Testimony

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

— Mark 16:15-16

Yesterday, I talked about finding people with testimonies of miracles that God has worked in their lives, as a way of strengthening your faith to the point where you don’t — in fact, cannot — doubt the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

So here’s mine. It’s a testimony of healing, and while there have been many other miracles in my life before and since, this is the one that made me finally take notice.

jesus_healing_the_sickWhen I was 19, I was playing in a pickup softball game. I swung at a pitch, but misjudged it, tried to adjust my swing and wound up getting a piece of the ball. It dropped into right field for a bloop single. As I stood on first base, I felt something odd in my back. I did a few stretching moves I’d been shown in drama class and didn’t think much of it.

The next morning, I was getting dressed, when suddenly all my back muscles shifted. I fell back onto my bed and managed to manoeuvre myself until I had some movement back, but the long and short of it was, I spent the next 26 years being very careful how I moved. I could still play sports, but it would be seemingly insignificant things — like bending over or getting into a low-slung car — that would throw my back out.

I took acupuncture treatments, which helped a bit; I started going to a chiropractor and a physiotherapist: but those were “tune-ups” that helped manage the condition but didn’t really stop it.

In 2000, my life started to come to pieces on a number of fronts. I started confessing sins I had been committing and my relationship with Jesus went from being an arm’s-length, I’ll-call-you-if-I-need-you affair to I NEED YOU – HERE I AM! Rather than relying on others to tell me what the Bible said, I bought a copy and started reading it. And the following year, I went to a series of meetings at a newly-opened church in Victoria.

The meetings were billed as “Seven Nights of Miracles” and featured some people with healing ministries, including Victor Emenike. He preached for at least half an hour, talking about Jesus’ healings and the authority He had given us to do the same. He then asked for people to come forward if they wanted healing.

Unlike the Hollywood stereotype of the “faith healer”, Victor didn’t punch people in the head or shout at them to be healed. Rather, he would ask what the ailment was and then listen quietly to what the Spirit told him. Sometimes, he would shout — usually “Loose from this person!”. Sometimes, he would lay a hand on the affected area and pray in a normal tone. Sometimes, he would simply say, “Do you believe Doctor Jesus can make you well?” and when the person said, “yes”, he would say, “Sit down. You are healed.”

Just about all the time, when someone would tell him their complaint, he would shake his head and chuckle, “Poor little devil!”

So I went up and told him about my back trouble. He took my hand and said, “That’s too easy! LOOSE this man from his pain! I command every muscle, every nerve, every sinew to come into alignment as God intended!’

I sat down.

Two days later, I was back in the chiropractor’s office. As I sat on the examining table, waiting for him to come in, the Holy Spirit said, “So what are you doing in here? You’re healed, aren’t you?”

I had the regular treatment — it would have been rude to have walked out — and left, and have not been back since. The persistent back trouble has gone, and other ailments have been minimized. I’ve also come to recognize the authority that Jesus gave me (and anyone else who believes in Him) over sickness and put it to use, healing others.

This I have to make clear: Victor Emenike did not heal me. And I mis-spoke when I said I healed others. I could have corrected it when I realized it, but it was better to leave it as-is, because this is an important point. It is the Holy Spirit, operating through anyone who believes and does not doubt, Who heals people.

“Miracles don’t cause faith,” Kenneth Copeland once said. “Miracles get your attention.” Indeed, they draw your attention to the Gospel of Christ, in which, as Paul writes, “… the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:17) Telling someone about a miracle in your life is intended to get their attention and bolster their own faith so that it grows, like that mustard seed, into a fully-blooming and fruitful tree.

There have been many other miracles in my life: incidents for which there is no earthly, rational explanation. They all tell me that God is alive, on the move and doing things for all of us. That’s a testimony no one can contradict because, like John (“the disciple Jesus loved”), I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Which leads me to my last (and probably most important) point: when you tell others about the miracles in your life, humble yourself enough to give credit where it’s due. Don’t attribute it to luck, your own intellect or (gad!) having a “charmed life”. Tell them that it’s God and while He did it for you, He’ll do it for them, too.