What The Lord Has Done For Me | cfcindia, Bangalore
BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – MY TESTIMONY
Annie Zac Poonen
(An extract from the book WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR ME)
Up until my wedding, I had been very active in God's work in the medical college where I studied and in the hospital where I worked. But about 2 years after that (in early 1970), I was just sitting at home (a home that was not even mine), without much money and also having a small child to look after. I became very discouraged and started drifting away from the Lord in my mind. I did not do anything wrong externally. I still went to the church- meetings. But I was miserable inside. I knew that God had led me to marry Zac. But I wondered why we were suffering like this. I did not feel like praying, or even reading the Bible. In addition, our baby was keeping me awake at night and I was constantly tired.
At this time of utter discouragement, a sister whom I had never met before, came to our home. She asked me if we could pray together. I agreed and took her to my bedroom and we prayed together. The freshness in her prayer challenged me. It made me long for such a freshness in my own life. That sister then suggested that I go to her house next time for prayer. So the next time, I took my baby and went to her home. We both knelt down on the floor and prayed while my baby was sleeping between us. I prayed saying, "Lord something has happened in my life. At one time I was so close to you, but now I have gone so far away from You. Please have mercy on me and bring me back to You."
Then the Lord began to show me how I had wrong attitudes in my heart against some people. My father and I had become distant from each other. My husband's parents were very good to me, but I was not happy in their home, because it was not my home. The Lord opened my eyes and showed me that the problem was not with others but with me. So I started crying and said, "Lord, forgive me. I am such a rotten sinner. Outwardly people think I am good. But I am full of bitterness inside."
Suddenly I felt God touching my heart. I felt like a little child in His arms. He picked me up and my tears stopped. He filled my heart with joy and peace once again. As I started to praise and thank God, I found myself speaking in a new language. I was surprised. My church background was "Brethren" - and I did not believe in the gift of speaking in tongues. I wondered what was happening to me. I didn't want to be praying in that strange language. So I started praying in English again. But it was a struggle now to pray in English. I found it easier to pray in the new language God had given me. I just poured out my heart to the Lord and praised God in this new language. I felt in my spirit as if I was no longer on earth. There was such a great joy and peace in my heart. I came back home and told my husband what had happened. And in the coming days, he saw a real change in my life. A new freshness had come into my life. I felt as if the dry barren desert in my heart had suddenly turned fresh and green! That joy and peace has never left me since that day.
Since then, as a family, we have faced many trials from people who opposed us. But none of those things have ever drawn me away from my relationship with the Lord.
After our fourth son was born, I was suddenly struck down with rheumatoid arthritis and had to be in bed almost all the time. Even then the Lord kept my heart full of joy and peace – and after one month He healed me miraculously.
The Lord started a church in our home in August 1975. After that, we faced a lot of opposition from other Christians in India. We also struggled to meet our family's needs. But in all those situations, God stood by me and strengthened me and answered prayer. I came to know Him more and more intimately as my Father.
God then opened my eyes to the great truths of the New Covenant that He had established in Christ. He showed me that He had given me the power of the Holy Spirit so that I would not live for myself anymore, but only for Him. I saw that God wanted to change me into the likeness of Jesus – and He began to change me slowly. He taught me patience and helped me to overcome my anger and filled my heart with love for people.