Have you ever been wondering about certain developments in your life that did not make any sense – like unexpected difficulties, disappointing obstacles, or even terrible tragedies?
When I look at my past and present, I notice a strange paradox, which has baffled me greatly until these very days. I have been a believer for 35 years and a minister for 30, and during all this time, on the one hand, I have had a relative success in ministry, including launching and expanding big projects like planting the church “Desert Flowers,” opening an outreach center in Tel Aviv for drug addicts and the homeless, a rehabilitation center for men in Beersheba and a Women’s Shelter for victims of violence and abuse.
On the other hand, however, during all these years in my personal life I have been facing one serious problem after another. We were watching our son suffer from progressive muscular dystrophy since early childhood and die at the age of eighteen. Several years later my wife Olga started having acute backaches that turned her, a young and energetic woman, into a handicapped person. And finally, when in October she decided to undergo an operation and for the first time in the last four years we started hoping for a significant improvement, three weeks after the surgery she fell and ended up with a broken ankle, which threw her many months back in her recovery and made it a much farther and more difficult goal to achieve than before.
All these facts together seemed like puzzle pieces that would not come together to form one picture. While caring for and expanding our ministry I felt like “driving with the handbrake on” because of all the difficulties that characterized my personal life. I had to invest in them a lot of time and energy that could have been used for the ministry, and I saw no logic in this situation. I just knew I had to stay faithful to God and keep serving Him no matter what, and I comforted myself with a thought that one day in heaven I would know all the answers…
And then one day these words of Jesus came to my mind: “You shall be my witnesses”. I had always understood these words only in the sense that we should testify before other people about our Savior and His Good News, but then I realized that our very life is a testimony about Him – with all its ups and downs, victories and failures, difficulties and successes. Each of us runs the race that is set before him or her and eventually joins the great cloud of His witnesses with a unique testimony which He has chosen for us and has given us. For example, it was not Peter, but Jesus who chose “by what manner of death he should glorify God”. In Hebrews 11 we read about God’s witnesses, some of whom were miraculously delivered from destruction, while others suffered much and even met tragic death, but all of them bore a meaningful, powerful testimony for the Lord!
So what is the logic in my life? What testimony am I for my God and Savior? I believe that my life shows that God can start and raise big ministry projects through anyone – even a simple guy like me, who is neither a very gifted leader, nor a profound theologian or a very energetic person, and who in addition has got so many limitations and obstacles along the way in his family life. I believe that this is the testimony the Lord chose for me, by which I should glorify Him, and this understanding finally brought peace into my thoughts and a great encouragement to my heart.
This is what I wanted so much to share with you this time. May God bless you and keep you, dear brothers and sisters, and may He help us all be His powerful testimony – testimony of His love, of His grace and of His might.