tabletalk. I downloaded a trial copy from your website and saw that there was a mix of daily devotions and larger articles surrounding a monthly theme. That, coupled with it coming from a known source whose basis of ministry is grounded on sound Reformed principles, made the decision easy.
Recently the Grubb family experienced a dark providence. While visiting with friends who work in the jungle, they received a satellite phone call with the news that their house had been burglarized and burned to the ground. When asked about it, Mr. Grubb's response was, "I knew that we were experiencing dark providence. To say that this wasn't from the hand of God for our good would be to deny God His own personality. He is sovereign! I won't lie to you and say that we have been stoic during this experience. There have been the emotions that loss and grief bring, but God has guided our spirits through it all with a strong and gentle hand. I know that my spirit had been stilled by the Holy Spirit's use of Dr. Thomas' article in the weeks leading up to the fire.
"Thank you for God-honoring articles that stick to the meat of Scripture. It is this and not faddish sentimentality that will help sustain a believer during the difficult times that will come. It is this type of devotional that will help us say with Joseph, 'You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.'"