Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Jul 1982
It is hard to live between the hammer and the anvil. In times such as this it is hard to know what to do in certain situations. There are people all around us with many troubles, and this is not always because they are not good people but because they are often alone and have no one to whom they can tell their problems. Unfortunately, I am not a mind reader and cannot help unless I know about their troubles. As it is written, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). Of course, we want this to be so, and we must be strong enough to allow the Lord to have complete authority in our lives.
This should also be true for people who are suffering and are keeping all their troubles within themselves; however, it is very hard to make such people believe this. This is especially true when people are lonely. There is such a man living near me. He is more concerned with his wealth than with his health. And why is this? It is because he is so lonely and has no one with whom he can exchange a few words every now and then. Also, he seems very unsure of any new people he meets, and of course we know that to a real friend you can tell your troubles, but to an enemy you speak only of your success. This man seems so far from everyone and always keeps his distance. He does not even have contact with any of his neighbors. He is a man about thirty-five years of age, but he is so withdrawn that no one gives him a second thought. But we know the Bible teaches that, as God’s children, we are to show love to all people. We can see much about love in the Book of Romans.
And so, this man was proving to be a great burden to me. Here he is living so close to me, and I know that as a believer I must show love to him, but how? In Israel we do not have the freedom, as in other countries, to give someone a book or a tract or to speak about the Lord. In this land the first thing we must do is become friendly with such a person, and I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to do this. I knew that if I went to his door he would cast me away. Always I was thinking how I could make inroads with this man, but it seemed impossible, In such situations, the best way to start is by falling on your knees before the Lord and praying that He will show the way, and this I did.
The answer to my prayer did not come immediately, and as we say, the latter troubles make us forget the former. And so, I forgot about my prayer — until two weeks later on a beautiful Sabbath day. Here in Israel the Sabbath is a day of rest, and we do not have any public transportation. So on this day my family and I were walking the three miles from our home to the center of Jerusalem, where we have our prayer meeting. And as we were walking, who did we meet but this poor lonely man! I asked him if he were going into town and he said he was, so I suggested that it would be good if we all walked together. I realized that the Lord had answered my prayer concerning this man, and perhaps now He would use me to show him the way to life. I prayed silently, “O Lord, please keep him alert and help me at this time to show him how to open his heart to You.”
I could not believe what happened next, it seemed to be such a miracle with this obstinate man, but he actually became friendly as we walked. After he had spoken for awhile, I asked, “Why do you act so strange? It would be easier to go to the moon than to be friends with you.” He said, “You are the first person who has been friendly to me, and I feel a special affinity for you.”
“I am glad you feel that way,’ I said, “and you have not made a mistake. I am your friend, and you can open your heart to me.” He said, “How can I do that when I do not know you well?”
I then told him a little about myself, after which he found the courage to open up to me. From the depth of his heart he said, “I am alone in this world. I have had many bitter disappointments from many people in my life. You are just another person, and how can I be sure that you will not turn against me also?” I then said to my children, “Let us sing the song from Psalm 118:6-7,”
and we sang with praise to the Lord, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do unto me? The Lord taketh my part with those who help me; therefore shall I see my desire upon those who hate me.” “That is a very nice song,” he said. “Would you please write it on paper for me?” “Of course,’ I replied, “and I will also give you a Hebrew Bible and show you many more songs in it, songs of praise to the Lord.”
Then I asked, “Do you believe in God?” “Why should I believe in Him,” he asked. “What has He done for me?” “Do you have a job?” I asked. “Yes,”’ he replied, “Are you healthy?” “Yes.” “Everyday you can see the beauty of the world, the sunshine, day and night, and the kindness of people all around you. For all of these things you must thank the Lord day by day.” He then said, “I never go to synagogue so how can I pray to the Lord?” I replied, “You can pray to the Lord wherever you are. He is everywhere and He can always hear your prayer. Before Him you can open your heart and be sure that He has heard you.” My children and I then began to praise the Lord with songs again, and this time our new friend joined in. Even though he didn’t know the words, he hummed along with us and he also learned a new song from us, “I’m Singing on My Way.”
The further we walked, the more courage and power he received. He seemed to be waking from a dream and seeing in a brand new way people and things which before he hated. He asked, “Why did you want to make friends with me? What did you see in me?” I answered, “I saw in you the same thing I see in everyone ~ the need to be saved. The Lord in His mercy has provided a way for us to be saved through His Son, Yeshua Hamashiah. Many people don’t know the way to Him, but I can tell you. I have been saved by His mercy and His blood, my family also, and we are happy because we know our future is secure. We will live forever and be in His presence and His glory. This assurance belongs to us, but we cannot be sleeping all the time now that we have it. We must be established in the faith and follow Him every day. In that way we can be joyful and happy, no matter what the world sends our way.”
My new friend then asked, “Can you promise that if I believe in the Lord I will always be happy?” I replied, “This you must ask of the Lord himself through prayer, and I am sure that as the Lord answered my prayer, so He will answer yours in the same way. He is a Father to all who will call upon His name. He came to save us without asking who we are or what we have done for Him. He loved us before we even knew Him, and when we come to Him in true faith. He forgives our sins and forgets them, never to remember them again.” He then said, “I feel like I have been raised from a dark grave and now I am alive again. In fact, I have a greater desire to live than I have ever had, but how can I be sure that this is so, that this feeling will never leave me?” I told him, “You must come to the Lord in faith. Then He will be your Guide and will show you the way to life and light, because in Him there is no darkness.”’
I was so grateful to the Lord for this opportunity to share the love of God with this lonely and unhappy man. Please pray with me that he will continue to seek after the Lord so that he might have true joy and happiness.