Much has been written and said, both bad and good, about the Baby Boomer generation. This is the generation that exploded onto the scene in the 1960s, expanded in the ’70s and became expensive in the ’80s. It has shaped much of today’s world, and sheer size is not the only reason for its clout. Despite what its critics may say, the dream never died—at least not for some.
I was demonstrating the Passover seder to a group of interested Christians at a small church just outside a small town in a state not known for its large Jewish population. From the congregation’s coloring and facial characteristics they all could have been extras on the set of a movie about Scandinavia . About ten minutes into my seder presentation "Sara" walked in with a friend. She had a big smile on her face, and I noticed her as soon as she started looking for a seat. With her dark hair and dark eyes she had the look of a Jewish girl, one who had grown up with annual Passover seders all her life.
She looked so familiar—like the girls with whom I had attended Hebrew school—like those with whom in later years I had marched in picket lines. She looked like my contemporaries who had gone on to try to make their dreams of the ’60s a reality for the ’80s. Her face seemed to acknowledge every Hebrew word I spoke with a secret nod of approval.
At the end of the seder presentation I gave an invitation. I asked anyone who wanted to receive Jesus to look up so that I might talk to them. SHE LOOKED UP! This obviously Jewish woman from who-knew-where looked up!
Afterwards we talked. Sara’s story was like that of many others of my generation. She had settled down and married a nice Gentile boy. They had two children. She loved them all very much, but something was missing. For a year she had been reading and seeking spiritual truth, and all roads had brought her to Calvary . Now she was not sure what to do.
Her biggest obstacles to making a commitment to Jesus were her parents. Like me, she was the child of Holocaust survivors. Because they had suffered so much for their Jewishness, she was afraid to tell them that she now believed in Jesus. She felt it was just too much to risk.
Although I had never met this woman, she might as well have been my sister. I knew her heart and her fears. I knew her youthful dreams of a Utopia where men and women could find the real meaning of life. I also knew the only place she could ever find it—and she was already there.
I asked Sara if she had already prayed to receive Jesus. She smiled in affirmation and asked me how I knew. I told her I had seen by her expression as I spoke that she knew he was the Messiah. Now it was time to confess her faith openly and trust the One who had the power not only to save her, but also to help her deal with the consequences of her commitment. Together we prayed for our unbelieving parents. Then she told the pastor of her faith and went home to tell her husband.
Shortly afterwards I received the very beautiful letter from Sara printed below. To protect her privacy we have not printed her real name. But please pray for this woman as she grows in faith and understanding, and for that whole generation with whom God is still dealing. They started looking for the truth back in the ’60s. If they still have the courage to seek truth and healing for this battered world, they will find it in Yeshua, even now.
By the time this reaches you there will have been hundreds more faces added to your memory, thousands of thoughts which have passed through your mind. But last night I met you in a tiny antiquated church…and it has been a memory which has held my heart and my mind in such a way that I know it will never let go. When you spoke, you spoke to my heart with such a gentle understanding that I wondered how we could he strangers. And when you called me "sister" I knew…we were not strangers at all. I feel a tie with you far stronger than I have felt with anyone for a long time, and I know it is God and I know it is his love that has kept me singing and smiling all day and thinking of you and the words you spoke to me.
You knew exactly what was in my heart. I said one thing and you knew all the rest. How did you know I’d been struggling? How did you know I’d been wrestling with myself? How did you know I’d already prayed and in tears asked God and Jesus into my life—but only alone and afraid and in secret? I had felt the immense joy of knowing my prayers were being listened to. I had felt the immeasurable love which can only come from him. Yet I could only enjoy it when I was alone. With others I pretended to be still searching, to be just curious…I just wasn’t sure how I fit in. Confusion.
I have wonderful friends who had spoken to me and began my learning. God has been so good…to send me friends with love in their hearts and a special gleam in their eye with messages and words that began to open my heart. A friend with a dream and a message for me. "Chance" meetings when my family and I were stuck in an ice storm over the Christmas holidays and there was "no room at the inn"—so we shared our room with strangers who are now friends. Christian strangers. Believers. And I knew it was no accident. And still I couldn’t say anything. Friends who prayed for me and hugged me and could still sense my anguish. Especially my friends that I’ve just met…who invited me to join their Israeli Folk Dance group where we dance old steps to new songs. (I am the only Jew in the group!) Melodies from the past with the message of Jesus instead of Hebrew lyrics I remember from childhood. I felt such joy…knowing there was so much truth there. And yet when they prayed I could only stand there silently, tears streaming down my face as the knot in my throat drew itself tighter. The silence was so hard because I knew it was of my own doing. My own fear was that knot. But I kept praying silently and asking for guidance. I just didn’t know what else to do. I wasn’t being very patient. It just hurt so very much to be so afraid to let go.
Then you came. I didn’t even know until so late in the day that you were even going to be there…It seemed impossible that I would get to go. A houseful of my daughter’s friends, fixing them all dinner, waiting for their parents to call and pick them up. But I left it up to the good Lord and sure enough—that last child was picked up by 6:45 and I dashed out. My husband thought I was silly to go rushing anywhere on a Saturday night, but something other than common sense was carrying me out that door.
I feel I owe you so much. I know the traveling is hard…I know it takes a lot out of you to keep going and keep talking and keep pushing. Thank you is not nearly enough. You gave me peace where there never has been any. You gave me strength where before there was fear. You took what I knew to be true and put it into words that…touched my heart like none other. I had heard the ideas, but they had been so foreign sounding to me. They were in the language of people who grew up Gentile. I knew they spoke truth, but it sounded so alien. I felt like a stranger trying to enter their world…that I didn’t really fit it. But you spoke to me with that lilt in your voice, that wave of your hand, that touch of your brow that so reminds me of my own Orthodox rabbi in the shul where I grew up. Even your hands are like his. You said…I already knew the truth and that it was O.K. You bridged the gap. You healed my wounds and soothed my anguish and gently put me back together.
And then you told me to go home and talk to my husband! I was nervous/excited/anxious/amazed. I wanted to get home as soon as possible and see him. Of course he was asleep on the couch when I got home and our daughter was still awake and talking to girlfriends on the phone. So my daughter and I read, and played, and I put her to bed. Then dear John received a kiss and I woke him to get him back to bed for the night. I thought it would have to wait until the next morning. But God didn’t!
John asked me how my evening went, and by the way I said "wonderful," he knew there was more to say. I kept answering questions and adding comments—all the while just thinking of how much I love him. And I kept hugging him with tears running down my cheeks and a big smile on my face and trying to explain without saying too much. He understood…because the explanation was not in the words but in my voice and in my heart and in the way that love filled the room and our beings and every corner of our moment together. Because of you I felt safe with my faith and because of…your perfect understanding of what I was going through, I could share it with John …
Today was another blessing from God. The sun sparkled and we packed a picnic and I drove everyone down by that little bitty antiquated church on the outskirts of [town]. I wanted them to see that most beautiful spot where someone reached out to me and helped me begin a new life full of hope and love and God and Jesus.
Thank you with all my heart. Bless you. Blessings to your family.