When was the last time you assumed something to be true, only later to discover you were off base? How often do you find your assumptions are wrong? My experience suggests more often than not.
When I wrote For All Who Wander, there were chapters I loved and others I had to fight for when my editor challenged their strength or relevancy. Those ended up being some of my favorites. On the other hand, there was a chapter or two I would’ve tossed without resistance, mainly because I wondered if I landed the point and wanted to be sure my illustrations were substantive and clear.
Imagine my surprise, then, that one of my least favorite chapters turned out to be one of the one most commented on to me. Chapter four, “Testimony Envy,” reveals my perception of how “boring” my conversion testimony is, and how I glamorized other believers’ “Damascus Road” experience. My concern was on multiple levels: a) readers might think the chapter was silly or not substantial, or b) I assumed no one would identify with or connect to my brand of angst on the topic.
My assumptions proved wrong. Time and again, people would mention this particular chapter, writing or telling me they’ve felt the same way. Either they wished their testimony were more exciting or dramatic, or they lamented what it took for God to bring them to their knees and how they envied a humdrum testimony like mine.
The grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, but whatever God plants under our feet is the exact shade of green He intends. Meaning, however you or I came to a saving knowledge of Christ is a story we can share for the glory of God.
If you grew up in a Christian home and can’t recall not identifying as anything other than a Christian, praise God! If you never stepped foot in church and broke every single commandment before meeting Jesus, praise God that He delivered you from darkness to light right when He did!
Regardless of how you came to know God, yours is a story worth telling because it is part of God’s story. He’s the hero every time. What Jesus has done on our behalf to rescue us is nothing short of astonishing grace. It is in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection we find the gospel, and He expects us to share this good news. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation,” He says in Mark 16:15 (and in more detail in Matthew 28:16-20)
Regardless of how shiny or dull you think your testimony is, if you’ve been reluctant to share the gospel with others or you get nervous about sharing your testimony, take a moment and read Acts 10. It’s a masterclass in how to do both, the story of Cornelius, a Gentile, and Peter, a Jew.
Keep in mind that sharing your testimony isn’t only about your conversion to faith — a single moment you “walked the aisle” or prayed to receive Christ. Sharing your testimony is as simple as telling a friend what God is teaching you right now or how He’s working in your life. Peter did that for Cornelius when he explained why he was willing to go to Cornelius’ home (Acts 10:28).
Then, in Acts 10:34-43, Peter shares the gospel. In just a few short sentences, he describes the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the subsequent implications to Cornelius and those present — ” . . . that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Why do we find sharing our testimony to be so complicated or intimidating?
What struck me in particular was the posture of both men: they were focused on God. Of Cornelius, we read that he “prayed continually,” and Peter’s vision from God was preceded by prayer. Would they have been moved to such swift obedience — Cornelius to send for Peter and Peter to drop everything and go — had their attention been focused elsewhere?
The testimonies of both Cornelius and Peter point me to Jesus, modeling a faith that is active and purposeful. Their prayer life was powerful and effective, and they humbled themselves to hear from God. And God, in response, revealed Himself to be Lord of all and without impartiality, and the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 10:45).
There are people in your life who are in need of a Savior and those who will meet Him because of your story. If you’ve ever wondered about God’s will for your life, you can always assume that sharing your faith is part of it, and you can do it confidently knowing it’ll point to Him.