December 4, 2011
What follows is from an e-mail my son, Raymond A., sent family members recently. You might remember that a few weeks ago he wrote one of the posts for this blog. As you read this, please bear in mind that the testimony he refers to, when he speaks and preaches to people about such things as depression and anxiety, it is all based on his personal experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from about 20 years of seeing people dead and dying, often in terrible situations, as he served as an EMT in a para-medic unit. This included the time he spent searching for bodies and body parts in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center (Ground Zero) in downtown Manhattan in New York.
“I preached at Falls Church last week. It went very well. You can always tell the people that your message impacted the most by the way they greet you at the end of the service. There were a number who pulled me aside to talk more with me.
One woman’s son told her that if there was a God then she would not have suffreered from depression and anxiety or need medications for it. I told her I believe that God works through us and by working through us we have created the technology to treat these issues. Others have told her that she must have done something wrong for God to punish her with depression. I told her, ‘don’t believe it’, remember the story of Job. These things happen. We don’t know why, but God has provided for ways for us to treat them. Just that few minutes with her made her feel so much better. She said it feels so good to speak with someone who understands. This is what I believe God’s calling is for me, not to be a church pastor, but to do outreach missions to support people like this and give them hope through my testimony, and to let them know they are not alone.
Another man had fibromyalgia and lung disease from the chemical companyhe worked for. My story clicked with him as well. Everywhere I have preached there is someone like the people I’ve mentioned above, and if I touch just one heart and soul, then I have been successful. ”
I believe that one of the reasons my son has been successful in giving people hope, is that he has been in those situations. He’s not just talking about something he read about. He’s been there and done that, as the saying goes. He’s also experienced loss of faith in God, even questioning the existence of God. But he has gotten through all of that, with the result that his faith is stronger than that of most of the people I have known in the church.
You might not have had the same kind of experience as my son, but I believe everyone has some kind of testimony to give about how God has gotten them through some troubling times in their lives. I believe we can demonstrate love to others, if they are open to it, by just informally sharing our testimonies with them. Just tell your story. Give them hope. Give them good news in the midst of the bad news they are experiencing.
Grace and peace,
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.