By Andrea Johnson
My favorite books to read are biographies, people’s testimonies. I have yet to read a work of fiction as riveting as someone’s own story well told. Testimonies reassure us that we can make it. They remind us that God can and will act on our behalf. They encourage us to persevere when we feel like giving up. They inspire us to trust even when we don’t understand or maybe even agree with God’s ways. Testimonies arouse a heart of gratitude.
We are in the final stages of working on We Believe For Kids!, a doctrinal course for fifth and sixth graders. With the obstacles I see our children and grandchildren facing in school and the constant attempts of our current culture to undermine biblical or even moral teaching, it is a passion of mine to see this material published and available to our churches.
Yet as in every project one does, the obstacles can seem never-ending and overwhelming. Even with detailed planning and an incredible team that has worked diligently to do everything within its power to bring this project to fruition, so much of the process is out of our control. As of this writing, we are still awaiting our first shipment of books, which we had hoped to have sent to churches by now.
You know what gives me hope? I think of Open Bible’s MOVE* team and all the seemingly impossible construction projects they have accomplished throughout the years. Each venture seems to carry a new set of challenges from sickness to inclement weather to scarcity of materials. I used to get nervous as I prayed for the men on these trips, wondering how the projects would ever get completed, but after a few years my prayers changed from “Father, please help!” to “Father, I’m excited to see how You will work this situation out because You always do.”
Josh Ellis, in his moving testimony, “Breath of God, Come,” was faced with an agonizing situation. His wife, Sarah, was having severe complications in childbirth. It was quite possible he could lose Sarah or the baby or both. In fact, Sarah had told him, “Don’t worry about me; you save Ashlyn.” [Read article] Talk about anguish.
Ricky Poon shares the story of Yu Cai, a woman who was given a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer and suffered excruciating headaches that even affected her balance. [Read article]
Both of these testimonies inspire faith. We need to hear them again and again. The Bible is also filled with testimonies of people who, like us, faced overwhelming odds but persevered. We need to read these testimonies as well, again and again.
When we experience sickness, testimonies remind us that we serve a God who heals. When we look at tragedy, we are reminded that God never wastes pain. When we face obstacles, we are reminded that our God is the victorious warrior. NO weapon formed against Him will stand. When we have relationship issues, we are reminded that God is the healer of the brokenhearted. When we fail, we are reminded from the Word of God that He is our Savior, our Redeemer.
These are things on which we need to focus. It doesn’t help to pray about a matter and then turn our attention to all the negativity swirling around in the news and on social media. It does help to listen to testimonies that reveal God’s nature and then to turn our full attention on our everywhere-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, good, faithful God and to pray, trusting in the character of the God to whom we are praying.
Think of the testimonies that have encouraged you. Remind yourself of these stories again and again. Then stop to think of your own stories. Remember all the situations God has brought you through even though you may have been kicking and screaming all the way! Very likely you also have a story or two that would encourage someone else. Make sure to share those stories! Someone needs to hear them.