Will I Have to Wear a Red Shirt?

I was surprised that she looked so frail. Miriam could not have been much taller than I (five feet) and could not have weighed more than 85 pounds. When she had called our New York Jews for Jesus office, she had sounded so big—so self-assured.

It was July, a special time to be answering the phone in our New York branch office because we had about 30 volunteers helping us all month in our Summer Campaign outreach. With so many workers distributing our literature during Campaign time, both our message and the response to it were magnified. People found it difficult to escape the challenge echoed by so many and wondered, Is it true? Is Jesus that Long-Awaited One?”

Miriam was one of those who wondered. She had seen our volunteers on the streets in their brightly lettered T-shirts so often that she finally called our Manhattan office. She said she was willing to consider the possibility that according to the Jewish Bible, Jesus might be the Messiah. She arrived at the office five minutes earlier than scheduled, and though obviously apprehensive, was ready to hear our case.

As we chatted, Miriam became less nervous. As we read passages of Scripture together, I noted a growing excitement in her voice. At one point, she exclaimed, “I believe this. It makes sense! In fact, for some time now I’ve suspected these things might be true.”

Then she became more serious. She lowered her voice and glanced down at clenched hands that betrayed the return of her discomfort. In almost a whisper, she asked, “So what does this realization require of me?”

Miriam had only recently moved to New York from Israel after spending years in Europe. When I explained that her next step ought to be one of surrender to God, her reaction assured me that she had a “foreign” understanding of the words “Lord and King.” Most people understand when I say that we must acknowledge our need for a Savior, but few realize what I mean when I say we must give Jesus “Lordship” in our lives. Miriam, however, realized that it meant total sovereignty, and she responded, “What if he requires me to wear a red T-shirt and hand out literature?”

I had to smile as I realized the degree to which Miriam was “counting the cost.”

“Miriam,” I said, “if Jesus is God, and God is good, then you have good reason to trust that what he asks of you will be possible by his enablement. The question is not ‘What will he make me do?’ as much as it is ‘Am I willing to do whatever he might ask?’ God’s goodness is better than human goodness, and we can trust his judgments. If he asks us to do something, we can be confident that because of his nature, it will be good.”

Miriam smiled and said, “OK, then I will make the choice to trust him.”

We prayed together as Miriam trusted God to forgive the past and guide her future. She was one of 50 who gave their hearts to Yeshua in the first week of our 1988 Summer Witnessing Campaign. There were 239 in all. Please join us in praying for Miriam and our other “new family members,” as they are discipled and begin their new lives in the Messiah.


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