Recently we listened to Pastor Kris Vallotton speak about a very difficult time in his life. A number of circumstances came together to put him into a deep depression. It was 5 months before he saw a glimmer of hope,as he lay on the sofa day after day. With medication and prayer he slowly improved. He said, "The day I experienced one hour without depression I told the devil he should have killed me".............because now he (Kris) was going to tell the world how God saved him from the enemy's destruction." From that winter season of his life came the book "Spirit Wars" which is still helping others. Since this time of struggle he has used the winter seasons of his life to write books and bring God glory, making his story God's story.
Recently I read a story about a woman who felt it was her calling to help those God sent her way. She was going to a store one day and as she pulled into the parking lot a young man came up to her window, put a gun to her head and told her to get out or he would kill her. She him that he did not really want her car because so many things were wrong with it. He replied, "Get out or I will shoot you." At that moment Holy Spirit whispered to her, "He is suicidal." She said to him, "You are having suicidal thoughts" and with surprise in his voice he told her he was. She told him to go around and get in the car.....when he did she shared with him about Jesus and prayed for him, also breaking off a spirit of suicide. He left her car and walked away that day a different man. Her story, this one story really speaks of her faith, boldness ( some people might think more.....rashness) and God's glory. Wow. Don't you just love this?!
Not all stories are so dramatic, for sure. Yet I expect each of us has at least a story or two to share about how God has been faithful.............protective.............healing.............loving...........Whether we call them testimonies, faith stories, or "coincidences" they tell others how God is with us through the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
One of Joel's stories of protection has been written about here before. We were selling our car in the Philippine Islands before heading home to the states. He received a call from a Filipino man who wanted to see the car in the hopes of buying it. When Joel picked him up he had a buddy with him. Joel drove them around Angeles City, a heavily populated city right outside the base. As they drove the one young man started directing Joel where to go. At one point he told Joel to turn left which would take them to a rural unpopulated area. As Joel waited to turn he heard a strong voice in his head say, "Don't turn!" When Joel hesitated he heard the voice again....."Do not turn!" Joel knew it was God speaking to him and he immediately drove to a very busy area, stopped the car and got out. He then told the two men to get out of the car and leave. As they did, they stole his calculator but he firmly told them to put it back, keeping his distance from them. As soon as they walked away he got in the car and drove home.
It was only a couple of days later he heard about a man from the base who had been showing his car to two young men and these men had him drive to a rural area, where they stabbed and robbed him, stealing the car in the process.
Before Joel had gone out to try and sell the car we had prayed about it, asking for his protection because life was pretty chaotic in this third world country where people lived in such deep poverty and lack. God heard our prayers and intervened that day.
Our stories are God's stories and I never tire of hearing them or sharing them. It is always encouraging to hear the many ways God works in our lives. Our stories becoming His stories. They put the devil in his place of defeat and God in His place of glory.