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A Living Testimony
by Rev Gil Smith

The young man was in Seminary and serving two rural churches. He was "on top of his ministerial world" with once exception - he had just gone through a divorce. Although he had only been married about two years and there were no children involved, this broken covenant almost destroyed him and his future as an ordained clergy-person. There was no dark, ominous, immoral secret lurking behind this scene. This young couple had made a mistake confusing the necessity to be a "couple" with the reality of initial love. The young man thought he had to be married to be a good minister....the young lady had always wanted to be a minister's wife. They thought fate brought them together when all along it was simply their own hidden agendas. They were not malicious, evil or mean.....they were both good young people from good families....who had made a mistake. But, be that as it may, this "divorce" about destroyed the young man; he felt he had committed a grievous sin from which there was no redemption and no if he - and Cain - were a marked man....a stigma bore upon his pastoral shoulders and a darkness shrouded his heart.

To make matters even more grave, a young couple preparing for marriage with this pastor, members of one of his rural churches, came to him one Sunday afternoon. They said, "We decided that we don't want you to perform our wedding; we're going to get Denny who use to be our pastor." The pastor was devastated. His mother and father lived only 30 minutes to the west; so he drove there quickly just to have someone say, "It's going to be alright, honey." After receiving those parental affirmations, he still felt crushed.

He walked out onto the sun-porch, a glass enclosure. He started crying and praying; and, the more he cried the louder he prayed. He believed there was no way he could remain in ministry. He was through...but not through crying and screaming at God, "Why did you bring me this far to bring me to this horrible place of destruction? Please, please give me some sign; please, please tell me what to do." As the sobbing subsided for a moment the young man suddenly felt drawn to the book shelves. Instantly, he reached for a book and it fell open to page 28. It was a devotional book and the first words his eyes read was the verse of scripture at the top of the page. A verse from Job ---- "I know the way you take and when you have been tried, you shall come forth as gold." The young pastor wiped the tears from his cheek....tore that page out of the book and has kept it to this day. It was as if God did speak to him on that crucial day in his garden of gethsemane...."I know the path your on....I know the problems you are experiencing...I know you are going to be tried and tested and tempted and troubled; but I also know that YOU SHALL COME FORTH AS GOLD!!!!"

That was 23 years ago. I'm not so sure about "gold," but I'm real sure that was a turning-point-kind-of-day of unconditional love and grace; and, I thank God that He spoke to me on that September 9, 1976 through the tears and through the pain and through the simple words of a devotional book. You just never know where He's going to show up and "whisper your name" you, my friend?

I Love You,

E-Mail Gil E-mail Lee


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January 16, 2000

For God so loved the world ...