How God Delivered Me
by Joann Brady
I tried many times to write this testimony, but I just could not do it. We are overjoyed when the Lord does something for us and I could not figure out why it was so hard to put it into words. I think the answer is that we are proud to wear the new robe, but we hate to be stripped naked first. We would all love to have a testimony in which the Lord sent us a great trial, He counted us faithful, and then He blessed us in a mighty way. My testimony is more like this: The Lord sent me a little trial, He found me lacking, and in spite of myself, He blessed me in a mighty way. We get so hung up on what we did, when the only thing that really matters is what the Lord did.
It seems like we have all been under so much stress lately. Every day becomes a juggling act as we strive to do it all and learn it all out in this busy world. At least this was true for me. I gave up the time I used to spend for fellowship and prayer so I would have more time to study. I was saying plenty of those, “Don’t let me fail this test,” or “Don’t let me run out of gas,” prayers, but I never really met with the Lord anymore. In order to have Fridays off, I took a late Wednesday class, even though I knew that I would miss most of the services. One by one, I laid down the things of the Lord so that I would have more time. I never had more time though, in fact, I had less. For everything in the Lord I laid down, I just picked up more things in the world.
I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I made excuses for myself. The Lord’s people are gracious, and even though they know you are not doing your part, they are not going to beat you up or condemn you. They are still going to love you and pray for you. They are going to do more to make up for what you are not doing.
I coasted for a long time with few problems, until the Lord sent me a wake-up call. I made a mistake and I received some chastisement. It wasn’t bad or hard, but I felt so condemned. The truth is I felt very sorry for myself and the devil was more than willing to attend my “pity party.” I shared with him all of my failures and fears, and he held my hand and agreed with everything that I said. In return for my loyalty, he shared with me. He told me that the Lord’s people knew all these things about me, that there was no way they could ever love or respect me, and that they no longer wanted me to be a part. When I was totally condemned and cut off, he shared with me his ultimate lie — “You were never the Lord’s, you will never be the Lord’s, you have no hope.” He is such a liar!
I was so miserable, but no matter what I tried I just kept falling lower and lower. This was not the first time I had thrown a “pity party” for myself, but it was the first time I could not end it when I wanted to. No matter how many times I called out to the Lord, I felt I could not reach Him. I know now that the Lord had never left me, and that it was I who had turned away from Him. I had invited the enemy into my heart, and when I tried to make him leave I had nothing left with which to fight him. I had taken off my armor and thrown down my weapons along the way to lighten my load out in the world. The Lord never leaves us without a way of escape, and He reminded me of the audio tapes I used to listen to, and how they had always helped me. As I listened to His Word, I began to see my condition and I felt a new hope that I could find my way back. I was able to reach out to the Lord’s people, and of course, they were faithful to me.
I was desperate for anything that the Lord would send me and I really wanted to learn what He was trying to teach me. At school, if I have something important to learn I write it on a note card to carry with me to study, and I decided to write down what the Lord was trying to teach me. I know everyone’s “note card” would be different, and mine contained just some very simple, basic truths that I had been hearing for years. I must confess that even in this I felt a little condemned. After being under the word for fifteen years I was ashamed to have to go back and learn these simple things, but when I needed to know them, they were not in my heart. I know, also, that if we are the Lord’s it does not matter if we have to start over every day, we are going to finish right on time.
- THE LORD WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU — do not entertain any thoughts contrary to this.
- Be in the services — if you are separated from the body you become easy prey.
- Do not allow yourself to be cut off from fellowship — it is just as vital to your life as water or oxygen.
- Communicate with the Lord’s people every day, even if it’s only to call someone to say hello. If you don’t know who to call ask the Lord to put someone on your heart. They may need a touch just as much as you.
- Guard your tongue — if it is not edifying don’t say it. Use your communication to build up the Lord’s people.
- It is better to do all things well and as unto the Lord, than to strive to do one thing perfectly. Don’t let anything, even a good thing, become a false idol.
- Stress is the world’s deadliest demon — anything that causes you anxiety is not from the Lord and is harmful to you.
- Chastisement is from the Lord — accept it and use it to grow. Let go of any condemnation. It is selfish to dwell on something that the Lord has been gracious enough to deliver you from. Move on and serve the Lord.
- If you feel your brother has something against you, go to him. If you are entertaining evil imaginations, talking to him will cast them down. If he does have something against you, talking to him will set you both free.
- The Lord’s people, and especially the deacons and elders, love and care for each member of the body. They are charged to watch over our souls. Their only desire is to help and restore us.
- You can only be what the Lord makes you. Be content with what He has given you and grateful if He blesses you with more.
I appreciated the Lord helping me and each day that I listened to His word and used what He had given me, I felt better. When the enemy came to me speaking lies, I could hang on and speak the truth back to him. I know the Lord was helping me to put my armor back on and build my arsenal back up.
If my testimony was that the Lord had delivered me from this trial, I could honestly write that He had given me far more than I deserved and I would be eternally grateful to Him. But, my testimony is that the Lord gave me so much, that even if I gave away half, my cup would still be overflowing. He instilled in me a new fear and respect for Him and His power over my life. He gave me a peace in knowing that I am totally dependent on Him, and that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He delivered me from things that I know have followed since I was a child. I am so thankful that every day His mercies really are new. If I ever write another testimony, I hope I will be able to confess that the Lord counted me faithful in whatever He had planned for me, but if not I know it doesn’t matter. For His people, no matter the circumstances, our testimony will always end the same way, with the Lord blessing us in a mighty way.
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