It is easy to be godly and pleasant and wise when things are going smoothly. But your true testimony is only evident in the dark, painful, difficult days. What you really believe shows most vividly when your reaction is godly, rather than selfish.

Last week was one of those dark, painful, difficult times for me. I said goodbye to a long time friend, who has been my prayer warrior for decades. I begged God to restore her health and preserve her life. I suggested to God that her testimony after a miraculous healing would be so powerful. But God chose to use her testimony as she died to touch the lives of all who knew her and who read her Facebook posts. Her goal was to live every day in God’s presence. Now she is.

Last week a gathering of nine godly people in the midst of Bible study was interrupted by evil. They welcomed a young man into God’s house and the study of His word. His hatred and prejudice led him to brutally murder them. In a moment, the lives of all those present, all who love them, a church congregation, and the city of Charleston were changed.

As I watched my friend accept that she would die and not live, her deep trust in God was unshaken. As I watched snippets of the sermon given at the AMEP Church in Charleston yesterday, I saw that congregation refuse to give in to the hatred and prejudice that caused rioting in similar situations in other cities. I saw the leader of their church encourage them to support what is godly and good, and defy the power of evil. In both situations, I saw those who love God choose to trust Him, even when it was painful, even when He didn’t do their bidding and they didn’t like His plan.

Because of my friend’s death, many who love God were inspired by her faith. Many who don’t know God heard her testimony. Because of the tragedy in Charleston, many saw a reflection of God’s love and forgiveness in the families and church of those who were murdered. God’s word was spoken on the evening news. I saw faithful testimonies during difficult times that gave evidence of deep faith, even when evil and death strike. My friend’s life and the response of that church glorified God.

May my response to the painful things in life be a faithful testimony that reflects my faith in my loving God, rather than my disappointment in my circumstances. May my testimony be more about my God than about my enemies.