I have always liked stories. Whether they are fictional stories of films like Forrest Gump, novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, or hearing about personal accounts of how difficult situations had been overcome. A captivating story, fiction or non-fiction, can have great impact. And I have experienced that impact numerous times growing up as I think I was quite impressionable as a child and teenager before becoming a Christian. However, the problem with these stories that I am referring to, regardless of how inspiring they may be (and many definitely are), is that many of them are rooted in something fallible, feeble, and dying: humanity. None of these stories will have an eternal effect and none of them will take us places that really matter in the grand scheme. It is the Christian testimony that can really have an everlasting power.
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story– those he redeemed from the hand of the foe… (Psalm 107:2)
Personally, I believe that God has put people with powerful testimonies around me in order to provide a starting point and general inspiration in my growing Christian walk. For instance, when my soon-to-be wife first became a Christian in late 2014, it was difficult to digest and support the lifestyle changes she was going through. It was not that I was an atheist at the time but I had no deep link to any idea of deity. Because of my love for her, I decided and committed myself to giving her a chance and observing what she was going through. Knowing how difficult and oppressing it was for her to grow up in a strict Moslem household, I remember being amazed that suddenly she was not as bitter and angry at her past anymore. She told me boldly that the reason for that was the love that we can only experience through Jesus Christ.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Her testimony of how her anger and fears slowly started to disappear because of her faith was also the starting point for me to be led towards Jesus. It is difficult to say whether there was a change happening spiritually inside of me from the time my fiancée told me about Jesus. I think at first it was merely head knowledge about Christianity, for which I definitely had a general interest.
It was not until March of 2015 when I heard another testimony that I would consider myself a born-again Christian. As part of my university film course, I had to find a subject for a short documentary. Since my fiancée was starting to become more involved in a local church, I thought it might be interesting to contact this church and see if somebody would be willing to be filmed and have their story told. It is interesting looking back that I did not make that decision because of my interest in the faith. It was merely a practical decision, I thought, because the connection with my fiancée and the church was already established. To make a long, life changing story short, I ended up filming a testimony of a young, God-loving woman who, through the love of Christ, overcame a past that was filled with abuse, fear, resentment, and hopelessness. Similar to my fiancée’s story of coming to faith, God presented me with another testimony that will stay with me forever.
Now, about a year and a half after my fiancée became a Christian, I have my own testimony to share: growing up with a disheartening and depressing speech impediment, I saw little to no hope for my future. The term future used to describe the scariest aspects of my life. However, after many unsuccessful years of therapy and loneliness due to isolating myself, Christ showed me that my identity is not in my circumstances but in Him, who is perfect and all-satisfying.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
I love sharing my testimony whenever I get the chance to. Although I am still in the early stages of my faith, the changes and recreation that God has brought into my life are becoming clearer to me more and more. God uses the impact of Christian testimonies in ways that I was not aware of, and I pray that I can inspire others with my story just like I have been inspired.