For the past four months I have been part of a small church plant in the United States of America, and every week I had have the privilege of hearing testimony after testimony of the amazing work God is doing through this small local church.
Hearing these stories always serves to encourage me, and grow my faith in what God can do through each one of us. As such, from now on, this column is going to be the mouthpiece for the expression of these stories. May they encourage and strengthen you to step out in faith in your own life and see the hand of God move mightily.
The story of today: my own testimony
Over the past year and a half I have been dealing with a health problem. Minor in comparison to what many others are dealing with, I'm sure, but enough to affect my daily life and on many occasion cause me to cry out to God, "Why?!? Why is this happening to me? Why is my body betraying me like this? Make it stop!!!"
Not coincidentally, my health problem began about 3 months after I grew to love and walk more faithfully with God than ever before. In my finite human understanding, all I could see was that when I started giving God more, He took away more â much more than I felt I had bargained for.
So here I was: sick, frustrated, and confused. Every day became a struggle in a whole new way and things I had always taken for granted began to disappear left and right. I felt like I had nothing to hold on to except for God, and most of the time I didn't even want to hold on to Him â because what good was that doing? I would stare at myself in the mirror and think, "How can I make this end?"
Close friends would praise me for my faithfulness in sticking around and walking this out with God, rather than without Him, when in reality it was more like "where else can I even go?" I was discouraged, weak, and broken-hearted.
The first time I told this story it was with the intention to share a few pieces of wisdom I had picked up along the journey. Primarily because I felt they would be helpful, but also because the trial had not yet ended.
I share my story this time as a testimony. My sickness was related to a sleep-disorder that was never properly diagnosed (though I visited several doctors) and was therefore never able to be medically treated. Early on in the struggle I was given several words from God related to sleep. Psalm 4, verse 8, for instance: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, keep me safe."
I also felt Him say to me, "you will never struggle with sleep again, you will have perfect sleep." This was the sweetest word of all because it both acknowledged that something really was going on with my sleep (not just my imagination), and that God was in it with me â though I had difficulty trusting it all throughout the process.
I think I had difficulty believing it really was God (even though it sounded just like Him) because God spoke it into my spirit, rather than through another person or through His word, and there was absolutely no evidence in the present to suggest that it would come to pass.
Every night I would go to sleep hopeful, and wake up disappointed. Thankfully, His faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. All it takes is faith as small as a mustard seed (see Matthew chapter 17, verse 20), which in my experience, is just enough to keep you holding on to Jesus in the valley.
It has been a year since then, and I can testify with joy that that Lord was faithful to His word. My life changed from weeks and months of sleepless nights, with residual exhaustion during the day, to the perfect sleep I'd been promised and no fear of losing it again in the future.
That is not to say that there was not a process involved in getting out of that trial, and tending my heart through the healing, but God is good, and always faithful to His word. Just keep holding on to Him through the process, and there will be an amazing testimony at the end. Remember, if the victory has not come yet, Jesus is not finished. This is the promise of God through His resurrection on the cross.
I want to invite anyone who is going through something similar and in need of encouragement to contact me. I would love to pray with you and help you hear God for a promise of your own to carry you through the space between sickness and healing.
Tina Hakimi is an Arizonian- Australian writer. She would love to drink a proper cappuccino at some point in the near future, but is hindered by her current planting in American soil. She enjoys writing as her only creative outlet, because unfortunately the Lord has not blessed her with a voice to sing (what she wishes could have been her creative outlet). She can be contacted with comments, questions, or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tina Hakimi's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tina-hakimi.html