Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Vision (11/8/12): A Testimony

Image:  Johnny Farese
A testimony:  This experience has taught me that God's promises are good, heaven is better, but Christ is best of all."
I am not sure how many of you have heard the name “Johnny Farese.”  Johnny Farese is a member of a Reformed Baptist church in Florida, well known in RB circles for his longtime operation of a website that features the most complete directory of Reformed Baptist churches in the USA and beyond (CRBC appears on this list and we have had several visitors who have found us here).  He also sends out a regular email list with prayer concerns, devotions, news, and updates that is widely read.  I have never met Mr. Farese in person but have only known him through his web activity. Farese’s industry, usefulness, and influence are made all the more remarkable given that he has suffered his entire life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) disease which has left him bedfast and largely immobile.  On the front page of his website is this quotation:

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."

If you have not read Johnny Farese’s testimony, I would commend it to you.  It is titled, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”

This summer Farese sent out an email to his list saying that due to health problems he was suspending its operation.  Then, about a week ago, he sent out this update. I share it so that you can be encouraged by his testimony, pray for this brother, and ponder your own understanding of your present circumstances and usefulness in the kingdom:

Dear brethren,

Grace, merry and peace be yours through Jesus our Lord.

Oh how I have missed you all. Thank you so much for all your prayers and emails.

The past three months have been the most difficult of my life. In late August I was having severe chest pains and difficulty breathing.  Paramedics were called in to determine if I was suffering a heart attack. I refused to go to the hospital, so hospice was called in the next day.  They were able to bring the pain down considerably with meds, but the difficult breathing persists to this day. I have to lay flat on my back in order to breath and to manage my discomfort. My speech ability has become extremely compromised and I often have to have my mouth and lungs suctioned throughout the day. I have had to battle much discouragement and depression. My greatest struggle is feeling like a burden to my family.

Many nights I drenched my bed in tears crying out to God that I can't take one more day of this and asking Him to take me Home. But God in His sovereign wisdom according to His will for me in Christ Jesus is not done perfecting me for the Day of Glory. The scriptures say that we are to give thanks to God for all things, even for trials. They don't say we are to feel thankful. Though I don't always feel thankful I do give thanks to God for my trials with all sincerity. This experience has taught me that God's promises are good, heaven is better, but Christ is best of all.
Please continue to pray for me and my family as we adjust to all the changes in our daily routine.

It took me over five hours to type this email one character at a time using a sip and puff device along with some special software. Therefore I won't be able to answer your emails or resume the RB Online Directory and the Email Service. However, I would like to receive your church prayer emails so I can pray for you all.

With love in Christ,


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