Article of the week: Giving everything to God
14 November 2020
In the first of her two-part testimony, Elaine Humphries (Cardiff Canton) writes about her journey back to the Army and God
I HAVE been a Christian for almost 50 years. I was brought up in The Salvation Army, but I left at the age of 19. Since then I have attended many different churches. However, my faith waned as I saw people falling down in the Holy Spirit, which made me quite fearful of it happening to me. So I would not open myself up to God in church.
I regularly prayed and read my Bible, but I didn’t witness – and was even embarrassed by Christians who did. However, all that changed in August last year when I bumped into an old friend, Peter. Through him, I started volunteering at a Salvation Army charity shop.
A few weeks later, as I was waking up one morning, I heard God’s audible voice: ‘You’ve got to go to the Army.’ The next Sunday I attended Cardiff Canton Corps. At that point it was a complete mystery why God wanted me to go there.
I continued to attend every Sunday. Every time, as I entered the hall and saw the soldiers in their uniforms, it would be like a knife digging into me. I soon realised that it was God telling me that he wanted me to become a soldier. However, at that time I did not feel that I could sign the soldier’s covenant.
In December Satan started attacking me with doubts about the validity of the Creation story in the Bible. But that all changed in January this year when the corps officer stood up at the beginning of the meeting to say that God had told him to change the theme of the meeting. Every song and Bible reading was about God’s creation. After the meeting, I asked a soldier to kneel at the mercy seat with me. Everyone stayed and prayed for me. Their prayers must have been powerful. When I got home, the Holy Spirit came upon me showing me how much love there was. I felt that I had a power I had never experienced before.
During the following week, however, there seemed to be some sort of blockage that I really couldn’t explain. Then, on the Saturday evening, I was listening to an online sermon by John Piper entitled ‘How to experience the outpouring of God’s love’. He spoke about how we need to experience the love of God, and that it needs to be something that you don’t just know in your head but experience in your heart.
In the meeting the next morning I knelt at the mercy seat. God truly touched me and I felt an overwhelming sense of his love in a way I had never experienced before.
My Christian life and witness blossomed from that point.
I didn’t just have the desire to witness, but I was actually excited about doing so.
Over the next couple of months Satan continued attacking me. I would have regrets and doubts. Also, he brought back to my memory people that I had forgotten even existed, reminding me of how they had treated me. This became frustrating – but at the same time I knew that if Satan was attacking me, The Salvation Army must be where God wanted me to be. In the end, I learnt to pray for those who had treated me badly.
A couple of months later God kept showing me Matthew 19:21, where Jesus says: ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor.’ I suspected that God wanted me to sell my stamp collection, but I didn’t want to believe it. During the following weeks it became clear that God did want me to donate my stamp collection to charity.
One Sunday morning I went to the mercy seat and surrendered my all to God – my possessions, money, time and hobbies. The next day I donated my stamp collection to the charity shop. After I left, I felt a great sense of freedom.
God was really at the centre of my life now, and was continually working in it. Hobbies and interests that had ruled my life became unimportant – in fact, their attractiveness waned. I started to feel that God had something bigger for me to do, but at that time I had no idea what it was.
Then lockdown came…
- Elaine continues her story next week