It was as a teenager that I first attended church and heard the gospel. After a short battle with the Lord, I accepted the fact that He existed, He loved me enough to die for me, and I was a sinner desperately in need of Him to lead me. I repented of my sin and surrendered to Him as Lord while attending a youth summer camp. When I returned to church, I began to notice some of the testimonies of the other Christians around me.
I remember one service where everyone praised the great testimony of a pastor who had gotten deep into alcohol before he found the Lord and allowed Jesus to turn his life around. My bible study leader shared his testimony about formerly being addicted to drugs and running from God, before God saved him. My youth pastor was my bible study leader’s former drug dealer before he got saved!
It seemed like every ‘great testimony’ that I heard from someone whom I respected in the ministry involved alcohol or drugs or some other ‘big’ sin. When I felt God’s call to go into the ministry, I fought with Him because I thought that meant I would have to start doing drugs and getting drunk so I could then have a powerful testimony!
Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve had deeper discussions with many of those people with “great testimonies.” Nearly every one of them has told me that, in their opinion, the greatest testimony is given by that person who was saved as a child, kept from some of those major mistakes, and used by God for God’s glory. Nearly every one of them regrets that they wasted so much of their lives before coming to Christ.
Every testimony is great! Every testimony is of God saving someone who was lost and dead in their sins. But, maybe the greatest testimony is when God saves someone at a young age, and preserves them for His Kingdom.
Jesus is one of those people who had a relationship with God from a young age. Technically, Jesus had a relationship with the Father from all of eternity. But, His human self knew God from the moment of conception. In Psalm 22, he describes it as “from the womb.”
Please read Psalm 22:9-11 now.
As Jesus hangs in agony on the cross, He feels the absence of God’s presence for the first time in all of eternity. Rather than despair, He instead remembers the joy of God’s presence in the past. Jesus knows that God has been with Him for His entire human life. He thinks back on His most vulnerable moments: birth and as a nursing infant. God was with Him even in His weakest moments. God will be with Him still. Even if no one else is around to help, He can always lean on God.
He who loved us when we were children is too faithful to cast us off in our riper years. If you trusted in Jesus Christ at an early age, then use that powerful testimony to encourage you when you go through dark days. Use it to encourage others when they despair. Use God’s presence in the past to encourage you in the present.
I used to think that the greatest testimonies were of those who fell the furthest before they got saved. Now, as a Christian parent, I look on my children and praise God that at least one of them has been saved at a young age. I hope my son will learn the same lesson that Jesus learned on the cross: the God who was with you when you were young will still be with you when you are old. That's powerful!
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