Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Amazing Testimony


Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The following excerpt, from In the Land of the Blue Burqas by Kate McCord (a protective pseudonym), details the amazing conversion of the author.  (Ok, every conversion is amazing!)  Let us never doubt the power of the Word of God!

The author has just finished telling the story of a nun she met who was working in a shelter.  She was astounded by the love the nun displayed for the girls she worked with….



In the Land of Blue Burqas"Several days later I flew back to southern California and went back to work.  I shared the story of the nun and her love with a coworker.  He responded with the gospel.  I was furious and wouldn’t have any of it.  Exasperated, he challenged me to read the Bible and figure it out for myself.
                I took up the challenge.
                I’m very particular about books and always assumed that one must read them from one end to the other.  In those days, I didn’t understand that the Bible is really a collection of books written over several thousand years by different authors.  I thought of it as one book, so I started in Genesis.
                It took several months for me to read the book, but the results were cataclysmic in my life.  In the pages of the Old Testament, I met the God of the universe and found Him beautiful.  I was astonished, first, by how honest the Old Testament is about the nature of people.  We’re always running off in wrong directions.  I suppose I expected the Bible to make all those Jewish heroes look perfect, but it didn’t.  Every one of them seemed to put his foot down his throat, and that was a thing I recognized.  What really captivated my attention was God’s unremitting love, His patience and willingness to continually forgive and restore. 
                Somewhere during my reading of the Old Testament, I prayed my second real prayer: “God, if You’re out there, if You’re real, I want to know you."
                Eventually I got lost in the minor prophets.  I had managed to finish the book of Hosea, but only barely.  I struggled.  I still thought I needed to read the Bible from one end to the other to understand it, and Hosea had completely baffled me and the next prophetic account wasn’t any easier.
                Someone, I can’t remember who, told me to jump ahead to the New Testament.  They told me that was where I’d find the story of Jesus and I needed to read it.  Since Hosea was so baffling, I thought I might as well take the advice.  I read through Matthew and then started on Mark.  By Luke, I was pretty sure I was losing my place because I seemed to be reading the same stories over and over again.  I think that’s when I realized that each book in the Bible was written independently.
                At that time, I absolutely did not believe that Jesus was God.  I understood from reading the Gospels that the disciples did believe that, but I couldn’t.  I’m sure it was a reflection of the Jewish influence I’d had.  I was absolutely convinced that Jesus was just another prophet.  Somewhere in the middle of Luke I prayer my third seeking prayer:  “God, if this Jesus if You, You have to prove it to me because I don’t believe it.”
                I suppose by then I was convinced that God was real.  I’m not sure when that happened, but it had.  I would love to say I had some sort of revelatory experience when I just knew that Jesus was real and that He was God come in the flesh to save me.  If there was such a moment, it must’ve happened in the middle of the night because I just woke up one day and knew that I knew that I knew.  Much later, I read that faith is a gift of God.  By then, I had received it.
                 I still didn’t know what to do in response to what I was learning and experiencing.  I never occurred to me to go to church.  I really didn’t associate church with faith.  I continued reading.  The book of John was mesmerizing, the book of Acts, stunning.  I skipped Paul completely.  Somewhere along the line, I had learned that Paul was a misogynist, a man who hates women, and since I’m a women, I figured it was best to skip him.  I jumped ahead to Hebrews.  I had no idea that some people think Paul wrote Hebrews.  I just read it.
                Hebrews put the pieces of the Old Testament in order and explained how Jesus fulfilled what was written before.  I was astounded.  I had read so many passages in the Old Testament about sin, repentance, and confession that the explanation in Hebrews clarified how Jesus fit into all that.  By then, I believed completely that Jesus was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice who took away the sins of the world.
                I still didn’t know what to do about it.  After all, Jesus wasn’t in my apartment for me to lay hands on.
                Finally, I reached the first letter of John.  There’s an amazing verse there that says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”  The pieces clicked into place.  I knew exactly what I had to do.
                Now I should probably point out that none of this was easy.  At first I had been quite offended that God had the audacity to tell me how much in my life was sin.  Who did He think He was?  My life was my own.  Eventually, my desire to know God and my amazement at how beautiful He was overcame my attachment to my lifestyle, but that was a slow process.  I came to understand that I had to give my entire life to God, not just part of it.  It took me several months to agree to that, and it was definitely an agreement.
                Finally, by the time I reached 1 John, I was ready.  I read the words about confessing my sins and remembered the Old Testament model of laying hands on the sheep and confessing the sins of the people.  I was sure I had to confess all of my sins, so that’s what I tried to do.  It wasn’t easy, and of course I couldn’t even recognize all my sins, let alone confess them, but I did what I could.  I got down on my knees and began.  I confessed everything I could think of, and as I did, I felt as if layer after layer of chain mail was being pulled off my body.  I wept through the experience.  When I stood us, I knew that I knew that I was a new person.  I was totally forgive and completely cleansed.  I absolutely understood that.  I also recognized, with deep gratefulness, that God had loved me before I committed my life to him just as much as He loved me afterward.
                Later I found a church and, more than a few years after that, to Afghanistan."


Now, isn't that amazing!  The grace of God and the power of the Word working to draw this women to salvation.  AMAZING!

(And, yes, expect an upcoming review on this book.)

3 comments:

  1. What a WONDERFUL testimony. I LOVE that!! It grieves me so that many (dare I say most) of today's churches do not use the Bible in witnessing which I think just shows a lack in faith to the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 4:12~
    "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Praise the LORD!

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  2. Katrina, :-)

    Jane, It certainly is a challenge for us to read and know our Bible. How can we share about something unless we know it?!

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