For many months, I have been meeting with a neighbor whom I’ll call Tasha. We met at the pool in our apartment complex. She was excited to meet a Jew for Jesus because she is Jewish and was baptized seven years ago in Russia in the Orthodox church. She was excited to meet someone who could teach her the Bible since she hadn’t learned much since her baptism.

After we had been meeting to study the Bible for a while, it became obvious that she had not really given her heart to Jesus. Yet she seemed to be be genuinely seeking after spiritual things and recognized that the meaning of life lies in serving God. She kept getting stuck on the concept of dying to self”; it contradicted her entire world view and she couldn’t seem to get beyond that in her search.

During our last visit, she informed me that she no longer wanted to attend our Bible study for Russian Jews. She couldn’t stand singing or praying because she didn’t feel it in her heart like the rest of us. It bothered her to see the difference between herself and those who had surrendered their lives to God. I asked her what was standing between her and God; what was preventing her from entrusting herself to Christ? She thought about it and said, “I know that there are things in my life that aren’t pleasing to God, and I’m not willing to give them up right now.” I looked at her and my heart filled with sadness. I said, “Do you realize that you are choosing darkness over light right now?” She nodded.

I went home overwhelmingly grieved. I thought of Jesus shedding His precious blood on the cross for Tasha. I know that she understands His Gospel and has tasted His goodness. I thought, “Why would she reject You, Lord, in light of who You are and what You are offering. What could be worth holding on to?” The answer came to my mind loud and clear:

And this is the condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:19-20

In talking to a dear Christian friend about this, she told me, “I will pray with you for Tasha, but I will not ask God to take the pain away from you because that’s His burden.”

Sometimes it hurts to be a missionary. However, it’s a pain that I know God feels, and it’s an honor to share it. I know that God can work in Tasha’s life. Please pray that she will be drawn to His light.