Jon Long is the Marketing Manager at Catch The Fire. He loves, loves, loves, media and technology. One of his...
Catch The Fire Raleigh recently shared this testimony and we wanted to share it with you, too.
Five years ago I sat in my car in a parking garage outside my doctor’s office, trying to speak clearly to my mother through my sobs and heavy breathing. This was the day when I was told I had a sexually transmitted disease that would live in my nerve cells until the day I died. I told her that my doctor was comforting and had explained how my boyfriend (at the time) had transmitted this to me, that we had caught it early, and that I could take anti-virals every morning which would weaken the virus and limit any future pain or complications. She explained potential complications with childbirth. This doctor held my hand and explained that it was not life-threatening and not “one of the worst”, but wanted me to understand clearly that there is no cure, and that I would have this disease for life. She left to see her next patient, and I sat in that cold chair, clothed in nothing but a tear-stained paper gown and indescribable shame.
"I walked down to the front thinking, 'What am I doing?'"
Over the next few years, Jesus romanced me, and I started learning about what it truly meant to live in relationship with Him. I became compassionate for those struggling with viruses and driven with a desire to pursue a career in disease modeling. I became truly thankful for my diagnosis, as it showed me in such a clear way that God desires His children’s purity not because He’s strict, but because He loves us and wants desperately to protect us from the death that lies under the disguise of sin.
Accepting Caleb Durham’s invitation, I came to Catch The Fire State for the first time on September 4, 2011. I had read about miracles, but didn’t know what that looked like in the 21st century, and certainly didn’t think that I could be the recipient of the inexplicable, tangible hand of God. At the end of the sermon, Caleb proclaimed an altar call for physical healing, and much to my own surprise, I saw my hand stretched straight into the air and walked down to the front thinking, “What am I doing?” With shaking hands and voice, I explained the emotional and physical pains of my virus, and simply said, “I don’t think the Lord wants me to have this anymore.” The women gathered around me, and with hands placed lightly on me and voices like angels, they prayed that I would be healed, sharing visions of new blood and cold rushing water through my veins, wiping away the virus and my shame.
"I still didn't quite believe it."
I went home, cracked open my Bible with longing in my soul, desperate for confirmation of the healing. I fell to Mark 5:34: "He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."' (NIV). I scrawled, "I am healed" about 100 times in my journal, and thanked Him for His mercy. But I still didn't quite believe it. I called my doctor and explained it all to her (I'm sure that was an interesting call for her!), and she said, "That is great. I just want you to know what is to be medically expected: the blood test is expected to come back positive of course, because that simply says that your body has produced the antibodies to battle it. But if you want, you can stop taking your medication and see if your symptoms are present." WebMD confirmed her advice: The infection cannot be cured. After you become infected, the virus stays in the body for life. It "hides" in a certain type of nerve cell... Medicine can relieve symptoms, but medicine cannot cure the infection."
Six symptom-free months passed, but I was still worried it was coincidental. I was afraid to get blood work done; if the results were positive for the virus, I was afraid of how I would react. Would my faith be tested? I felt God tell me, "Go get blood work." So I made my appointment and stepped out and into that doctor's office in faith that Monday morning. Two days later, I saw the e-mail that they were completed.
The blood results are NEGATIVE. This means that there are no antibodies present in my body for the virus, which is the equivalent of never coming into contact with it. I called my doctor and she sat, stupefied, old and new medical records in hand, and kept saying “This is a miracle. I am so happy for you.” I lost my mind. I sobbed harder than I have maybe in my entire life. God- the creator of the universe, the great I AM, reached down into my body in September, in Withers Hall, and replaced my blood with His. He gave me clean, new virus-free blood. You see, He makes all things new.
"The miracle is His unbiased forgiveness and His unprejudiced love."
For days, I could not read or hear the name of Jesus without bursting into tears. It was too good, too overwhelmingly good, to know that it was the same Jesus who heard my cries and made me new. It took months of reflecting for me to realize the true miracle. We believe that God created us, so of course He can heal a disease. A tiny virus is no match for an almighty God. The miracle is that He took it up on the cross. The miracle is that He heard and answered our prayers from an auditorium in a public university. The miracle is that I’m one of billions of His children and He didn’t want me to carry the mark of my past anymore. The miracle is His unbiased forgiveness and His unprejudiced love. The miracle is that we don’t have to have huge faith or walk in purity for Him to love us. The miracle is Him. For years, I feared my future husband’s response in the moment that I would have to tell him the disease that I carried. Now, I smile with uncontainable excitement to not only present myself as pure, but to share this incredible testimony with him. I believe that’s what we call “redemption.”
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If you have stories to share of what God has done with you, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.