Your Tests are God’s Testimony        

Sometimes the trials we face in life seem overwhelming and daunting. At times we feel as though we will never experience happiness or joy again. We often feel weighted down with lead and feel we will surely sink to the bottom of the abyss without ever recovering. It is at these times of despair that God shows Himself to you the most.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

As David tells us in this Psalm, God not only HEALS the broken-hearted, but He binds up our wounds. By binding our wounds, He makes them heal correctly and allows us to move on from the bad experiences in our lives. When we keep our faith during trying times, lean on God, and profess His strength in our weakness, He rewards us with peace and a multiplication of blessings.

The Book of Job tells us “The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house, and they consoled him and comforted him over all the [distressing] adversities that the Lord had brought on him.” Because Job understood that He was to exalt and profess God’s presence and strength in His trials, He was greatly rewarded. God didn’t reverse Job’s pain and anguish, but rather He RESTORED his life of blessings after Job weathered the storm.

Job understood that His tests were a testimony to God for holding him up when he could no longer stand. He professed and praised God in his devastation while trusting, believing, and having faith in God to bring him through and reinstate his blessed life. Although his friends told him to turn against God, he turned TO God and believed he would be redeemed, and that God would carry his burdens for him.

That is what we are called to do. Turn to God during unthinkable trials and times of loneliness and pain. Then we are to praise God for His faithfulness and goodness in healing us from the burning pain of the fiery trials we experience. Instead of complaining and bemoaning our existence, we need to praise God for putting us here and giving us a purpose for living. Despite the pain, God expects us to use it as a stepping stone to bring others to God. That is why it is important that our tests become testimonies of God’s love, mercy, and grace instead of turning us away from God as we blame Him for our problem(s).

Without tests and trials, our faith is weak. We have no reason to lean on God and trust all of His promises. Most importantly, without tests, people lack testimonies to exalt the love and never-ending mercies of God, evangelizing in the most natural way. Simply by relating our experiences and how God helps us survive and thrive in situations that feel like they will surely kill us.

Let me end this sermon with one of my MANY testimonies. Honestly, I have no idea how people navigate this world and life here without having God to lean on and carry them through. I know I wouldn’t have made it to this point without my faith and knowledge that God is always with me, holding my hand and helping me walk across the raging rivers that threaten to drown me in misery, pain, grief, and death.

Back in 2003-2005, I was bedridden from a body poisoned and emaciated from a biological hit in a terrorist attack. I ended up being bedridden for two years and my body went from 145 pounds down to a skeletal 118. I was in constant pain and at times couldn’t eat, get up, or even have enough breath to speak.

During this time I started studying the Bible and watching biblical documentaries. I watched sermon after sermon and craved God in a way I never believed possible. He stayed with me in my loneliness and isolation (I became agoraphobic) and no one seemed to understand my severe health decline, nor the mental anguish that came with it. However, God showed Himself to me over and over, finally coming to tell me I wasn’t going to die, but I would get up and build a church instead. That was almost twenty years ago…

In 2007, I started a religious studies degree program at Liberty University. I was weak but excited about my new start and new faith. A few months into the program suddenly my vision became blurry and my appendages stung with sharp pain. I became weaker and my muscles felt useless. I continued working on my school work with the support of my children who bought me a 22” computer screen (which was HUGE back then) and a device that I could speak into so I didn’t have to write my papers. My fingers were numb and my hands so shaky that writing had become almost impossible.

My doctor was alarmed and immediately sent me to Dr. Johnson, a neurologist. He immediately recognized the symptoms as MS and did a brain scan and spinal fluid evaluation. The results were devastating. I had an MS lesion on my PONS (a place on your brainstem where no surgery is possible because it controls your breathing, nerve signals, etc.) and I was diagnosed with MS. He had my scan on the lit wall display and showed me the lesion. I was in shock.

Three months later, I was scheduled for another brain scan with contrast dye.

I vividly remember driving to Dr. Johnson’s office for the 2nd brain scan, crying out to God and saying “I know you didn’t bring me up from bed (hell to me) to put me back down.” I brazenly told Dr. Johnson that God would heal me! He was somber as he said to me “Lisa, I am a Christian too, but you must be realistic. I have been doing this for decades and have never seen anyone healed from MS.” I reaffirmed to him that God was going to heal me so I would be his first. I headed for the MRI room…

About two weeks later I entered Dr. Johnson’s office and noticed this HUGE GRIN on his face. My newest scan was on the wall display and he pointed at a circled area. With tears in his eyes, he said my lesion had been removed from my brain and was floating in an encapsulated cyst-like object by my brainstem. I stared at that little “balloon” and said in a slow, but shocked voice, “How did this happen?” Dr Johnson, still grinning ear to ear, with dampness shining in his eyes, said “Lisa, both you and I know how this happened.” In my head, I thought “Of course, God” as he spoke those words.

He released me from any further tests and treatment that day. He told me if I ever needed him, he was there. Although it was still very early in my walk with God as my leader, I realized my faith, coupled with undying and spoken faith, had healed me. Later I realized how many times Jesus would heal someone and then tell them it was THEIR FAITH that healed them.

I pray that you read and share my testimony with others. Even more so, I pray you speak in full faith and confidence during your trials and storms, trusting God to do as He promises in the Bible; HEAL US! I pray you speak to others about how God has carried you, helped you, and healed you during your trials.

Remember, your test is an opportunity to add another testimony for God. We are here to evangelize to others and our testimonies are the medium in which we do so. Like the parables Jesus told, it is easiest for people to understand when you tell them a true story and let them see for themselves how God exists, is loving, merciful, and full of grace. The impetus to start the ball rolling is your unwavering faith.

May God turn all of your tests into His testimonies, so we may bring others to healing, happiness, and eternal life with Jesus. Amen. ><>

PS I want to leave you with one parting thought. Throughout the Bible, we are told there is a huge penalty for leading others astray, but on the other hand, there is a great reward for leading others to God. Your testimony is a great intro…

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