Podcast Reflection: Adriana Gonzalez’s Testimony
This year, for the first time at the Flourish Conference, Adriana Gonzalez, cofounder of Flourish Your Faith Ministries, shared her testimony. What a moving testimony of God’s work in her own life–work that was not just for her, but also for us who know her and listen to her.
After listening to her testimony, I was wondering why testimonies are so powerful. I think, for one thing, we love stories, and testimonies are stories. Secondly, testimonies make the action of God more real to us. He didn’t just act in stories we read in the Bible or stories of the lives of the saints; He acted in the life of this person in front of me. Thirdly, testimonies can act to increase our faith: If God did that with this person, He could also do something wonderful with me. And finally, testimonies can help us recognize the ways in which God moves in people over time. Of course, testimonies may affect you in other ways; these are only my musings.
Because a testimony is a story, to write a reflection on Adriana’s testimony may act as a bit of a spoiler if you have not yet listened to her talk either at the Flourish Your Faith Conference or on the Flourish Your Faith podcast. So, rather than summarize her talk (which you really should listen to!), I will only give you my reflection on one aspect of it that struck me (spoilers excluded).
The primary thing that stuck out to me (although not the primary point of Adriana’s testimony) was the way in which Adriana has persevered in prayer over the years when she has felt a movement of the Holy Spirit in a specific direction. For example, when she came face-to-face with the fact that she herself was a “mediocre” Christian, she began to pray that she would be really in love with Jesus. Adriana mentions in her talk, that a prayer like that, which is so surely in the will of God, you may expect him to answer straight away. However, God took his time. Adriana persevered in this prayer for two years. Many of us may begin a prayer such as this and after one month of noticing no change, we may conclude that that type of intimacy is for other people and so abandon our prayer. What a lesson to continue in prayer. And I do not believe that God takes his time in answering so as to torture us, or even to test us, necessarily. I believe he uses it to prepare us for his answer. During this two-year time of prayer, Adriana’s desire and longing for Jesus grew. This growth in desire and longing seems to me to be the beginning of the answer. It is God’s way of growing the cup, so to speak, that He plans to fill.
Another such example occurs later in Adriana’s life when she begins to ask God what He asks of her. She prayed this prayer for many months before receiving a clear answer from the Lord. His answer, which I believe is for all of us (listen to the talk!), became another springboard for deep searching and many years of prayerful questioning and learning to live in accordance with it.
At one point in Adriana’s talk, she mentioned that she felt as a horse feels with a blinders on: she was only looking straight ahead and searching for Jesus. Focused, persevering prayer like this is life-changing. I can think of a few times in my life that I have prayed for something for many months before the Lord made His powerful answer. Two specific instances I recall in my own life had to do with praying for reconciliation and forgiveness. Looking back, I can see that my months of praying for reconciliation and forgiveness was not a time of my calling out and the Lord sitting “up there” and just waiting until He felt like intervening. He was intervening during that whole time of prayer. He was preparing my heart during the longing and the crying out so that I could receive his grace. Adriana’s testimony has reminded me that God often works in this way.
The question I ask myself now is, What gift are you preparing for me Lord? What longing have you placed on my heart? Have I persevered in prayer until you have answered that longing? Or have I let my blinders fall down due to distraction or discouragement? I would like to take these questions to Jesus and to pray as Adriana did, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).