Today was a “Testimony Sunday.” Instead of Pastor Steve preaching, we heard three powerful testimonies from longtime members of Celebration. The first came from a man who had a car fall on him while he was under it working on the brakes and it slipped off the jacks. When he told God he was ready to go home, the Lord replied, “Your work is not done.” He woke up three weeks later in the hospital. Then, about two years ago he came down with pneumonia; three hours after the hospital sent him, an ambulance had to take him back. That required a 45-day hospital stay and six months of recuperation. As he lay there one day and talked to God, the Lord again told him his work wasn’t done. He continues to tell other people in the grocery store and elsewhere about God. Steve noted at the end of the talk, “If God isn’t done with you, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
The second testimony came from a member who was separated from his wife when he started coming to Celebration 12 years ago. He and his wife had been through a rough patch and after some conflict, he withdrew. He talked about how the devil kept whispering to him and using things like friends who had gotten divorced talking about how great things were. Finally, he and his wife agreed they were finished and four months later went before a judge and told him it was over. However, nine months later his grandfather died and as they discussed caring for the kids while he was at the funeral, he felt his love for her coming alive. Eventually they forgave each other and agreed they wanted to get back together. Thinking they would have to remarry, when they checked with the courthouse and their attorneys, they learned their divorce papers had never been filed. This year they celebrate their 25th anniversary.
The third testimony came from a woman who had grown up in church but eventually quit going. Because of some pain in her life, when she got introduced to alcohol she let it become her source of hope. Every weekend she drank to numb the pain. One weekend, though, the plans she had made got canceled and she started thinking about ways she could end her life. She went into the bathroom and as she shut the door and touched the doorknob, it brought back memories of every person who had ever witnessed to her. Instantly, her mood changed from one of depression and suicide to joy at the thought of a life with God.
“I remember calling out to God, ‘I will serve you every day of my life,’” she said. “It happened in an instant. I remember laying back on the floor and being full of joy. I called my mom and she rushed home from work and I said, ‘Mom, I got saved today.’ I had been on that journey the devil wanted me to take. I was in his grip and in that second God took me out of his grip.”
All in all, a day that demonstrated the truth of Revelation 12:11: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . .”