How music led this Jewish woman to Jesus
We were amazed and ecstatic when Rahel Landrum (from our branch in Sydney, Australia) told us this story:
“Hannah* was born in Calcutta, India, to a traditional Jewish family. Her father, a businessman, wanted her to receive the best possible education, so he sent her to a Christian school. Hannah was raised to believe in God, excelling in Scripture reading at school. However, an uncle she looked up to was a staunch atheist, and Hannah decided from a young age she didn’t believe in God either.
“After getting married at the age of eighteen, Hannah and her husband had two children; soon after that, Hannah and her family moved to Australia. Decades passed, and now Hannah is in her nineties.
“A mutual friend put us in touch with each other about six months ago, and I began visiting Hannah regularly. Her knowledge of the Bible was readily apparent, and she always appreciated prayer, even if sometimes she expressed doubts about the existence of God. Often she would recognize that God was answering prayers and see His hand in her own life and circumstances.
“Every now and then, I would ask Hannah if she was willing to trust in Jesus’ atoning work, gently mentioning that, at her age of 93, she needed to prepare for the afterlife. She would smile and say she wasn’t ready.
“Last time we met, Hannah told me that she kept hearing a certain melody at different times of the day and sometimes even at night. She wondered where the music came from. Perhaps it was from the school across the street, from a neighbor or even a passing car, she said. I asked her what it sounded like, and she began humming beautifully. I immediately recognized it—she was humming the chorus of an old hymn! The music hadn’t come from the school, a neighbor or a passing car, but from God Himself!
“I knew some but not all of the lyrics, so together we tried to piece together enough words to identify the song. I thought about searching for it online, or maybe recording her humming and asking someone more familiar with hymns to identify it. Suddenly Hannah said, “I just remembered something I want to show you.” She left the room and came back with a small, well-worn book. It was an 85-year-old hymnal, a treasured keepsake from Hannah’s childhood in India.
“I immediately began looking through it and, with the few words she and I had remembered, we finally found the song:
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode;
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.
“I told Hannah that God had created and designed her to be in His presence for eternity, and asked again if she would trust in Jesus, who died for her sins. This time Hannah said yes to my invitation to pray and receive God’s forgiveness and accept Jesus’ kippur (covering) on her behalf. After she prayed, with tears in her eyes she said it was no coincidence that I had come into her life, and that she was glad she had received Jesus after all these years.”
* Names are changed to protect privacy.