Why I Believe (Pt. 2)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God's Saving Grace 
“I had only heard about you before, 
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” 
Job 42:5

I came to know God in my early years, I heard about His great love for me and how He chose me to be in a relationship with Him.  The tiny seedling of my faith grew with this knowledge and, nourished by His love, the roots entered the fertile soil of my life.  But then, as happens to all of us, the storms of life came.  I was surprised by the challenges that I suddenly faced, though I should have looked at them as opportunities to grow, for God’s word tells us that we all will endure trials at one time or another. 
 
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:2-3).

However, during that time, I made a nearly fatal mistake.  When difficulties hit me and my life spun out of control, I didn’t turn to the only One who could strengthen, comfort and guide me.  Instead, I allowed the seductive lure of this world to draw me into the wilderness where a sinful choice nearly destroyed my life.  I lost sight of my Father.  But God, in His faithfulness, never lost sight of me. 
To put it plainly and simply, God saved my life.  He pulled me out of the pit in which I had fallen and healed me. He restored my marriage and mended my family torn apart by the agonizing folly of my sin.  And for this, I am forever grateful.  In “A Life Saved”, I write more about the depth of my sorrow and painful journey during my time in the wilderness.  But, even though that time was painful, it was in the wilderness that I grew to trust Him.  When I realized God had not let me go, I relaxed into the strong arms of my Savior.  When placing all my sins, my grief and my pain at His feet, He placed His healing hand upon me.  Though He brought consequences into my life that tore at my heart, it was through these consequences that I learned just how deep His love for me is.

“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. For though He wounds, He also bandages.  He strikes, but His hands also heal” (Job 5:17-18).

My God is great!  He brought me through the fire and made me new.  And just like the seed which only opens through the flame, my heart fully opened to God through His refining fire.  When I surrendered my will to God and allowed Him to take complete control, my life turned around.  Yes, I have seen miracles, for I have come to know the incredible saving grace of God.   I have learned that no matter how far we fall, we are never beyond His reach.  God can and will redeem us when we turn our lives completely over to Him. 

Since that time in my life, I have faced other challenges, both large and small.  But, I have come to look at the trials and dilemmas that sometimes enter my life as opportunities to turn to God for strength.  It was through my wilderness time that I learned to fully trust my Father.  And now I know, that no matter where God leads me, or what storms I will face, He will never leave my side.  He is my Savior and to Him I owe my life.

Living for Him,


Post Script:  As difficult as it is to reveal this part of my testimony, I believe that sharing what God has taught me through this time in my life is too important not to tell.  My prayer is that someone somewhere will read the words I have written above and be encouraged.  You are never beyond the love of God.  No matter what you have done or where you have come from, He is there, patiently waiting for you to come to Him.  When you surrender your life to Him He will bless you in ways you never imagined and you will find the peace that your hurting soul is longing for.

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13 comments

  1. It is so wonderful to know that we never fall so far that He can not save us, and it is in the wilderness experiences that we learn to trust Him. Thank you for your encouraging and inspiring words.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your heart, Joan. I know your testimony will be a beacon of hope for others who are struggling.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  3. The same story is true of me. These could be my words...amazing and beautiful expression of the redeeming love of Jesus. :)

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  4. Beth Moore had a thought several years ago that has stuck with me...

    Full redemption = when our pasts begin to work for us instead of against us.

    As a woman who has walked a prodigal road filled with sinful choices, I've had to surrender every part of my story and allow God to use it to strengthen and encourage the hearts of others. He will be faithful to do the same with you.

    peace~elaine

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  5. What a loving and encouraging testimony of amazing strength!

    As long as I am constantly seeking His word and striving to be obedient to Him, and even though I battle constant setbacks, I know that I can depend on Him for redemption. I believe that God restores my relationship with Him, and we remain united.

    Great post! :)
    Denise

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  6. Very well said and I couldn't agree more.

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  7. Wonderful that you shared this, and I know it will move others with your encouraging testimony. Believe it or not, Friday I saw the movie, "Cowboys and Aliens" and the country preacher has these words for a confused, sinful man who was to end up the hero of the movie: "God don’t care who you were, son, only who you are."

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  8. Very inspiring testimony, Joan...I can relate to so much of it...

    I especially loved this part..."Though He allowed consequences into my life that tore at my heart, it was through these consequences that I learned just how deep His love for me is."

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  9. Thank you, Joan, for sharing your story. Our God is so faithful! You are one of his trophies!
    Blessings.

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  10. Joan, I applaud your honesty and courageous testimony. I also went through a period of "wilderness wandering" - I went far from the Lord's pathways. But, His amazing and faithful love never let go of me.

    Though I regret the sins I committed, I am blessed to have been healed by the forgiveness of God's mercy.

    I understand what you've shared - and I am greatly encouraged by it.

    GOD BLESS!

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  11. Unworthy of the forgiveness is right where we all began our trek to the cross. God has made you beautiful -- a precious example of God's love. At some point in our lives we all go through a wilderness experience. And God is always willing to forgive. What an awesome God we serve!

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  12. Joan:

    Thank you for your honesty. I admit it is hard for me to share some things also, but I think it is important that we be open.

    God also brought me out of my own wildnerness. I had a few years as a prodigal daughter, but He never gave up on me.

    I'm so thankful for His forgiveness.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  13. Hi Joan - I'm so grateful for God's mercy and grace. When I was too young to make right decisions He lead me in ways I only now appreciate. Without me knowing it, He saved me too. Lovely posts. Your honesty will definitely be a testimony to someone who needs to hear this.
    Great post
    God bless
    Tracy
    ps: I'll be following your blog, looking forward to your next post

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