Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Flashbacks: Only a Man

First posted December 28, 2009.  The testimony of Johnny Lang, which will bring you to your knees at its beauty.


If you want to hear Johnny Lang's testimony, listen to him sing it.  I can't get enough of this song. 

I first saw him on the Tonight Show at least a decade ago... this child prodigy who could sing the blues and play guitar as if he were possessed. He went platinum by age 15. He is incredible.

I accidentally ended up at his concert in 2008.  We went to watch the singer-songwriter who was opening for him.  Lang, appropriately, stole the show.

Nothing could have prepared me for his raw talent. Music boils inside of his blood, convulsing his body, shuddering out of him in perfection.  We were witnessing genius.
We were also witnessing a Christian.  He never said Jesus' name.  Sang no praise song.  Rarely spoke a word.  Still, I had no doubt he belonged to God.  Maybe it was the humility with which he performed, or the talent that so mimicked our Creator.

Finally, at closing curtain as the crowd shouted for encore, Lang performed a wordless guitar solo of "How Great Thou Art." It was worshipful.

I came home perplexed. What was his story? What I found was an article, and this song-- his testimony.

Here are excerpts from his testimony.  (Haylie is now his wife.) To read the whole article, click here.

I got involved in “adult” activities at a very  young age. [...] By the time I was 17, I was an alcoholic and smoking two packs a day.  I also started doing drugs. [...]  In my position, anything I wanted was just handed to me. [...]

I saw things that really burned me and turned me off to Christianity – especially hypocrisy.  However, what turned me off the most about Christianity was that I’d never seen the power of God move.  It was just a lot of going through the motions but not experiencing His power or His presence.  [...]
When I was 16 I met the most wonderful girl in Los Angeles while on tour and became great friends with her and her family.  [...]  I’m just so thankful that they loved me because I was such a mess.  They loved me through all that and God gave them a heart to stick with me. [...]
In fact, her father, Cliff, was like a second dad to me.  [...]
Cliff had become very sick – he had Hepatitis C and cancer all over his body.  [...] One night while I was there, I decided to go out with a friend of mine to get high.  We went to his apartment, but before we had a chance to do anything, the phone rang.  It was Haylie’s mom ... Cliff had just died.  I remember feeling relieved, because he had been suffering so much, struggling for every breath.  Honestly, I was more worried about interacting with Haylie and her family than I was about Cliff actually passing away.  I didn’t have very much backbone, and I wasn’t prepared to deal with the whole situation.

But I had to go back to the house.  While I was walking out in the hallway of my friend’s apartment building, I was suddenly hit in the stomach by the most incredible force. It spread from there and filled my whole body.  I had this soundness of mind and this extraordinary peace that I just couldn’t explain.  It was an incredible feeling.
[...]When I got back to the house, everybody was just beside themselves.  I was not the kind of person who could deal with those kinds of emotions.  But whatever had happened to me in that apartment hallway gave me a special wisdom to handle it.  [...]
When the morgue was coming to remove Cliff’s body, I thought it would be best if Haylie didn’t see that.  So I took her to the back yard.  [...]  All of a sudden, I got hit in the stomach again with that tremendous force.  It was almost like I had to throw up – I couldn’t keep it down any longer. Bursting out of my mouth came the word “Jesus!” right in the middle of our conversation.  The power of God hit me so hard that I started shaking in my chair.  It was like somebody grabbed my shoulders and shook me forcefully back and forth.  It didn’t hurt, but it was violent.  

Yet at the same time I felt total peace.  He didn’t say “Hey, this is Jesus” or anything, but I knew it was Him.  I heard Him say to me, “You don’t have to have this if you don’t want it.”  I was completely and utterly amazed, and I definitely wanted it.  I wanted it more than anything I’d ever wanted in my whole life.  I kept shaking and shaking until I fell to the ground.  I gave my life to Christ right there at that moment.
[...] What’s so miraculous about this whole experience is that I had not been pursuing God.  I despised Him.  I was living with total hostility toward God and He still loved and delivered me.     [...]

Read full article here.  Don't forget to check out the incredible song!

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