Tuesday, 15 February 2011

With You I've Already Won

I love to hear testimonies of how God has worked in the lives of my friends. My confidence and praise in God increases each time I hear these examples of how the Living God has worked through a situation to refine and bring forth the gold of a faith which continues to triumphantly declare “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures for ever!” (Psalm 118:1).

Many of these testimonies are not what the world will find successful however. I was crushed when I heard a pastor tell us “People, non-Christians, need to look at your life and say ‘I want what you’ve got’”. This put such a burden on me, that my life somehow had to become attractive from the world’s perspective in order to win souls for Christ. This is not how evangelism works! Our lives are not the gospel – the gospel message is that Jesus Christ laid down his life for our sins, that we might be reconciled to God. This is the good news that we need to proclaim, with our words, and it is the Holy Spirit who will bring conviction and repentance as He wills, as we proclaim that message.

However, I believe that as Christians we can edify one another through our stories, which invariably are not what the world would find encouraging.

One such story is of my beautiful friend, Helen. She is a talented singer/songwriter, and released a couple of albums which received very positive feedback in the late 1990s, and was on the brink of making a big impact in Christian music, when she was struck down by ME. She has battled with ME ever since, having periods of respite, and then falling ill again. Life is a constant battle. Days of brightness and hope contrast with days of sickness and feelings of hopelessness.

We’ve been trying to arrange to meet up for months, and eventually managed to get together for a coffee last week. And I was so encouraged to hear Helen speak so intimately of her Lord and Saviour, of her love for Him, of her struggles to find her place of rest in Him.

This is real faith. When all is seemingly against you, do you continue to turn to the One who knows all things, who searches our hearts and minds, who knows us better than we know ourselves? Will you continue to give thanks to Him, this Good God of ours, when there are no answers? When we can’t make sense of life, will we bow before Him and say we trust Him even then?

And out of the refining process a gold nugget springs forth. Helen wrote and recorded this song in 2009, but has been unable to promote it since. Yet even if the world does not get to hear it, I know that her Heavenly Father hears her singing and delights to hear her voice, and her testimony of His faithfulness. And that is all that matters.


  1. Beautiful! How liberating to learn that the Gospel, and not our lives, is what saves people. Yet, if we are in Christ, if Christ is in us, people will notice Him, not because we struggle hard to be perfect, but because He is! And people will notice His touch on our lives!! This post is such a glorious account of this truth! What beautiful song!

  2. Dear Diana,

    I cannot agree any more with you, when you say that Our lives aren't the gospel! So true! Our lives have been changed and are being changed by the gospel but they are not the gospel!

    Love your friend's song!

    Blessings to you from Mexico!

  3. Petra - I love what you said, that if we are in Christ people will notice Him, not because we struggle hard to be perfect, but because He is. Yes, that hits the nail on the head! Thank you for sharing that.

    That thought seems to maintain that delicate balance between the truth that our lives have been changed and will be changed by the gospel,as Becky says, yet does not leave the burden on "me and my life" somehow making itself attractive to what the world holds dear.

    Love and blessings to both of you :)

  4. Hi Diana,

    I was really touched by this post and the beautiful music of your friend Helen. I know exactly what she is going through as I also have have been afflicted with "ME" for 25 yrs now- in the US they call it CFS but I would much prefer they use the term that the UK does. We have a new International research center for it at our local university now. I pray God will restore her health soon. I would be more than happy to correspond with her if you'd like to share my email address with her.

    Chronic "invisible" illnesses come with a wide array of challenges - but our Lord Jesus is there to meet every one of them! Praise God, what would we do without Him?

    Hope you are doing well my dear friend. I haven't been able to be as active lately in bloggerland as I would like.

  5. Diane, I had no idea you have ME/CFS, I am so sorry to hear this, especially as you have suffered for so long, and frankly am amazed that you have been able to produce such a great work on your blog! I only know of the struggles secondhand, and the challenges it brings to life. I praise God for your testimony that "our Lord Jesus is there to meet every one of them".

    I can only imagine how well you relate to this verse: "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23). Thank God that one day these frail, weak, decaying bodies will be glorified when He returns. And in the meantime, thank God that He meets our every need in His great compassion, for the sake of His glory.

    I have passed on your info to Helen, and pray God blesses you both and restores you both to health.

    Much love to you Diane, I've missed you! And I've just noticed you're back blogging now :) Hurray :)

  6. This was a very touching post, Diane.

    I agree with your definition of true faith. "When all is seemingly against you, do you continue to turn to the One who knows all things..."

    Praying God's bountiful grace and mercy upon Helen. May the treasure of Christ that is formed in her in the darkness be her greatest joy!

    She is also blessed to have a friend and sister like you!

    I love you dearly!