I caught a glimpse of the young woman as she entered the fellowship hall next to the church after our presentation had already begun . Quietly, she took a seat in the back and watched attentively as we (the New Jerusalem Players) gave our Gospel presentation. There was nothing especially compelling about her manner, but I felt compelled to seek her out and speak with her after the presentation.
This impression moved me so strongly that it was a disappointment when, at the close of the evening, I failed to find her among the people who were leaving. I was about to pack away our props and equipment, when I noticed her standing quietly just a few feet away.
"Shalom," she greeted me.
"Shalom," I replied.
"So am I," I responded, though it didn’t seem necessary to state the obvious.
My comment seemed to reassure her. She introduced herself as Miriam K., and then told me of her strong desire to know whether Jesus really was the Messiah. "I have some questions about Him," she said, "but I, can’t seem to find anyone who can answer them."
She then related an unfortunate encounter with a pastor who refused to speak to her about Jesus,
and who had discouraged her from attending services at his church. Still, this had not dissuaded her from seeking the truth. "I’d like to believe in Jesus," she admitted. "I think I have believed in Him for quite some time already. But it’s hard going from the old to the new. I wanted to speak with someone who’s Jewish."
"Would you like to talk now?" I offered.
I was surprised when she said "no.” I listened apprehensively as she explained that she preferred to meet "in the near future" so that we might talk at length. I wasn’t sure I would ever see her again. We exchanged phone numbers, and she assured me she would call.
But, three days later, she still hadn’t called, so I phoned her and we were able to meet once again. Her interest hadn’t waned at all; if anything, it increased. I showed her some verses from the Hebrew Scriptures, and we read Isaiah 53 together. She seemed to grasp the meaning of those passages that speak of the Messiah offering His life as the payment for our sins. When we finished, I asked if she would like to pray and accept that offer of forgiveness that came through the death and resurrection of the Messiah.
She responded with an emphatic "yes."
As we prayed, Miriam added words of her own to those that I offered as an example. There was no doubt that the prayer was more than just an echo of phrases, and that it was the sincere expression of a broken spirit and contrite heart.
How generous God is! He sows the seed, waters the ground, and brings the plant to bloom. And yet, He leaves the joy of harvesting to us. Could a laborer ask for better working conditions?