Monday, 12 January 2015

A PERSONAL TESTIMONY, THE REDEMPTION OF FAILURE- GOD IS GREATER THAN MY FAILURES – PART 8 OF 9


I want to share a very personal testimony to illustrate the point – that God will work even our greatest failures for the good – simply on the basis of His love for us. 
I grew up in England.  As a family we went to church at Christmas, Easter and for weddings.  It was the thing to do.
In my teens and early adulthood I would have described myself as an atheist but could always be counted on to argue either side of the ‘God question’.  I have always enjoyed a good debate.
When I was twenty-one I immigrated to Canada, I couldn’t wait to find my independence.  The only so-called ‘spiritual experience’ I had in those years was when the plane touched down in Toronto and I had this overwhelming feeling of ‘being home’.
I worked primarily in sales and did quite well.  When I turned thirty I and two colleagues started up our own audio-visual company.  We were successful, brash and arrogant.  There was even appoint where the three of us were seriously considering leasing identical Porsche 928’s to make a public display of our success.
In four short years we has a staff of twenty-five and moved into our own new building.  Then came an economic turndown and we crashed with it.  In March of 1986 we filed for bankruptcy.
In this midst of this crisis, the greatest failure of my life, I cried out aloud, “God, if you’re there, help me!”  
I had completely come to the end of self and had nowhere else to turn. I had failed. Spectacularly. A cry from the heart of a wretched soul.  I like to refer to those six short words as my prayer of salvation.  
But God is so much bigger than my failure.  In that instant, in that split-second, in the blink of an eye, God showed up.
It would take many pages to explain all the details of what happened - but that evening, for the very first time, I prayed.  Don’t ask me what I prayed – I don’t remember.  I started to read the Bible and little-by-little I came to know God and the person of Jesus Christ.
A few weeks later I went to a local restaurant with my next-door neighbours, Wayne and Barbara.   We had become good friends.  I forget the context of our conversation but I do remember saying the words, “Since I have become a Christian…”  At that moment the Holy Spirit showed up.  The only way I can describe it is an overwhelming sense of peace and warmth.  It was as though I had just gulped down a swig of the finest single-malt whiskey and felt the warmth that radiates from within.
I must confess that in those few moments I had no idea what was happening to me.  There was no doubt in my mind though that this was a ‘God-thing’.
When I shared this experience with some friends, whom I knew to be Christians, they explained quoting Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
I want to briefly interject to say that this was my experience.  Not everyone will have the same experience as me.  There are probably many who read this testimony that have simply grown up knowing God and cannot remember a time when God was not present in their lives.
So there you have it, God had taken the greatest failure of my life, working it for my good according to His great promise, and giving me the greatest success of my life – to be made a co-heir with Christ in the Kingdom of God! 
And let me add that He didn’t stop there. The cascading blessings out of that cry for help have never ended.  Eighteen months later God brought Wendy into my life and this past September we celebrated 25-years of marriage.  
I hasten to add that when Wendy and I met, I had absolutely nothing.  God had plucked me clean and was starting a whole new rebuilding project which continues to this day.
In his generosity God provided me with a wife who, along with many other things, came with a cottage on Baptiste Lake, and many friendships including that of Steve and Angie Breathour, which brings me full-circle to the email from Steve that has given me the opportunity to share these precious lessons learned.
Being able to share these thoughts and short testimony with you is yet another of those things that I hope God is working together for our respective and collective good, for those of us who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.