The Conductor And The Caboose
It was a chilly Saturday and I had a hospital visit to make. I would rather have stayed home in bed that morning, but duty was calling me. I arranged the visit and asked Sharon to accompany me. Sharon is one of the approved students who works with Jews for Jesus at our New York branch on East 31 st Street . Although she is not officially on staff, she is with us to learn as much as possible about Jewish evangelism.
Moving quickly to combat the cold, we made our way to the subway entrance. After about 45 minutes of underground travel we arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital, where Adelle had undergone triple bypass open-heart surgery a little more than a week earlier.
At Adelle’s request I had met with her once before the surgery. One of the nurses had been sharing her faith with Adelle and had asked if she would be open to hearing from a Jewish person who believed in Jesus. Adelle had been very interested, and the nurse had phoned our office.
Now Sharon and I would be seeing Adelle in the recovery stages of her surgery. When I had phoned the hospital before setting out for the visit, the nurse had told me that Adelle was walking around! I was glad for her good progress, but I was concerned that now that Adelle was past the dangers that surgery presented, she might no longer be interested in discussing spiritual matters. After all, now that she was better, her need for God’s intervention might no longer be apparent to her. But I needn’t have worried. When Sharon and I approached, Adelle greeted us with a beautiful smile.
With delight, I stood by the side of her bed and took her hand. She looked miraculously well. In fact, she was complaining that she had no pain like most patients do after this type of surgery. She was concerned about this "abnormality." This beautifully let me steer our conversation to the Savior, the One who heals our pain. As I spoke, Adelle nodded with understanding.
A rabbi had visited Addle a few days after her surgery. She had been deeply touched by his presence and by his prayer. As she recalled the scene, she told us that she felt now she must make a choice between Judaism and Christianity. I began to clarify the common misunderstanding, refuting the notion that in order to believe in Jesus a person must give up his or her Jewishness. I explained that our Jewishness is based on our heritage and culture, and is not synonymous with adherence to rabbinic Judaism.
Then I added, "Besides, if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, what could be more Jewish than believing in him?" Adelle was very interested in studying the Scriptures, and I told her we would do that once she was out of the hospital. I did share with her the words that Jesus said about himself: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the Prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18).
Although this was a witnessing encounter where I was supposed to minister to Adelle, I received something profound from her . Addle so deeply loves God. She says she "always has," and she does so in an almost childlike fashion. As we visited, she began describing her feelings about him and used a key word that struck both Sharon and me. Adelle described God as "the Conductor."
Oh, I thought, if only we could all allow him to "conduct" our lives as purely as Adelle felt he was conducting hers. Her simple faith was so encouraging. The color in her face and the joy in her eyes spoke of the renewal of a heart. I was convicted of my occasional lack of faith and my apathy that morning. I felt overjoyed with the presence of God’s Spirit. I was renewed by the "Conductor" who obviously was leading Adelle’s life. She may not have met her Messiah yet, but I believe it is just a matter of his timing before she will.
The power of God disclosed to me that day reminded me that all our days are ordered by him. He truly is the Conductor, his Spirit is the locomotive, and we are the caboose. We have the precious gifts of faith and salvation he has lavished upon us. We have a job to do—a message to share. And sometimes even we who serve need to be reminded of that!
Editor’s Note: One day while Jeanne Kimmel was Art Director at headquarters, we realized that she was not only a good artist, but also a "born missionary." We arranged for her replacement in the art department and released her to train for full-time missionary service in New York . After two years with our New York branch, Jeanne is returning to our San Francisco branch where she is much needed to round out the missionary staff here. (Another worker will take over Jeanne’s New York caseload.) We are delighted to have her hack in the Bay Area. Having said all of this, we must add that they who sit and draw also serve! We are very grateful for our resident artists. Theirs, too, is a ministry for the Lord as they help us graphically communicate our message of salvation in Yeshua.