"Excuse me... Were you born Jewish?"
I was caught slightly off guard by a question from a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) woman in the hospital waiting room.
"Um... No, I wasn't."
"Ok, so you were born a Christian. I was going to tell you how terrible it was that you converted, but I suppose if you were born a Christian its different."
"Oh well, I grew up in a Christian family, but you're not born a Christian. Following Yeshua is a choice I made when I was in high school." I differentiated.
Still a bit surprised by her boldness, my puzzled look must have prompted her further.
"I noticed your book and wanted to tell you how terrible it was."
My appointment included two hours of drinking iodine contrast before my scan. Being a mother of a small child, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to do some reading and took a long Shaping History Through Fasting and Prayer by Derek Prince. My Haredi neighbor was insulted by the back cover...
Christians Can Change World Events
"Christians do change world events, but not for the better. That's just terrible. What are you doing here anyway?" she continued.
"I live here with my husband. He moved here about thirteen years ago, made Aliyah, and we decided to live here after we got married."
"Oh so your husband is Jewish and he married a Christian. That's just terrible. He shouldn't have done that. See, that's how Christians change world events. Your children will not be Jewish and that's terrible. That's a terrible way to change world events. "
"Well, my husband is Messianic Jewish... we are a Messianic family."
"Uth.... Oh he converted... that's even worse! Jesus was a terrible person. He rebelled against Judaism, and Jewish authorities, and his followers killed us... uh."
The verbal assault was quite harsh and I didn't know what to do.
Lord, What can I say to reach her heart? I prayed while she was telling her family history, a story of persecution during the Pograms that led to an escape to American, then Israel. The Lord whispered:
Ask for her forgiveness.
Really, Lord? After hearing how terrible we are... how terrible I am? Ok... here it goes....
"Have you ever personally been hurt by any Christians?" I asked wanting to get a better sense of her heart.
"Personally? This was my family.... my nation... my people. That IS personal."
"I can tell you are really hurting over this issue, carrying a lot of pain. I am so so sorry that Christians killed your family, and your nation in the name of Yeshua. I am so so sorry. As a Christian, I'd like to ask for your forgiveness."
My statement was met with a blank stare. After an awkward silence, I tried again.
"Well, you don't have to accept it, but I wanted to let you know that I am truly sorry. And I wanted at least, to offer an apology. You can give forgiveness in your own time."
Her puzzled silence ensued, so I continued on. "I know these things happened, but there are also a lot of Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people. My own family has a heritage of a great love for the Jewish people and passed that on to me."
"Hmm... so what is your husband's background?" She asked with a softer tone.
"He grew up in a Messianic Jewish home. His father is ordained as a Methodist minister and His mother is a believer in Yeshua from a Jewish background. They started attending a Messianic Congregation when was 12."
"Oh ok... well, he didn't know.... he didn't know... maybe he won't be judged for what he has done because he didn't know. "
I could see her wheels turning, really trying to work out the morality of the situation. I also felt something rise up in my spirit...
"Actually, we fully believe he won't be judged for anything he's done because Yeshua is his atoning sacrifice."
"Oh.. oh... oh... That's a terrible idea."
I sort of laughed at that because I knew it was coming.
"So are you here as a missionary or something?" She pressed.
"No... we live here." I emphasized. "We are citizens. My husband made Aliyah, served in the army. We pay taxes. Our son was born here. This is home for us. And I believe being here is part of a prophetic fulfillment of that love for Israel that was passed down through my family that I was telling you about."
"How is that?"
I then shared my family history with her. A story of my grandfather working for one of the few Jewish men in town.
"My dad's family grew up with the rhythm of the Chagim (Holy Days). They took all of their family vacations with the Chagim and were aware of timing and traditions. There's a verse in Isaiah that says even the Goyim who keep my Shabbats will worship me on my Holy Hill. I believe me being here today is a fulfillment of that verse, since I now live on the Lord's Holy Hill." (see Isaiah 56:6-7)
"Well, HaShem surely is doing quite a bit to bring people into their destinies these days."
I love how the orthodox are mystic about these things and found some unity with her.
"Yes, He is! The fact that Israel even exists is miraculous and evidence of that!"
"Yes." She agreed, "And it means the Mashiach is coming soon."
"Yes! And His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives and it will split in two! He'll have a Holy procession and take his throw forever!" (See Zechariah 14)
She chuckled a little at my passionate statement, thanked me for talking, then had to leave.
Though it ended well, I was wiped out after that conversation. It took a tremendous act of His Spirit to not be offended, to love her through the insults, and to offer an humble response. We serve a humble God, a servant who ate with sinners, washed feet, and was willing to atone for me, and for you, through His own shed blood. The Lord is good, and I have tremendous faith, based on His word, that this Haredi woman will one day receive Yeshua as her Messiah.
Thank you, Lord, for granting me the privilege of being part of that process in her life. To YOU be the glory, forever. Amen.
“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him..." Zech 12:10
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matt 23:37-39
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