More salvation in Jerusalem: from tears of grief to tears of joy
Gena Gelman reports, “As part of our outreach, we visited elderly Jewish Israelis, including a 94-year-old woman named Jael.* ‘May I speak with you for a few minutes?’ I asked her. Jael was as grateful for the company as she was for the food I’d just shared with her. She was wrestling with some physical ailments, so I asked if she could hear and understand me well enough. With some difficulty, she nodded yes. Then she pointed to her left leg, her left hand and her tongue. ‘A stroke?’ I asked. She nodded again. Despite her limitations, we were able to communicate through brief words and simple gestures.
“After a few minutes, I began to tell Jael about God’s love, our sin and the forgiveness and reconciliation that He has made possible through the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Yeshua. Then I asked her a question: ‘Tell me, Jael, would you say you’re guilty of sin?’ Jael made a sign with her hand as if to say, ‘Well, maybe yes, maybe no.’ ‘Let me read you something,’ I offered.
“I opened to the Ten Commandments and started to read as I’d often done with people who either do not think they are sinners or are unsure. As soon as I came to the commandment, ‘Do not kill,’ Jael stiffened. I ventured a guess and gently said, ‘Many women have had abortions.’ Suddenly, tears filled her eyes. Through her gestures, I understood that long ago she’d ended three pregnancies. I did not judge or speak to her of the details. It was clear that she was filled with remorse all on her own.
Before me sat a woman broken not only by her physical limitations, but by the burden of grief. ‘God understands and He is ready to forgive you,’ I explained. I shared the wonderful good news – the gospel, the hope and love available to us through Yeshua – and asked Jael if she wanted to repent and turn to the Lord. She nodded. It was difficult for her to speak the words, but she was determined to pray aloud, and she did. And when she’d finished, I could see a change in her face – a change that comes from the joy of experiencing God’s promise: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9).”
*not her real name