"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

10/22/08

Looking No Longer



My people have been looking for Him for thousands of years. Every Jewish mother, since the beginning of my race until this day, has hoped that perhaps her son would be the One. The Anointed. The Messiah. The Righteous Branch.

As I sat in my easy chair on that cool February morning a decade ago, I realized that, for the past two thousand years, these Jewish mothers had hoped in vain. You see, the Anointed One had already come. The waiting was over, but they were still looking.

You hear sometimes about soldiers, decades after “their war” was fought and forgotten, hiding away on the old battlefield without communication, thinking they still had that enemy to defeat. That’s how it is with many of my people. They are anxiously sitting by the front door, waiting for their precious child to come in from his date—when he’s actually asleep upstairs.

I however, have found Him. I am looking no longer. And in the moment it took me to connect my Jewish beliefs to His Truth, I was transformed. I went from a searcher of the scriptures to a lover of their Writer.

It began as a curiosity five months earlier. Through a Christian conference I was covering for the newspaper, I developed an intense interest in Christianity and the Word of God. I fed on Christian teaching. I enjoyed the fellowship of a local church. I read—no, devoured—His Bible: Old and New Testaments. I pondered what I had read. I examined it logically.

But on that late winter day, there was no logic. No mere emotion. On that day, Jesus Christ, my Messiah, swept me off my feet and into His loving arms of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. For it was on that day, while reading His prophet, that my spirit was, after more than three decades on this earth, awakened to His “Messiahship.”

I had read about it several times in the past five months: in the Gospels, in Paul’s letters. But those were “Christian” books. I was a Jew. The Lord needed to show me in His chosen people’s writings. He had to show this modern-day Pharisee that my lineage, my good deeds, my upbringing was not what I needed. What I needed was Him—the Messiah I had hoped would come for 32 years. The same Messiah I’d learned about in Hebrew School and synagogue. He had already come—and Isaiah had told us about it hundreds of years previous.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV
My Messiah loved me so much, that He was voluntarily pierced and crushed for my sins. I could not be pleasing in God’s sight on my own. He willingly took on excruciating punishment so I could have peace. His wounds on the cross healed me.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 NIV
Joanne Sher, observant Jew, one of “God’s chosen,” was a lost sheep—a dirty, unholy, messed up sinner. But the Lord laid my iniquity on Christ. It is no longer mine. He died for me, so my Father will see me as sinless and holy.

How can I not love Him? How can I ever doubt again? And why would I, or anyone else, want to? There is nothing left to wait for. The Messiah—my Messiah—has come.

Heavenly Father, I cannot thank You enough for saving my soul, for initiating this intimate love relationship I have had with you for almost ten years now. Thank You, Lord, for helping me to get beyond the doubts and the “mechanics” of my faith and into the amazing love of You. Help me, Lord, to never forget the wonder and excitement of that first love. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen

22 comments:

  1. I so admire your willingness to speak the truth even though it's got to be a "sensitive subject" around your family. "The righteous are bold as a lion." (Pr. 28:1)

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  2. Oh, Joanne, your testimony, powerfully and masterfully written here, gave me goosebumps. I am stirred in the way that it moves me to get out of my comfort zone. Also, though I'm not Jewish, I can't tell you the number of times that I fall into the trap of the "old law" and think that I can do good things to please and impress the Savior and others.

    Your writing exudes passion, relays Truth, and stays authentic, and I am blessed by having read it. Thank you for going out on a limb to share.

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  3. Oh, Joanne, what a beautiful and powerful testimony! Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm sure it must not have been easy, especially telling your family (I read a bit about that once too, in another post of yours). How wonderful though! Blessings!

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  4. Praise the Lord, He found you, JO! I'm so glad you know the Messiah as your Savior!

    I know that your boldness and enthusiasm will be shine as a lighthouse to draw others to Him, too.

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  5. AWESOME. I love reading about your heritage and how the pieces fell together for you.

    As you know, I am still jealous though..lol.

    I hope you win. Really I do.

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  6. Your testimony is so powerful and bold! May God use you mightily to bring others to Him. I rejoice that you have found that the Messiah did indeed come, and will come again soon!

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  7. "As I sat in my easy chair on that cool February morning a decade ago, I realized that, for the past two thousand years, these Jewish mothers had hoped in vain. You see, the Anointed One had already come. The waiting was over, but they were still looking."

    OK...let me tell you why this struck me. When I began reading, I assumed you were in the voice of "Mary." I know, I'm a little slow, but it got me to thinking about how she must have felt...watching other Jewish mothers hope that their child would be the one, while all the time, he was actually asleep under her roof.

    I know this wasn't how you intended it, but somehow, it breathes new life into how Mary must have felt...knowing the truth while other mothers ached to "be the one."

    I love this!!!

    peace~elaine

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  8. I am SO glad you found Him as your Messiah. Sunny

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  9. Beautiful post! I absolutely loved reading your story and am moved by your testimony!! Thank you for sharing!!

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  10. I sincerely enjoy reading your testimony. I know it is hard to go against the Jewish tradition. Sometimes I think that is what the Lord meant when He met Saul who became Paul and said, "It is hard for you to go against the goads." (or something to that effect.) Blessings!
    Sherri Ward

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  11. (I thought FOR SURE I'd left a comment on this one! sheesh. sorry I'm so late!!)

    I love this, Joanne. I've always loved Isaiah 53, but it's become even more special since meeting and getting to know you. God is SO good!
    Huggles!

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  12. Joanne,
    That was absolutely stunning.... I loved every word.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and your story.
    It's amazing....

    Bless you,
    Julie

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  13. I cannt explain why...but here I sit crying over your well written words. Moved by my Savior. The Messiah.

    I loved this...never been here before, but I would love to come back.

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  14. Profound and moving. Thank you for sharing, Joanne.

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  15. Oh, what a powerful testimony!! I was so deeply touched.

    Thanks for sharing your jouney with us.

    Rejoicing with you as walk with your Messiah each day!!

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  16. Congratulations on your win for this entry! It was awesome. Again, great piece.

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  17. Congratulations Joanne! This is an outstanding testimony, one of my favorites I never grow tired of reading. So glad Internet Cafe loved it too!!

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  18. Joanne, my dear sister in Christ, you have said it so well. I hear, see and taste the joy you have found in your and mine savior.

    Well done.

    Gerda Vandenhaak

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  19. Congratulations on winning! That was so beautiful~

    Sheila

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  20. ...this is so amazing to read

    Congratulations on your win!

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  21. Congratulations on your win. This piece is so moving and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your faith.

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  22. Finally I am getting around to this! I just wanted to say congrats on your win! I am still as moved the second time around!!

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