"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

2/18/13

Looking No Longer

Yesterday was my fourteenth "rebirthday." To commemorate that day that changed my life forever, I thought I'd share a favorite version of my own salvation testimony. I wrote this a bit over four years ago for a contest at the Internet Cafe (I actually won it). I hope this blesses you.
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.

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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

We're discussing this here, and at Living By Grace today. Won't you join me?
 
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

4 comments:

  1. Joanne, I really enjoyed reading your testimony. It makes me think of the many ways in which we still look for things that God has already provided for us.

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    1. Thanks, Wanda. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but of course you're right. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony, Joanne. God instills that search for Him in each one of us, and your life blesses countless others for having a heart tender for His truth. And thank you for sharing your Jewish roots here. The Old Testament is so rich in history and our heritage of faith. God Bless.

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    1. Thanks so much, Nancy. Enjoying sharing my roots - and my life - here. And so appreciate your stopping by!

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