I recently found this handwritten testimony in a folder, and it reminded me of the wonderful feelings that were created in my heart by the word of God that came to me on August 24, 1981. I think it was one of my early attempts at an introduction to the Suffering and the Saints book, when I was thinking about writing it. I hope you can feel some of what I was feeling in those days right after the Lord spoke to me.
A common cause of suffering among the people of the Lord is our own error. In this sense, we determine the amount of suffering we must face, just as a child determines the severity of his own punishment by the degree of his own disobedience. We tell our Father, by our lives, how much discipline we need. And you may be assured that it is the Father of the family, the Head of the household of faith, who administers the chastisement, and no other.
Exactly one day after the Spirit of God opened the eyes of my spirit to these things, I delivered this message to the believers who met in my home for our regular Monday evening meeting. And in the following days, it seemed that the more I taught it, the broader its implications spread. The more I read the Bible, the more of this truth I found. In the midst of discussions, new insights would burst into my consciousness. I was, in a sense, ecstatic. It was as if the Devil had been taken off my back and cast into a foreign land. I lost sight of Lucifer and saw only the hand of God working everything for my good – because I loved Him. And now, I surely do love Him more than I ever dreamed I could. I love Him more because I see more of Him – in everything for me, in every place, in every person, doing only what He sees I need done. Praise God! What a wonderful love is welling up in my heart right now toward my Father! What a thanksgiving it brings into one’s life to see Him as He really is – so wise, so strong, so good. Certainly, the more we know of God, the more we love Him.
In the days following this revelation, when its depth and breadth and height were constantly unfolding to me, I would find myself laughing – a deep laugh of the soul – a laugh of relief and joy and praise beyond praise. I remember looking up at the stars and seeing what seemed to be a new heaven – and laughing with sincere praise to Him who alone sits on the circle of the earth. I felt such a love that it seemed I had never loved before, a joy so complete that it seemed I had been its stranger, a peace so deep that nothing, I knew, would move it, and a faith now so sure that nothing, I knew, could quench it. This was life! Real, spiritual life! If the truth makes one free, then surely this was the truth. I wanted everyone to know it.
It was an experience beyond committing my life to Christ, beyond the baptism of the Spirit. Now I know why Jesus told those who were already his disciples that if they continued with him, they would come to know the truth, and then they would be made truly free. I was already freer than I had been when I was in sin, but this new freedom seemed so much richer, so much surer, so new, so fresh, so pure that it almost seemed that I had never been free before. I hope that freedom is given to you as well.