Excerpt from testimony Nehemiah 9:1-10:39 (Shared Oct 29, 2021)
In the previous passage Israel people were desperate for God. They were fasting, confessing their sins, and spent many hours in Bible study, praise and worship. Overall it was a very serious time when they did whatever they could in their desperation for God. And now the title of this Bible study is “REJOICING BECAUSE GOD HAD GIVEN THEM GREAT JOY” The dedication ceremony was full of singing, praise and thanksgiving. It was such a beautiful time that Nehemiah records every person involved and highlights all the details.
This makes me think about a time in my life when I sought God desperately, and God delivered great joy. What comes to mind is when Jesus restored me on 4th of July 2014. After being diagnosed with cancer that January, I became rebellious and threw away God’s grace and God’s calling. I stopped everything and just wasted away at home as a couch potato. I reconnected with old friends and went back to my wild life of smoking and drinking, even though I was on chemotherapy. I really didn’t care about anything, not even my own health.
Then one night while driving home from a friend’s house, I decided to put on the Fish radio station, thinking maybe something good might be there. And the song that was playing was “We Won’t Be Shaken” by Building 429. While listening to that song I was really cut to the heart because I could see how I was shaken by challenges I faced. The sickness was just the surface problem, and the real thing I struggled with was my pride and my mistrust. Because of my sins I was shaken and everything fell apart in my Christian life. So when I heard this song “We Won’t Be Shaken,” I was so convicted and I broke down.
At that moment I called Shepherd Roberto. He invited me to the 4th of July celebration, the next day Friday at the testimony meeting. I wanted to go but I was really hesitant. Because I worried what would people think after I left for many months and just reappeared? Also would God really accept me? How can the damage I caused be reversed?
I hesitated until that Friday afternoon when I came to God in prayer, desperate for his help to do what I wanted to do but could not do. Then after intense struggle, the verse that came to mind was John 12:35-36. “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” I could see that the light, the clear direction I had, was to go to the Friday meeting. But I would not have this light forever. Only this day, only this Friday, was my chance. And if I did not take this chance now while I had it, darkness would overtake me and I would return to my misery; it may even grow worse than before.
So Jesus’ direction helped me to forget about everything, get in my car and drive to church. Maybe my mom was shocked that after 7 months, I suddenly said, “I’m going to church!” and left the house. Maybe at church, people would think this and that about me. But I didn’t care about anything. I just put my trust in the light, that by going this way, I would be restored in God as a son of light. That day I had a desperate struggle in prayer for God’s help; then God heard my cry and delivered me.
And on the way back home that night I sensed God was really happy with me as I saw fireworks all around while driving on the freeway. In view of all this and also Shepherd Robert’s testimony, I can see that I also have this tool of prayer. So in any circumstance, I must keep my trust in the light that when I seek God in a desperate prayer struggle, God delivers at the right time with great joy.