Your testimony is more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Have you ever imagined that your testimony could change someone’s life? It could even change history.
I had no idea when I was young, that God would use my testimony, to change the lives of others. I vividly recall being spit on, picked on, abused, bullied and made fun of by other kids, and I felt as if my heart would break. I would run to my room crying, wondering why others saw me as nothing more than an object of contempt and ridicule when I had hopes, dreams and plans for the future just like everyone else. I tried, calmly and
rationally, to change the various things that provoked the ridicule--my hair, my clothes, the way I walked or spoke. But even then they always found something to criticize.
The pain of rejection had finally dissipated by the time I was in Bible College where others actually liked and respected me. I had many friends and was even chosen to be the class speaker. God spoke to me to tell me that He was going to use my testimony not only in book form, but also in face-to-face communication. It was at a Full Gospel
Businessmen’s meeting where I shared my entire testimony for the very first time. I had previously shared about the illness that so deeply affected my childhood, but I had never mentioned being bullied, teased and humiliated as a child.
At that meeting, I shared my experiences and I watched God begin to move; tears ran down people’s cheeks, and to my surprise, they were weeping for me instead of laughing at me. I was immediately invited to another Full Gospel meeting and another after that. One young girl, who was probably only fifteen, came up to me after a meeting in
Pittsburgh to say, “I relate so much to what you said because I am a diabetic who is picked on, hated and despised.”
When I wrapped my arms around her to comfort her, I didn't just feel sympathy, but a deep empathy for her because I knew exactly how she felt. As humbling as it was to be honest God used my transparency to encourage her and ultimately change her life, and I give Him all the glory for that!
It was then that I realized that I had to share my testimony everywhere I went, whenever I was given the opportunity. My story opened the door to speak on my radio program called “Invading the Darkness” and then books came out. I was asked to speak at many different events. Little did I know when I began to share, that my testimony would actually go around the world. I was invited on TBN several times to share my story on a local program. This led to a national teen TV program called Two Worlds, which was only the beginning of what God was going to do. Several years later I gave my testimony on TBN Africa, millions heard my story. It all started with choosing to be transparent and getting over my feelings of shame when I realized that others might benefit from my story if I would just give it to God.
Of course I often felt ashamed to share such a humiliating chapter of my life. Just like you, I wanted to forget that it ever happened. My flesh wanted to leave the skeletons in the closet where nobody would ever find them so that I could make a fresh start, but God took away that shame. Of course the devil would come in with his fiery darts to say,
“Everybody thinks you’re a loser. Now everybody’s going to think less of you.” But I fought the devil with the Sword of the Spirit and the blood of the Lamb and ultimately defeated him with the unlikely weapon of my testimony.
I want to encourage you to step out, too, casting away your fear and embarrassment, to dare to be transparent. You may not believe this, but that may be your very purpose in living—your destiny—to touch lives with your story. Perhaps you’ve gone through terrible suffering but feel that you could never expose those awful, secret things to anyone. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you choose to risk it and give it to God as a sacrifice of praise, He will use it to touch and transform lives, ministering encouragement and hope to those on the verge of giving up. And in the process you will be filled up to overflowing knowing that your suffering was not only, not in vain, but turned out to be a blessing that might just change the world.
-- Steve Porter