Even as a non-believer, I had a desire to take the difficult times I lived through as a child of an alcoholic and use them to help others. That is why I decided to be a social worker. But as a Christian I realize that God has a plan to use and redeem everything in our life. Rev 12:11 shares the wonderful truth that “they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony . . .”. How amazing is that! Jesus did his part through His tremendous sacrifice, shedding His precious blood on the cross, and His resurrection, Our part is our testimony.
This verse is exhorting each of us to know that there is power and victory in our testimony. Our story is not as much about our struggle or testing but more to give glory to God for how He works through it! We will proclaim how He strengthened and carried us through the journey; how He brought us to the other side; the wisdom we gained from the lessons learned; and how God will guide us to use our experience and what we learned to help others. In the midst of darkness and difficulties, it can be very hard to see what good will come of this. But God see the entire picture, does not waste anything and has a plan of redemption. By witnessing to what God has done, we also defeat the plan of the enemy to cause ruin in our life and make us doubt God.
One of my favorite Bible stories is of Joseph. After being so favored and receiving amazing dreams from God of a glorious future, he suffered one hardship after another. He was beat and left for dead by his jealous brothers and then sold into slavery. While serving Potiphar, the wife attempted to tempt and seduce him and then had him thrown in jail when he kept his morals and rejected her advances. In prison he interpreted dreams but was left behind. Eventually he was released, made second in the country, and then had the wonderful opportunity to rescue his family and make amends with them. This story always gives me hope because even in all the bleak times, God had a plan for turning it around. There are so many lessons within the story- how Joseph was humbled through this process, the beauty of forgiveness, how God allows us to go through what seem like horrible circumstance but are really part of a restoration story. Joseph himself states near the end of his story in Genesis 50:20 “as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
So, too, our lives can reflect lessons like these and be examples to others of God’s faithfulness and how important it is to trust Him in the midst of difficulty. I believe that when we share our testimonies in order to encourage, inspire, heal and help others, it is one way that God makes “beauty from ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). In fact, sharing our testimony actually fulfills the mission of Isaiah 61:1 “To bring good news to the afflicted; to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To comfort all who mourn,”
We don’t have to be someone important, wealthy, impressive or very talented in order to have an important testimony to share. We only need to recognize how God has worked in our lives and be willing to share our story, pain and vulnerability included. We each can attest to how God has transformed us, carried us, provided for us, healed us, and restored us. Psalm 9:1 says “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of your wonders“. We are the vessels He works through today. If we are willing to be transparent, He can shine His light, give His hope, and flow His love through us to a lost and hurting world. He will use us to be comforters and encouragers to others in the Body of Christ. Just as He revealed aspects of His character and His Names to people in the bible, He will reflect those various aspects who He is to people today through our testimonies.
Today’s devotional in Savor by Shauna Niequist describes our call so well. It says: “Tell your story. Don’t allow the story of God, the sacred, transforming story of what God does in a human heart, to become flat and lifeless. If you have been transformed by the grace of God, then you have within you all you need to write your love letter to a beautiful and broken world.”
What story do you have to share? What testimony do you have of God’s amazing love and faithfulness in your life? Who do you know who needs a word of encouragement, hope renewed, inspired to make a difference?