Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I held my own sign a couple of weeks ago. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Pastor Jerry taught us recently, "There is a prophecy in our testimony." As we share our story, even in so few words, God says to another, "What I did for this one, I'll do for you."
Do you have the courage to tell your story? Tell it. Let God set someone free. In fact, among the dozens of us who shared our cardboard testimony; many of us emotionally remarked how even more healing came as we stood there revealing our own weakness, struggle & sin that once bound us. Our struggles serve as a marker of mercy saying deliverance is planted here; restoration is growing here & it's available to you.
If there's one thing I know, it's God grace. I know mercy because it came running when I was too weak to even call His name. When I was tangled in a web the enemy crafted for destruction, mercy - fueled by God's undying love, came to my rescue.
I was forgiven in an instant. But healing is a process. Restoration is a process.
My pastor was asked a few weeks back about the Catholic practice of confession to a priest. His response in a nutshell was this: confession to God is required to be forgiven. However, confession to man or one another is for our own healing, accountability and wholeness. It is like protection for a wound or injury, much like we cover a sore or cut with a bandaid. It provides protection or preservation while that wound or weak spot heals over time; while our body regenerates new skin in place of the torn or damaged place on our body.
That healing process is made more effecient, more complete or thorough when we confess to others - be it out pastor or brothers/sisters in Christ. Forgiveness is instantaneous, but being made whole often requires help. Christ paints a picture of this as He talks about the body ministering to body. "Restore one another." We need one another. A finger, regardless of how strong, will wither and die if separated from the body.
A number of years ago, I found myself in such a situation - separated by thousands of miles from my local church body and without a spiritual home. I'm not a good lone ranger at all and I fell hard. While God forgave me the moment I asked, sin brings consequences. In the coming days, weeks, and months I probably had over 100 conversations - intimate conversations with people I love; people with whom I served beside in ministry - on the praise team, missions trips, children's ministry, etc...conversations in which I confessed - I messed up, I fell, I sinned.
I think my confession was out of a desire to ask forgiveness and also to share my story; to tell it myself. I wanted each one to hear it from me, not someone else's interpretation of what happened. I wanted to say, "I'm sorry for hindering any aspect of God's work that we have labored toward together."
Those were my intentions, but as I confessed to this one and that one; oh, how He loved me. Through each of those precious people, He loved on me. I never imagined the encouragement, love, understanding and restoration that came as I poured out my story. It took courage and humility with no room for my pride; yet there are no words to describe what I received.
As I held up my cardboard testimony a couple of weeks ago, God met me there. He brought forth another wave of healing for a secret tragedy I've carried for 11 years. Oh, how He loves us.
So share your testimony. Prophesy to another of God's deliverance, love, mercy & restoration. If you are keeping a wound or injury to yourself, give God an opportunity to heal and restore through the body of Christ. You might not share your story or reveal your sin to hundreds, but find someONE - some Godly someone, who can hold your heart as you lay it bare. See what God does. See how He comes running to restore.