This is my story – a story of faith. A story in which I once spoke in faith about how my life was going to be. And a story that ended up just as I said it would.
A testimony of faith
I was at a turning point in my life. For as long as I could remember, I always had a great love for God, but I felt like I was failing in almost every area of my Christian life. Then, when I turned 18, I had the opportunity to spend a great year in a community with many other people who love God with all their hearts. And as time went on, I was deeply affected by the lives I saw them living and knew that I wanted the same – a life in peace and rest and full of joy in all life’s circumstances.
Then one day at church, we heard about God’s plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11.) We were encouraged to come up front and speak in faith – prophetically – about how it would go in our life from now on. (Ezekiel 37:1-14.) I was shaking, my hands were sweaty, and I was afraid to go up and testify. But deep within me something really powerful was telling me that not testifying would be the same as not believing – and how would things turn out then? So, trembling, I went up to testify and said in faith: “No matter what comes upon my way I will always put my trust in God. He will totally change my life and no matter what happens I will stay in the church of the living God.”
These were strong words, but they were words given by God in that moment, so I believed that they were true.
A tested faith
Not long after that I had to move to another city. It didn’t take long for very hard trials to show up. I became very depressed. I spent months and months meeting almost no people and on top of that things became very difficult at home. I had to go through many things that caused me a lot of pain.
As the days went by, things didn’t seem to get any better and I lost all hope. But it was there when “I was really humbled in front of God” that I found a little bit of hope. (Lamentations 3:29, EASY.) In the midst of it all, I chose to believe. I didn’t feel great, but I loved God so much that I truly believed in Him and that “all things were working for my very best.” (Romans 8:28.) So, even though I did feel very bad about my situation, I decided that I was going to choose to have faith and hope, even when it seemed like there wasn't any. (Romans 4:18.)
Sometime afterwards, a friend found out about my situation, and he reached out to help me. In one of the Christian gatherings we went to I heard something that spoke to me. They spoke about the spirit of prophecy and how powerful it is. Then they invited us to testify in that spirit. In that moment I remembered what I had once testified. I knew I had to go up and speak again, because I realised that up until that moment, God had kept His word and had been fulfilling what I once prophesied about myself! I truly believed that all the things I was going through were part of God’s plan to change me, so I could become like Him.
More and more He was showing me that my outward situations and difficulties didn’t matter as long as I took things in the right way. That it was my own thoughts of what life should be that needed to change, that I should trust in God that His way for my life is perfect.
Then I learned to give thanks for everything, pray all the time, no complaints and no wishing for better outward situations, thinking that would make me happy. And when I believe His word, then I will receive the life I once longed for. A life of inner joy and rest – the life of Christ. That was the complete change He was busy working in me. So I stood up and spoke again in the spirit of faith.
“And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak.” 2 Corinthians 4:13.
A living faith
I found out that faith doesn’t mean that I have to feel great. Faith is simply a decision I make when I am tempted – it is to believe in God’s word and not in my own abilities, feelings, and reasoning. It’s an action. One that leads me to rest and peace. It has nothing to do with good feelings.
Many times I was in pain and my soul was troubled. (Psalm 6:3; John 12:27.) I was broken down and had to rely only on God for help. For many days and nights I couldn’t even sleep. But I never stopped believing. I was strongly tempted to doubt, but I didn’t give in. When, for example, I was tempted to be jealous, discouraged or to complain, I cried out to God and He gave me power to overcome those thoughts and not let them decide my future.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. When I started taking God’s word just as it’s written, I realised that I could also speak faith to myself when I was alone. I don’t need to have a preacher with me all day to hear God’s word. I have His word in the Bible. So I can speak His word out loud to myself again and again, so that faith comes into my heart.
My battle against depression, discouragement, jealousy, self-pity, hopelessness, etc. hasn’t stopped since I first testified. But I have found that if I decide to think of the things above, of the plans God has for me, nothing on this earth can shake my faith.
We can overcome all things through Jesus and by the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11.) It’s true; this has been my experience. And from now on I also want to speak faith to myself in other areas in my life. Especially when I am alone, but also when others are around me.