When I was in my early twenties, I thought I would conquer the world once I stepped out in faith. I would have a great testimony or testimonies to reach out to the unbelievers (of Jesus) around me – of God providing success despite my lack.
I was recklessly passionate and charged into whatever projects I thought God placed in my heart, thinking He would bless them (in worldly terms). I fell flat on my face. Instead of whatever I touched would prosper, it went the opposite way. Whatever I touched, wilted. I don’t think that’s a good testimony for evangelism or building other people’s faith.
To rub salt into my wounds, a counterpart was soaring. She was excelling/prospering in areas I have attempted or like to attempt. Yes, she did go through valleys, but God always came through for her very miraculously (and obviously) – in ways I wished God did for me. She had many testimonies, while I looked at my “success” jar and saw I got no miraculous hope to offer the world. After a while, I stopped myself from learning about her life to prevent growing the seed of jealousy in me.
Then during last Sunday’s sermon, I had an epiphany that inspired this post. Someone out there must also be cringing with jealousy when he/she hears one testimony after another while being stuck in the valley for such a long time, wondering when it will be his/her testimony. That someone would probably find some comfort in my writings — of continuing to trust God despite the length of time and depth of the valley. Of leaning in on God even without the opening of the red sea or quieting of the storm while in the boat.
Over the years, a few people came to tell me how my writings have been an encouragement of holding on to faith despite the darkness. I thought they were being nice in trying to encourage me. Probably I was too focused on having a testimony (like those in salt&light) to reach out to unbelievers that I missed what God was doing in my life. There’s a space for such testimonies — of how God can turn things around — just not my space.
When God opened my eyes that last Sunday, I saw myself on another trajectory for the past season (and perhaps still is): To share my “dis-testimony”, aka sharing without a mighty wind testimony. In my “dis-testimony,” I could shine the light on God’s presence even when the journey of life becomes dark and fraught with trials and tribulations. And to share the lessons I learned from my mistakes and how to emerge out of thorny situations without jaw-dropping miracles but with a quiet faith in Jesus.
To trust and praise God in the valley is harder than on the mountaintop.
To trust and praise God when the healing, providence, or breakthrough doesn’t come.
To trust and praise God when He is silent.
Perhaps God wants you to share your story/”dis-testimony” too. About how you are thriving with God even though life throws you a lemon or a bitter gourd. People need to know a God who not only turns things around but also one who provides strength and comfort when things are not going well.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;Psalm 37:3-7
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
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