Rev. Regina Davis-Sowers, PhD
Luke 8:38-39 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
The act of testifying in houses of worship has nearly disappeared. I can remember attending testimony services, where people would tell of prayers answered and the unbelievable miracles that demonstrated the power of God. Just hearing of the great things God had accomplished in people’s lives helped to strengthen the faith of other individuals still suffering in some way. Those testimonies reassured us that God still specialized in doing the impossible.
I don’t know if it is because people prefer to keep their personal problems private, or if individuals believe that other people are not interested in their personal issues. But, whatever the reason, I would argue that, in a time when so many people are anxious about keeping their jobs and in which people are afraid of losing their healthcare benefits, among other fears, we need to hear of the things that God is doing in the lives of His people.
We need to know that we can still do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We need to know that prayer still works, regardless of what is spoken in the news. The constant barrage of bad news in the news and on the Internet can lead people into despair, depression, and destruction. Such consistent messages of gloom and doom can cause us to question our faith in God to heal the nation and its people. But, God is still working in the lives of His people, and we need to spread the good news of the triumphs and victories in our lives, to give hope to the lost and downtrodden and peace to the weary, just as Jesus told the healed man to do.
The story is found in Luke 8:26-39, Mark5:1-20, and Matthew 8:28-33. In the region of the Gadarenes, Jesus and the disciples met a man (Matthew shows two men, but Mark and Luke discuss only one) who was demon-possessed, living in a cemetery, and who was so strong and violent that no one could restrain him. Jesus, in His compassion and love, told the demon to come out, asking what was his name. The demon replied that his name was Legion, for many demons were in the one man. After Jesus gave permission for the demons to enter some nearby swine, they came out of the man, went into the swine, and then ran down the hillside and were drowned. The man was healed. Praise the Lord!
When the people nearby came to see what had occurred, they saw the man freed from the demons sitting at Jesus’s feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane. They were frightened by what they saw, so they asked Jesus to leave. As Jesus prepared to return to the boat and leave, the healed man begged to go with him, but Jesus said no. He advised him to “go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went throughout the town testifying to what God, through His Son, Jesus, had done for him. Mark 5:20 tells us that he started off to visit the Ten Towns (or Decapolis) of that region, and that everyone was amazed at what he told them.
What a story of victory and triumph over evil spirits and demons! Oh, how people must have talked about the greatness and power of God, which proved still greater than any other powers and principalities! The healed man was not ashamed to tell his story over and over again, and I just believe that souls were saved and people came into a new trust and faith in God, just by seeing the miraculous changes in that man’s life. He was free to have a normal life, unclean no more, and able to have friends and be with people again. Hallelujah!
Testimony is still crucial today. Psalm 40:2-3 says, “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” So, let me testify!
I would not be alive today, if not for Jesus intervening in my life. In 2008, I experienced continuous pain in my right side, and the doctors could not determine what was causing the pain, so they gave me painkillers galore and sent me home. One night, I felt in my spirit to write Douglas’s parents and ask if we could stay with them in California. I gave up my job and nearly everything we owned and moved across country from Illinois, even though friends and family thought we had lost our minds.
Before leaving for California, I received an email from a professor at Santa Clara University, asking to use my dissertation research for a new book. When she heard I was moving near her, she asked for my Curriculum Vitae. Within three months of arriving in California, I had a job teaching at the same university and, with the job, great insurance coverage. I made an appointment with a new doctor, and hearing how long my side had hurt me, she ordered a Cat Scan of my abdomen, and that is how they found that I had colon cancer. The cancer was painless, so it would not have been found without the pain. I am convinced that God sent us to California, so that my cancer could be cured. I did only four months of chemotherapy, and I taught classes while taking chemo! Douglas says I would be dead, if we had not heeded God’s insistence on our moving. This was God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!
So, if God has done great things in your life, then testify of His goodness and mercy to others. Give praise reports of all that He has done in answer to your prayers or other people’s prayers for you. Praise God for his many wonderful acts toward you, and remember that God is enthroned in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).
Father in Heaven,
Thank you for all the great things You have done in my life. Let me remember to tell someone else of Your many wondrous deeds. I realize others need to hear so they can believe, for faith comes by hearing. Let Your light shine on everyone today, and, Holy Spirit, comfort those who mourn their loved ones. To God be the Glory! In Jesus’s Name, Amen.