Updated: May 27
We all love to hear a good testimony but, do we see the testing in the midst of a good testimony? We love to hear and read about the heroes of the faith -such as Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Moses, Esther, Peter, Paul.... and even Pastor Cymbala- and often times we think, why can't my life be like theirs? I want to be used like them! We see the fruit- the finished product but rarely do we ever see their process. We weren't present to witness their pain, their tears, frustration, doubt and the anguish that was sown throughout the years. Having seen that, would you have wanted to pay the price they paid? Would you have been willing to have your plans interrupted by God and be"On call" accordingly to His purposes?
These people were placed in situations they never encountered or dreamed of being in. They were placed in situations in the natural that they were not equipped to handle. Many times they were alone in their pain and their tragedy, misunderstood and criticized. These men and women experienced death of loved ones, persecution of the righteous, famine, prison, rejection, abandonment, abuse, injustice, and so on. The bright side is that God administers TESTS that we CAN pass. It might be challenging but, He doesn't ask us more than what we can handle. After all, its always an open book test that He will walk you through. He'll give you all the time you might need and.... if you ask him, He can give you the answers as well. #Winning
Let's review Pastor Cymbala's test thus far. Can we agree that he had more than just a pop quiz? He was unqualified but called to take over a dying congregation (of less than 20 people) in a tough, inner-city neighborhood at the urgent request of his minister father-in-law. The building needed major repairs and there was no money for even basic necessities as both Jim and Carol were struggling to make their own ends meet. As things began to shift through the Tuesday Night Prayer meetings, His oldest daughter, Chrissy drew away from not only her parents but decided to carry out her plans without God. As this is happening, Carol has an operation! She needs a hysterectomy and what a perfect time for Satan to threaten her with fear and distress to take her children away- seems like the enemy threw in a bonus test of his own. To top it all off, Jim had to function enough to preach every Sunday through the overwhelming feelings that were taking over inside of him. Several times he mentioned he would just cry out to God to help him pull it together.
THANK God the story doesn't end there! The Lord purposefully uses EVERYTHING for His GLORY! He will use your discomfort and "ugly" and make it beautiful. Let's take a look at what happened! A beautiful song came out of Carol from the ugliness of her depression, vulnerability and discomfort (pg. 61-62); a song that has impacted and touched so many people to this day. What else? Patience and Self-Control are just two, among many other FRUIT, that had bloomed in Pastor Cymbala's life when He had no control over his daughter or situation. When He surrendered to just BELIEVE, OBEY and ACT only when God ACTED (pg. 63), the Lord brought Chrissy back all on His own. Not only that, she followed her parents footsteps into success. She enrolled in bible college, directed music group and a large choir, got married and became a pastor's wife with 3 beautiful children of her own. Now if that's not winning, I don't know what is. Pastor Cymbala scored an A++ on this test and his family had also won.
Are you weary or tired? Don't give up! Your story isn't finished yet and You have a story to tell! "Be not weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap if you faint not" (Galatians 6:9) We all get tired of waiting. We all get tired of the devil taunting us or God picking on us but in actuality, God is "picking us." ( secret: picking us for testing = promotion) We all get tired of the stuff that happens to us but, only the ones that can rise to the occasion and refuse to give up, are the ones that will come out of the testing in VICTORY and have a TESTIMONY TO TELL! "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."(James 1:2-4). Perseverance means to abide, to remain under, to be patient beyond just an ability to wait. Waiting is inevitable but, it's how we ACT while we wait is the key to winning! Can I get a testimony?!
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Do you have a testimony to tell? Of course you do! Find someone to share your story and "call upon the Lord" together for both of your breakthrough!