Friday, August 12, 2016

The Power of Testimony


"In your hearts honor Christ, the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."(1 Peter 3:15, ESV) 


I had the opportunity recently to travel to Washington DC to attend an FDA advisory committee meeting.   Over 800 parents, children and family members were in attendance that day showing support for approval of "Eteplirsen", the first ever drug to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. 

As you can imagine, emotions were high as we spent the morning and early afternoon listening to doctors and researchers presenting their charts and graphs showing the outcome of the clinical trial.  We all were hoping there would be enough evidence to convince the committee that this drug was worthy of their approval.

By late afternoon the atmosphere changed significantly as we began to hear personal testimonies from over 50 parents, doctors, and boys who would be directly impacted by the decision the FDA was to make.  They gave real life testimony; and shared experiences testifying how this specific drug had positively changed their lives for the better. 

Nine hours later it came down to the vote. The basic question to the panel was this: “Will you or won’t you recommend this drug be approved for treatment?”  Those on the panel who had just listened to the same extensive presentations and testimonies voted. Unfortunately, the vote was defeated 7 to 3 with 2 abstaining. To say this vote was disappointing, deeply emotional, and extremely grievous would be an understatement. I have yet to understand how these highly educated committee members, with brilliant minds could not see the evidence put before them. 

I have thought a lot about this since returning from this trip. I keep wondering how they could deny the veracity of this trial. The scientific evidence coupled with personal, eye witness accounts emotionally moved everyone who heard them. So the question remains; why could they not bring themselves to take that final step and say yes?   

It makes me think how often people respond when we talk about God. I have had people say to me they can't believe in a blind faith. To those I would say, there is ample evidence that God exists. The Bible is full of first hand, eye witness accounts of Jesus' life here on earth.  (Start with the book of John.)

I remember how it felt to hear those fifty people give their personal testimony. I could feel the atmosphere of the room changed, as they shared their stories . There was no denying the impact of their words. Several of those on the committee, and many members of the news media covering the meeting that day commented later how they were touched by the personal testimonies. This was an extremely powerful time. 

Don’t ever discount the power of your personal testimony! The world is full of hurting people who need hope and encouragement. As we share our lives we can offer the hope that we have found in Christ. People want evidence that God does exist and how it looks in our personal lives. 

God has given us a unique opportunity. Having a child with special needs, I notice that  people are naturally drawn to watching us, if for no other reason, out of curiosity.  It is hard to open up. We feel vulnerable.  But as we let people see our struggles, this is the time for us to  be open and honest to share with them the ways God has shown himself to be real in our everyday lives.It may be uncomfortable in sharing but you never know how your experiences might change a persons heart and eternal decision about God! 


"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27, NIV)


We  offer evidence and personal testimonies how God has been here for us, but it still comes down to a decision. This decision isn't about a drug to extend life, but  one that will impact eternal life!  So I say to those who are still undecided about putting your trust in God; the evidence is there but the final decision is up to you. Are you willing to listen to those who have by first-hand account, offered you the hope found only in Christ? Are you willing to take that final step?  It is not a big step but it is a step of faith.   

Heavenly Father,

I ask you to give us opportunity to share the hope we have found in you. Give us wisdom what to share and when.  I pray  as we share our stories you will use them for your good and they will bring you Glory. Open the eyes of those who are still unsure to see the truth set before them. Help them to take that final step in, faith.

In Jesus name I pray,
Amen

If you are ready to take that step you can pray this short prayer from your heart.  "Heavenly Father, I am so sorry for my sins. I now repent and believe in your son whom you raised from the dead. I choose just now to receive your gift of eternal life. Come into my heart and be my Savior. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen."  

3 comments:

  1. Well said ... written from the heart.

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  2. Thank you dad, I appreciate your encouragement, more than you could ever know!

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  3. thank you for this gift....

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