Our pastor, Todd, is asking everyone at our church who is a Christian give him a written account of their testimony. Simply put, your testimony is your story of how you met Jesus for the first time and how He has changed your life. Todd isn’t asking for these stories to make some master list of “real” Christians or to grade our stories. He knows that to write your story, to think through what Jesus has done for you and in you allows you to step back and see the threads of God’s presence in your story. To document His love, His grace, His amazing gift of forgiveness of our messed up lives is a beautiful act of worship. This reflection prepares you to share that story with others because, as we see over and over in the Bible, our testimony of what God has done in our life is the best evidence we can give of His real and active presence to those who don’t know Him.
And I have seriously been dragging my feet. I have no dramatic story of meeting Jesus, no amazing transformation that occurred when He forgave my sins. My testimony so often feels “less than” because I have been a follower of Jesus since I was seven and have pretty much stuck with Him ever since. We have journeyed together – arduous uphill climbs, breathtaking mountaintop vistas, and slogs through the darkest of valleys – and I am slowly, slowly being transformed to be more like Him. It seems such a boring story. Why on earth would anyone be interested in it? How could it possibly change anyone’s life?
Ah, there’s the catch. I am relying on crafting a clever narrative to capture my audience. I see it as my story and so all of the weight for it’s power and purpose lies squarely on my shoulders. And that is entirely wrong.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.
“Blessed Assurance“, Fanny Crosby 1873
These words, penned by Fanny Crosby over 100 years ago, remind me of what – of Who – my testimony is about. That I or anyone else can call themselves Christian is a stunning miracle. I have been purchased by God at a very costly price. My sins have been washed away by Jesus’ blood. In His grace and mercy He chose me to be His daughter, a fact that should astound me every day. Why me? Why did I get to grow up in a God-honoring home filled with love and safety? Why has He protected me time and time again from my own bad choices and desires and the wickedness of others? I do not know – but this should bring praise to my lips, not shame or dejection. All who are Christians have a dramatic rescue story. It is unequivocally not about me. How arrogant of me to think that God can’t use me because of how I met Him!
And so I am writing my testimony. It is a slice, a small glimpse into the numerous and amazing things God has done in me and for me. And it is getting quite long – but when you start recounting God’s grace and goodness and power and holiness it’s hard to stop (my family will not be surprised that this writing assignment has turned into a small novel – ha!). Stay tuned…