Coming from a Jewish family, I experienced what most Jews do when they meet Jesus Christ, and realize that He is indeed the Messiah. We are ostracized by our families, and it’s as if we are dead to those who once loved us. The Lord warned that this would happen:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)
In my walk with Jesus, there have been wonderful times, and there have been deep valleys. But with each step, I know that He is with me and that He will never leave me. That is the joy that we have abiding in our hearts. Joy and happiness are so different. Happiness depends on what is happening. Joy stays forever for those of us who love and walk with Jesus. Joy knows tears as well as the brightest of smiles. Joy knows wondrous days, but joy also knows and stays with the child of God, sitting up in the night, because they are afraid of dreadful things happening around them. Joy is knowing that He is holding us at all times.
The news of my husband being struck with cancer has traveled around our neighborhood. I’m not one of the popular ladies on my street. Most people will say hi, but Tim and I are not invited to get-togethers. People know that we are Christians, and I’ve heard in the past that some people refer to me as the Jesus freak lady. If they only knew how much I love that label! But it is times like this that I would love to have a friend close by; you know, just to share and chat with — ladies love to talk!
There is a family who lives directly behind us. They have beautiful dogs, and our dogs love them. They come to greet each other at the fence; but not so with the people. There were years that have gone by where not a word was spoken. It was very uncomfortable. I would pray to the Lord so much to please show me what to do — should I make an attempt to break the ice? I never heard Him answer that, but I did feel Him urging me to pray for them.
Today, I went outside to water the plants. I heard the woman call my name. I turned to look at her, and she said “Geri, how is Tim?” I broke down in tears as I walked to the fence. She put her arms around me and said “Life is so hard.” I agreed with her about that, but then the words that came out of her mouth so astounded and thrilled me, I could have jumped for joy!
She told me that she and her husband had rededicated their lives to Christ. She said that they had been going through the most horrible of times, and that she even considered leaving him. We talked for over an hour, sharing how good God is, and how we couldn’t imagine living without Him. I felt the presence of God all around us. All the years that had gone by; it was a precious gift from Him. He gave me a new sister in Christ at a time when He knew I needed one. He never ceases to amaze me!
“But thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
For a few weeks I have been thinking how nice it would be to have a ladies Bible study in our home. With the beautiful weather finally here, I’ve imagined holding it in our screened porch. But then I would think —who would come? During the joyful conversation with my new sister, I talked about wanting to hold the Bible study, and she said she would come! I knew then that the Holy Spirit had put that thought in my mind about the Bible Study. He knows all things. He knows our beginning to our end.
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139: 14-17)
One thing I have not spoken of in this piece is that many years ago, before the years of silence, I shared the Gospel with my neighbor. Back then, we would call one another, and we had a pretty good relationship. She told me that she and her husband went to a Christian club together in high school. That opened the door for me to speak about my relationship with Christ. It was soon after that, the talking ceased. I heard the whispers of the evil one, telling me “You ruined the friendship — you should have kept your mouth shut!” But he is a liar, and the father of them. God was completely in control — He always is.
So, I wanted to share this with others. I want to encourage you to do what is right, and don’t listen to the devil, no matter what happens. Trust in God and pray always. He loves to hear us talking to Him! Don’t fear rejection when you want to tell someone about Jesus. Remember that your words are seeds, and God is the one who brings in the harvest. We are His vessels. Isn’t that amazing? The Creator of the Universe, who is also our Father, wants to use us to bring others to know Him. That is glorious!
“Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever.” (Psalm 28: 6-9)