No Longer Empty
I believe you are the promised Messiah, God and Savior. I give you my life, and I will obey you. Show me your way and confirm your will in my life…in Jesus.” Dorothy kept her head bowed, and I saw a tear fall to her lap. I waited and prayed silently. How could this be such an unhappy moment for her? Where was the joy of her salvation? “Lord, please help me understand her feelings,” I prayed. “Please comfort Dorothy as she is seeking you.”
“Dorothy,” I said, “You are precious to God, and he is pleased with your decision.”
“I don’t know, Holly. I still feel empty inside,” she said.
I began to remind Dorothy that her decision to follow God was based on much more than feeling.
“I know,” she said, “but.…” She began to cry. As I hugged her, I remembered the first time I had spoken with her over the telephone.
That day she had seemed cautious, almost afraid, until I mentioned the name of Rita, her Jewish friend. Rita, a believer, had sent me Dorothy’s name hoping that I might be able to explain to her that our Messiah had come. In our conversation Dorothy explained that she remembered her Orthodox Jewish parents slamming the door on anyone who stopped by to share “another religion.” They would not allow any Gentiles to discuss religious matters in their home.
She said, “It always bothered me that they slammed the door in their faces. So when I moved out, I began to listen to people who came to my door. For 13 years Gentiles have been telling me that Jesus is my Messiah. Also, I met Rita, a Jewish lady who told me about Jews for Jesus. And now you, a Jew, are calling me to tell me that Jesus is the Messiah. I guess the least I can do is not slam the door.”
Two weeks later I sat with Dorothy at her dining room table as we discussed the issue. “Did you get a chance to read the materials I sent you?” I asked before we began to study Scripture.
“Yes,” Dorothy said. “Boy, this is really a different way of thinking. I mean, I was raised as a very observant Jew, and I am very familiar with Scripture. I never thought about those passages in light of the Messiah. It’s amazing that such a clear description is there.”
“So, Dorothy, what stops you from accepting Yeshua’s claims?” I asked.
“I just don’t understand some things,” she answered. “How could God be Jesus? We believe in one God.”
“That’s right,” I explained, and I opened the Scripture to several Old Testament passages that point to the unity of our one God expressed in three persons. Though she understood the point I was making, Dorothy just could not grasp the concept. I explained that it is not easy for anyone to understand.
“Perhaps this illustration will help,” I said. “When you pour water into a glass, what do you have?”
“Water,” she said without much enthusiasm.
“When you pour that same water into an ice tray, what do you have in the tray?”
“Water,” she said again.
“What is different?” I asked.
“Nothing, except the location of the water,” Dorothy answered.
“Now,” I continued, “if you put that tray into the freezer for several hours, what do you have in the tray? Is it the same substance?”
“Well, yes, but it is in a different state,” she said.
“Right!” I said. “It is the same, but it’s doing a different job. It has a different function. But in essence, it’s still water, right? O.K., now put the ice into a hot frying pan.”
Dorothy’s eyes twinkled, and she laughed.
I said, “Dorothy, if you’ll forgive the expression, one could say that God poured himself into humanity. His form, his function, were different, but he remained God. Water can be poured into an ice tray in order to change its function, but it is really just water. In reality, both water and God maintain their ‘original chemical equation.'”
Though this illustration was less than perfect, it helped. Dorothy and I met several more times to study the scriptural possibility that God would come in the form of a man in order to take man’s deserved punishment—to become the perfect sacrifice spoken of in Isaiah 53. After one of our most intense discussions, I finally asked Dorothy, “What really stops you from believing? From an intellectual viewpoint I think you have very few objections.”
Dorothy admitted her objection. It was that if she decided to believe, she could expect her family to reject her. In fact, Dorothy’s grandmother was very sick, and Dorothy felt that she did not want to cause any grief at this time.
I said, “Dorothy, I am going to pray that before your grandmother loses consciousness, she will hear of Yeshua.” I explained that death is not “the end,” but really the beginning. I said, “Dorothy, I want your grandmother to spend eternity with the God of her fathers.” Dorothy hugged me, and decided to meet again.
Less than a week later Dorothy called me. She had been to see her grandmother in the hospital and had read to her from the passages we had been discussing, particularly the Psalms. Two days after her visit her grandmother had died. At the funeral the rabbi had read about Enoch. On the way home from the funeral Dorothy had stopped at the oceanside and had spent time talking to God. When she had come home, she had reread the Scripture about Enoch. Dorothy told me that somehow God had made the Scripture seem alive, and she now felt that it was true. “Jesus must be the Messiah,” she admitted dejectedly.
Now, a few days later, I sat hugging Dorothy, who was wiping away tears as she gave her heart to God. “I feel empty. Nothing is different. It is worse than ever,” she wept.
“Could it be that the consequences of your decision are holding you back?” I asked.
“Yes. How can I hurt my parents now? I have put them through so much.”
Softly I answered her with words I had often said to her. “It is not a question of how others will feel. The question is, is it true? Remember?”
“I know it’s true,” she said. “It just hurts.”
Remembering the rejection most of us have known because of our decision to believe in Yeshua, I could not promise her an easy road. Experience and Scripture prevented me. It was a strange feeling. Leaving her that day, I felt Dorothy had entered into her “eternity,” but the sorrow that accompanied her decision haunted me.
I stopped at my car and shouted back to her, “Dorothy, let’s expect that God will come through and fill that empty place you mentioned. Be watching. I think he will give you some reassurance.”
A week passed and I did not hear from Dorothy. I could not get in touch with her, and I was very worried. On Wednesday night I had even asked a church congregation to join me in prayer for her. When Friday came, I hardly expected to walk into the Jews for Jesus Bible study and see her, but there she was.
She practically knocked me over with a hug, and I didn’t have to ask what had happened. She did not give me a chance to ask anyway.
“Holly, I think it was on Wednesday night. I am not sure, but…well, I couldn’t sleep that night. Around midnight, I was drifting in and out of sleep when all of a sudden a thought popped into my head: ‘Jesus is Elohim.’ I just kept thinking that over and over. Then I wrote down a song about Jesus. Holly, God spoke to me. That empty place is full. I know it’s true, and I am so happy. I can’t wait to tell everyone. I don’t care what happens.”
To be honest, Dorothy had a hard time telling anyone at that point. I was so excited I spent the next ten minutes running around doing it for her!