Early Testimony

by Norman Grubb

When I was in the British army, God very plainly called me (though I’d planned another career) to join a little independent missionary group just starting in Africa.

But I wasn’t there very long before I deeply felt my inadequacy. It wasn’t that I was lukewarm for Jesus Christ; it wasn’t that I had turned away from Him to some other interest. I was a servant of His and my whole interest was set on introducing my brother Africans to Him.

The inadequacy I felt in myself first of all was the need of love. I deeply felt, when I got among them, that I just didn’t have that love which bridges the gap. With that went the need of faith—and with that the need of power. All of these were linked together.

To begin with, my attitude was that God should improve me. Well, I’m a servant of Jesus Christ, I thought. I’ve been redeemed by His Grace, I belong to Him. I must ask God to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ. I thought He should chan­nel some love into my heart, some faith, some power, some holiness—and improve me. I had to learn sharply that self-improvement is both a sin and an impossibility. It came as a considerable shock.

But though my idea of how God should answer my problem was completely wrong, my sense of inadequacy was good. It sent me to the Bible. And my first discovery came as I read one famous verse in the first letter of John: “God is love.”

That set a new trend of thought going. I began to relate this to my other need—of power. And I suddenly found a verse in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians where it says that Christ is the power of God. Not Christ has the power, but He is the power.

Then I came to the one thing every Christian claims to have. Every believing Christian accepts the fact that he has eter­nal life. He takes it that he has a life which will go on forever in Heaven. (“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”)

But I suddenly found that eternal life is not something I can ever have—for Jesus did not say, “I have the life to give you” —but, “I am life.” Once again I had found that something I had thought I had—eternal life—is one Person only, and that’s not I. Jesus Christ is that “eternal life.”

But where did I fit into all this? Finally I came to a statement which gathered all together and finished off my investigations by its absoluteness. The verse was Col. 3:11, where it says of believers in Christ that “Christ is all and in all.”

Christ is all, not Christ has all. And if Christ is all, what’s left for me? Not much by my mathematics! I had thought I was somebody and that I could get something. I had found God had taken the lot. Christ is all. I had found the link. Christ is all and in all.

Then I saw for the first time that the only reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something, but to contain Someone.