This morning, I had the supremely humbling privilege of telling a roomful of (mostly) strangers that I once was lost but now am found. I shared a few other things, too, but that’s basically the gist of my story. My time at the mic was simultaneously terrifying, exhilarating, cathartic, and emotionally draining.
And I can’t wait to do it again.
You see, God is doing something with my brokenness, my woundedness, my fear, and my doubt. He is transforming it, little by little, into something pleasing and acceptable in His sight.
My prayer is that He will use the offering of my story as a sacrifice of praise, to bring freedom to captives and comfort to the weary.
Because I once was in chains yet now I’m free.
I’m not anybody special, friend. I’m a sinner through and through. I have done nothing to deserve the grace and mercy God extends to me each and every day. Nope – nobody special. But I do believe.
I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is my God, too. I believe that He who has begun a good work in me will see it through until it is completed.
I believe that, despite all my wretched sinfulness, He loves me and wants to make my crooked ways straight.
Because He is love. Because He first loved me. Even when I didn’t deserve it. Even when I didn’t believe it was possible.
And so I testify. I testify to that Love. And it fills me with unparalleled joy.
My testimony is my joy because, through it, I get to tell people what God has done for me. I get to tell of His mercy and His grace, His might and His power. How He loved me even when I rejected His love. How He waited on me to return to Him even when I didn’t know where I was going. How He saved me on the Cross even when I didn’t want to be saved. How He healed me and is healing me will always be my healer because of the blood that He shed.
Your testimony, my friends, is your joy, too.
It may be messy, it may be more than a little embarrassing, it may not make a bit of earthly sense. If you’re anything like me (and I hope you aren’t), your testimony includes some very, very, very extremely poor choices, stubbornness, idiocy, unrepentance, and a whole slew of things you wouldn’t want to tell your children just quite yet.
Your story is your testimony and no one can take that away from you. No one can argue with you. No one can erase the fact that His fingerprints are all over the story of your life.
Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. -1 Peter 3:13-17
My friend, have we not been redeemed by His death and Resurrection? Sanctified by His blood? Has He not poured out His mercy and grace for those who repent and seek His face?
I speak the truth about my Lord Jesus Christ today because I am able. There may come a time when I am not able, whether because my strength fades or because I am forbidden from speaking. I pray that, when that day comes, I can find a way to communicate without words so that everyone who hears with the ear of their heart may understand and know that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say. -Luke 12:11
Your testimony is your joy.
What is your story? What has God done for you?
Has He saved you? Share it.
Has He delivered you? Preach it.
Has He redeemed you? Shout it.
Has He loved you? Proclaim it.
Has He been everything to you? You’d better tell someone.
Because if we don’t praise Him, Scripture tell us, the rocks will cry out. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to be shown up by a rock.
Until tomorrow, let us proclaim Him and praise Him and glorify His Name. Let us testify.