I had a ‘crazy’ friend who always made me collapse with laughter. She was unapologetically blunt, unafraid of anybody, unimpressed by what would impress most people – and the reigning queen of rapid comebacks and top-notch sarcasm…
…and, yes, she was Christian.
One day, she told me a story that made me howl.
She went to church one Sunday, and as usual, it was time for testimonies.
You know every church has those people who always come out to give testimonies. (This, by the way, always gladdens the Lord’s heart. Greatly.)
“I want to thank the Lord for the gift of life…”
“I am grateful to God for sleeping and waking up…”
“I appreciate God for protecting me and my family throughout the last week, and bringing us safely to church today…”
…and the church claps perfunctorily, mentally rolling their eyes – while waiting for the ‘real’, ‘big’ testimonies.
(If only we could see beyond the veil…)
This particular day, one of such people came out to thank God. He had had a mild cough – and God healed him, and it was gone.
Everyone clapped as usual. My friend sat in church, and while she outwardly maintained a neutral façade, she was inwardly irritated and disgusted. She said she thought, “Is it because of small cough this one is coming out to testify?!”
The service ended and everyone went home.
Monday morning, the next day, she began coughing. Lightly.
So she took cough syrups and drugs.
It didn’t stop.
Tuesday, she was still coughing – and the coughing had increased.
Wednesday, she was coughing. She couldn’t sleep. Her chest was hurting.
Thursday, she was coughing. Constantly. She could barely talk.
Friday was hell.
Finally, she had to cry to God for mercy. She begged and begged and said she was sorry for what she had thought and said…
…and the cough stopped.
On Sunday, when the announcement was given for testimonies, she was one of the first to raise her hand – and she went out and started with the same words she had despised just a week earlier:
“I want to thank God for healing me from cough…”
I could barely sit, almost choking as she vividly shared the story with me, eyes wide in horror.
I imagine God was chuckling too.
I once read about a really beautiful lady. She had a svelte, stunning figure – and she had a friend who was on the really heavy side. Both were Christians.
After sometime, she began to inwardly despise her friend because of her poor eating habits. I can’t recall whether or not she said anything, but the disdain was there.
Soon, she noticed she began to eat a lot and put on weight. No matter how hard she tried, the weight kept increasing – and increasing.
Finally, in her desperation, the Holy Spirit revealed to her how she had opened the door to the enemy through judgement and pride.
She finally understood how her friend felt. She had to confess those sins – and as soon as she did that, the weight began to slide off her.
What makes you able to achieve certain things quickly? Grace.
What preserves you in situations that prove unfavourable for others? Grace.
What gives you the strength to do seemingly difficult things easily? Grace.
Do you know that judgement, disdain and pride removes God’s grace from your life – and allows easy access to demons and the enemy’s attacks and infiltrations?
God will not afflict you with evil, but He can ‘suspend’ His grace – so you come to a humbling realization that, even in the seemingly mundane things, you are nothing, and can do nothing without Him.
Does it mean you can’t teach, correct or rebuke another when he/she is missing it – like the friend with the poor eating habit? Not at all.
Even sharply, at times – you should.
However, it should come from a position of meekness, and an awareness of your own frailty without God’s grace – not one of pride, judgement or disdain. (Galatians 6:1)
This is a lesson I have to constantly learn and relearn.
Paul was intelligent, widely-and-well-read. He prayed more than all the other disciples, studied deeply, and wrote about two-thirds of the New Testament.
His life was a manifestation of diligence, skill, knowledge, tenacity, consistency and understanding of fundamental principles – spiritually and otherwise.
But still, he acknowledged that even these ‘qualities’ – to be and to achieve – was all by grace. (1Corinthians 15:10)
When you go through the New Testament, it is quite revealing to see how much Paul spoke of the grace of God in different dimensions.
– Your ability to pray and command results is by grace.
– That ability to give generously is by grace.
– Your ability to work diligently and skilfully is by grace.
– Good health is by grace. (Trust me on this one.)
– Waking up every morning is by grace. It wasn’t your alarm that woke you. (If you don’t believe it – as someone once pointed out – put that same alarm clock beside a dead person.)
All the above-mentioned are more than human ability. They are all a function of grace – which is readily available to all who desire it.
An acknowledgement of this grace births humility – and thanksgiving.
Just ask my friend 😀
(Do you have a prayer request? Send it in. We will DEFINITELY be praying.)
(Testimonies? Questions/Topics you want discussed? Suggestions on the blog? Drop a note. All private and anonymous. We will share only if requested.)