Last week I had the opportunity to give the main lesson at the Chinese Church. The Lord had placed on my heart to share my testimony. Part of it includes a difficult time when I first came to Israel and turned, for a time, from any faith. I packed up my music, Bible, and other books in a box, and then pushed the box deep into the top shelf of my closet. I was finished with religion!
I was wrong… the Lord used a Rabbi to help put my faith together and to teach me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: My foundation is either in Jesus and His word to me, through the Bible, or on nothing. People, circumstances, and feelings cannot be the determiners of truth, rather, God Himself, and His revelation of Himself through Jesus. It wasn’t religion I needed, but a relationship, and that changed my life.
I learned recently that a man who listened to what I shared was deeply touched—like me, many years ago, he too was offended by people and chucked faith out the window. It would take more than 30 years for him to begin to hunger again spiritually.
Today something else happened… I saw someone have a very bad stroke… and while I could not help them, what I went through with Rich is helping to guide my prayers for all involved. That person’s family is going through a difficult time… and at least I can pray with compassion and understanding.
Some people underestimate prayer, but as I look back over my life, I am convinced that God has used the prayers of the saints to uphold and encourage me. Prayer is communication with the God of creation, and He really does care about our suffering and struggles.
Another thing we underestimate is our testimony of God’s faithfulness. Last night, after the Chinese meeting, a sister in the Lord was sharing with me her struggles and longings. She shared how she had poured out her heart to the Lord, as she began to read in the Bible, God reminded her that she was, on this earth, God’s soldier. He had given her marching orders to follow Him, and He was taking care of her. She had a home, clothes, food… the rest was in His hands. Would she trust her commander or not?
As she shared, I felt like crying. Her sharing also touched my heart. I too have had my struggles since I came back to Israel. For some reason the past few weeks have been particularly challenging. Feeling the loss of people I’ve loved, bewildered by the news—part of me really does not want to know what is going on out there—and just longing, longing for my eternal home.
We all have those moments, and we all need each other. A brother I heard speaking recently put it this way: A finger has no life disconnected from the body. The body of Christ includes the local church, and we need each other.
Internet and email are nice, but a face-to-fact chat with a brother or sister in the Lord, praying together, and encouraging one another is even better. If you think you have nothing to give, think again:
Can you pray? You have a powerhouse of giving available for you, everywhere in every time.
Do you have a testimony of something God has done for you? You have encouragement that someone needs. Maybe that someone is your neighbor, a colleague, a member of your church whom you never talk to, or a friend on Facebook, your blog, or email correspondence. You too have something to give…
Together we can sing with the Psalmist
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.