Tell Your Story

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (Rev. 12:10-11).

I used to think my story was dull. Both of my parents came to Christ in their mid to late teens, and both experienced dramatic life changes. By comparison, my story was very young-Bible-belt child. In 2008, however, I got to see my story from a new perspective. I was here in Canada, staying with friends who had come out of a different religious and cultural background, and we stayed up very late one night and shared about how we had come to know and love Jesus. They were amazed at my story. They had never heard of a childhood conversion before. I realized: my testimony is powerful.

Scripture upholds the power of the testimony. In Revelation 12, the word of the testimony is one of the three weapons by which Jesus' people overcome the accuser. In some beautiful way, our stories silence even his accusations. The accuser speaks against us day and night, hissing, "Did God really say... you're forgiven? you're worthy? you're saved? you are a new creation? you are a beloved child? you are chosen?" We can answer all of these with a resounding yes, because we have a story--the story of us and Jesus. Each of us has the hand of Jesus in his or her life, and each of us bears witness to His love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, acceptance, power, deliverance, peace, joy, and hope. None of us is perfect or strong, but He is in us. His strength is made perfect in weakness. He delights to work in unexpected ways, through unworthy people:

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (I Cor. 1:26-31).

I see this, and now, when I feel most unworthy, when the accuser labels me weak and ugly and useless, I have to say, "Right on, accuser! I am! I'm in good company! You're still going down." And one of the ways he's going down is through the very story he denigrates. He can't stop it. He's powerless to change it, however much he meddles. It is already written.

I bring all this up about testimonies because I had my mind blown on Thursday night. We had a ladies' night at the North Shore church, and I almost didn't go, because it was going to be a late night, and because I was feeling a bit out of place and unsure of what I'd do among all these Persian ladies. I had promised to go, though, so I did. I'm so glad I did. The basic agenda that night was to eat delicious snacks (always a good idea) and to tell each other our testimonies. It was so good. I was such a soppy mess. Here's what I processed the next morning (edited and names removed for obvious reasons):
God worked differently to win each of us, and in most of the ladies, He was actively at work reaching them in their home country. In one, her brother came to Christ and shared with her, then a stranger gave her a package with a  Bible and a Jesus film. In another, parents whose daughter was dying of cancer were reading the Bible and praying in the hospital room that her son was sharing with them. She ended up in the chapel, praying to Jesus for her son's healing. Others used to wander into churches because the buildings and the rituals and the smells fascinated them. Another saw someone else's life change, heard someone say, "I love God," and it was so foreign to her. Another came to Christ in Canada because she was fascinated with the way people dressed up for church on Sundays. Another had a dream. Yet another was brought to a Chinese church and confronted directly with the deity of Christ (a classic "Don't do this!" with her religious background), to which she had a strong, angry reaction. Her daughter ended up reading the Bible to her. Another ended up in church with her mom and was told to read the Gospel of John. It made her feel warm. She began to read the rest of the New Testament.
God worked in each lady in a different way to pique an interest in Jesus Christ. He worked past all governmental and societal obstacles, broke through walls of resistance, and slipped into each lady's life and transformed her in a different way and over a different span of time. Each life bears the mark of His hand. Each testimony carries His power. God delights in approaching lives creatively. He treats each of us as individuals and does unique things in us. No two stories are alike. Each testifies to His love and pursuit even of people who did not want to be pursued. These things overcome the accuser.

That Thursday, on the way to the ladies' meeting, I was reading The Pursuit of God (which is wrecking me in such a good way right now), and I was asking God to help me apprehend His presence better. From the moment the first lady opened her mouth to share her story, the presence of God was so evident to me in that room. He is still working, even to this day. He is still powerful and active.

Our testimonies are powerful. Tell your story. If you do not have a story with Jesus, ask for one, and He'll oblige. If you are having trouble seeing His hand in your life, ask Him to open your eyes so you can see what He's doing and what He's done, believe that He will, and He will definitely do it. Be ready to tell your story.

  • My brother's going to be here tomorrow! I am so crazy excited. Also cool, he's like an expert on Mormon doctrine by now, and I got a call from some Mormons last night wanting to meet with me this week sometime. They have no idea what's in store for them (Bwahahahaha...).
  • Praise God for these testimonies. It was so sweet to hear what each lady had to say.
  • The testimonies on Thursday gave me real freedom to share some of my story with a lady on Friday, and I believe that God will use it, because He doesn't seem to waste anything.
  • Hearing so many stories of how God is working really put some heart back into me for this work.
Prayer requests
  • This is going to be a busy month or so. Pray for wisdom in using the time.
  • Pray that the week with my brother would be fruitful as well as fun.
  • Pray for a cohesive vision for our team.
  • Please keep praying for provision for the Centre--volunteers, funds, visitors, and open hearts.
  • Please pray for opportunities to share His story.
Thank you again for praying for me!

1 comment:

Amanda, MS said...

I have struggled with my testimony as well...felt it lacked the 'dramatic' life changing event most people had, but then again I was a child too. Ms. Pat taught a class on sharing your testimony and it truly turned my view of my testimony...God views my salvation just as important as the next guy and even though the devil may try to tell me it's not good enough, God reminds me that it is! Thanks for sharing your story! Love and miss you! And give the Mormons a run for their money!!