Experience gives authority to a testimony. There’s a difference between hearing a teenager speak about God`s faithfulness from hearing an old man speak about the same thing. Not that the teenager is saying anything wrong, but the old man is able to talk from a lifetime of experience. When he says that God gives light it’s not just because he’s heard others say so, but because he’s been in the darkness, and seen first hand how God changes that darkness into light. He’s been in the dark tunnel, and knows what it’s like when the first light appears in a distance. He’s seen that light slowly drive darkness away, and change the whole scene. He knows the thrill of seeing shadows fade away, and dark corners being lit up. His words carry weight, because he’s been there!
This is exactly how David describes his life. It’s been a life of many ups and downs. His experience disproves the idea that life will always be peaceful, with nothing but success, if you trust God. David had been tested, and tested hard. But all these tests had given him the chance to test God´s faithfulness. And David´s testimony was that he’d failed many times, but God had never failed him.
The purpose of a testimony is to give courage and strength to others. It’s a word from those who’ve passed through the wilderness - that there’s a safe road through. It’s an assurance from those who’ve been in the fiery furnace that someone keeps the heat down. It’s telling those who’re being tested that there’s a way through, and that God’s there to save, even if they don’t see him. So we do well to remember David’s words. We’re likely to need them one day.
Are you in need of encouragement? Let me suggest you read the testimony of some characters in the Bible which give us a rich variety of experience: Moses (Deuteronomy 32); Joshua (Joshua 24); Daniel (Daniel 2.20-23); Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34-36); Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3); and Paul (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
And if you have time for more, there are an abundance of autobiography books written by men and women who have experienced God`s faithfulness in adverse circumstances. Their cry to us today is very clear: “Hang on, it`s worth while, God is faithful!”
Their encouragement is for you, today.
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