Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Easter Testimony...

This past weekend was, of course, Easter and in South Africa the Easter weekend is always a four day weekend. Us South Africans get Good Friday as well as the Monday (Family Day) off from work. (I had a really fun Monday but will blog about it in the next post.) In fact, April is never a really productive month work-wise and especially this year where there are five public holidays within the space of three weeks, including the South African National Election that takes place next Wednesday (22nd April). But with all these holidays it does mean that you do have plenty of time to spend with family and friends, and this characterised this past weekend.

I was able to do my traditional (when I'm in Cape Town) 5 kilometre fun run on Good Friday. This is part of the build-up to the Two Oceans Marathon, a 56 kilometre race that takes place every year on the Saturday before Easter. Although I am definitely not a runner, I enjoy taking part in sporting activities and especially when this means seeing how Cape Town comes together to create great events. My new American friend Jamie also decided to do the fun run and that was also cool - although she is by far a stronger runner than me.

Saturday was the Two Oceans Marathon and I was an official cycling marshal for this major sporting event. I cycled with the front runners and it was my job (along with a few other cycling marshals) to lead out the race. This is an entirely voluntary task that I have done for several years now. But wow, do those top runners motor up those hills. The leading runners actually run faster than a reasonably fit cyclist can cycle - well, they certainly ran faster than I was able to cycle!

Sunday was of course Easter and it was great to spend the day with family having a lunchtime braai (South African English: barbecue) and a little Easter egg hunt for my nephew Rhyenn. There was also a pancake breakfast at church in the morning (before the service) and it was fun to spend time with my church family. In the evening I was part of a panel discussion at church and was asked the following question: "What has the living Jesus done for you that makes you so sure that He is real and that you have a valid relationship with Him rather than just an emotional attachment to a spiritual idea?" Well, the best answer to this question is to simply share my story, my testimony of God's goodness to me. This is what I shared:

"Wow, where do I even start? Jesus has done so much for me in my life. To be honest when I was younger Jesus and His role in my life was always something abstract. I had asked Him into my heart at an early age and knew that I was saved, but I often struggled to see Him at work in my life in a real way. It was only in my 20s that Jesus began to reveal Himself to me in real, undeniable ways.

One of the most memorable moments was, without a doubt, when God called me into missions with the Mercy Ships fleet. I had briefly contemplated some form of ocean-going missions, either Mercy Ships or Operation Mobilisation’s fleet of floating libraries, but as I had exams coming up for my Honours this idea swiftly disappeared.

However, once my exams had finished God brought Mercy Ships right back to the centre. I was cycling with some friends and the one person I had never met before (or certainly never spoken at depth before). We were talking and she asked me if I’d ever considered missions before. I said, well, yes, last year Mercy Ships because I’ve always had a deep love for the sea. She started laughing and said to me, "Murray, the reason I ask is that God has given me a message that you should serve Him on Mercy Ships."

Now this freaked me out because God had never worked like that in my life before. He spoke directly into my life. My heart was stirred. I was scared, but I knew that this calling was undeniable. The two years since then God has constantly and consistently been challenging me to make the most of my gifts, talents, opportunities, to bring Him glory.

But it is not just a one-way conversation – God challenging me. To be in relationship with God is a two-way communication flow. It takes time and effort. Time in prayer, reading the Bible, listening to music, fellowship with believers, spending time in His beautiful creation: all of these are forms of communication with God. I am by no means close to where I would like to be in this relationship, but I am so thankful that God still wants to be in relationship with me… and if I am drifting or doubting He often calls me back to Him again.

So I hope that answers your question. Thanks for asking."

It was really amazing because I did not come to the service in the right frame of mind. I came a little rushed for time and stressed. But I was amazed that God still uses broken vessels like me. One man came up to me after the service and told me that he is always so encouraged whenever he hears me speak. My words warm his heart. But it is not my words. It is God speaking through me. And this is a great encouragement and blessing to continue sharing God's goodness in my life.

1 comment:

gemini said...

Glad you enjoyed your 5km run. Not many cyclists will admit that they have being out cycled by runners but the top 10 runners are the best of the crop ;-)