In response to yesterday’s devotional, I would like to share a testimony of my own, about the Jesus I have come to know. Not as men know him or circumstance present Him, but as I have come to know Him, as He has presented Himself to me – faithful in every circumstance of my life.
I remember many testimonies of this kind – hundreds really – but somehow the first is embedded with a particular tender dearness in my heart. It is not unlike Moses ,(in Deuteronomy 33:16), when shortly before His death, he referred to God as” the One who dwelt in the burning bush”. Somehow those first encounters stick, and have a way of making you cross deserts and part oceans.
I met the Risen Christ in 2005, and shortly after meeting Him, He lead me to enroll in a 6 month discipleship program in the United States. The venture would require about R 60 000 in fees and expenses. The air ticket and visa were extra.
Seems easy enough, except that despite having sold my house and cars, I had zero funds in the bank. And since I resigned my job, I had no hope of earning the funds required. Then, the visa. Anybody who has travelled to the States post 9/11 will tell you that obtaining a visa is no cake-walk. Essentially they require the following from any applicant: A fixed address, utilities to prove you are on the radar as a citizen, sufficient money in the bank, a criminal clearance certificate, and candidates should preferably not have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. (There’s some other stuff to about terrorism…. But, in fairness the last time someone mentioned my name and the word terrorist in the same sentence, was in pre-primary school – I think).
I failed every one of the required criteria set out above (except for the terrorism thing ofcourse): No fixed address (I just moved in with my sister after selling my house), no utilities (I cancelled all my accounts when I resigned), no money in the bank (In truth, I was about R 3 000 in the red), I had a history of drug and alcohol abuse (which I confessed on the application, since the Lord said that none would steal His testimony), and I had a record for possession (stubborn willfulness as a student).
I arrived for my interview at the Consulate; head shaven, wearing military issue brown trousers, a yellow Kaiser Chiefs soccer top that generates static when you walk fast, and a big wooden cross around my neck that would weigh down Friar Tuck. (I know, I know, but when the LORD said, lay it all down, I thought He meant “sense of style” as well). Anyhow, the businessman from Pretoria, who I shared an elevator with, wore a suite, and as it turned out, he was denied a visa more than once. So, this caused some concern.
As I sat in the waiting room, I started to pray. I laid it all out to God. I laid it out to the One who laid out the heavens and the earth. Funny how we do that. I think I may even have shed a little tear in the process. When I opened my eyes and looked up, there was a photo of a steel bridge crossing a canyon on the wall in front of me. The Lord spoke to me and said: “The one side of the canyon is your past, the other side is your future; and I AM the Bridge. You will get your visa today!”
I took hold of the word – that is the promise – and I waited. Minutes later a lady called me to counter No.3, and informed me that I had been granted a visa to the United States. A few days later, my ticket was paid in full, and all my funds were paid in one hit. Just like that.
Who do men say He is? Well, some close to me, even told me point blank that I would never get a visa. But, that day in the Consulate, I answered and said: “You are the Christ, and I believe you are the God of miracles, signs and wonders. You are the God of Your word. Every word. He lit up my bush that day, and its flames still burn today.
Have a wonderful day!