Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Jul 1986
“Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?” (Ex. 15:11). Not many people know this truth; therefore they live their lives hoping that better times will come. They live in fear of the situations that surround them. Others, however, are not anxious because they put their trust in the Lord. I am among those who have put their trust in the Lord, so I can sleep well and be happy because I am sure in whom I have believed.
While walking on the streets of Jerusalem one day, I met a man who seemed very familiar to me. Soon I learned that we had been in the army together in 1948,and I had not seen him since that time. Though we had both changed in physical appearance in thirty-eight years, David’s first words were, “Joel, you have not changed. You seem to be as happy as ever. He was very far from being happy, and I was even afraid to ask, “Why art thou angry? And why is thy countenance fallen?” (Gen. 4:6). “Come with me to a quiet place,” he said, “and I will tell you why I am so unhappy.” I replied, “Come with me to my home where it is quiet and peaceful. There we can talk at length.”’
After dinner David spoke of his real concern. “I am sad and anxious because two of my sons are in the army. Can you understand this?” I replied, “No, I cannot understand this as a cause for your depression, for I have three sons in the army, ail in combat units.’ He found this very hard to believe since my face didn’t show great concern. “How can you be so calm about it?,” he asked. “I would like to know the secret of your happiness.” I spoke to him about the words in Psalm 3 — about putting our trust in God. “This is my secret for enduring troubles.” David asked, “But how can I put my trust in God when I have so many troubles in my life?” I reminded him that even as Abraham was tempted and tried, so we must be strong to withstand the trials in our lives. “You can do this, David, by putting your trust in the Lord, our Savior,” I concluded. He was quite surprised at my answer, and he asked, “Are you a rabbi?” “No,”’ I replied, “but I am one who believes in the Lord. I have a duty to preach the gospel, and now it is your privilege to hear it.” As I told him of my concern for his well-being, I explained that I, too, had once been unhappy, embittered, and desiring not to live. However, from the time that I received the Lord into my heart, there was no more despair, only joy!
As David looked at the pictures of my sons, he began to question himself. What is the matter with me? Am I normal? Do I have some kind of complex? Finally he asked, “Where did I go astray? Can you tell me?” Happily anticipating this question I answered, “Yes, I can. First, you should know that God himself is always ready to help us, and you can pray to Him. As it is written, “therefore will I call upon him as long as I live’ [Ps. 116:2].” I told him that only God could help him, and this was the time!
He was interested in how I had come to believe, and I was delighted to give him my testimony. Then I began to read the words of John 3:16, but he shouted, “No! This is not the Bible. It is a Christian book, the New Testament! If you want to read, read only from the Jewish Scriptures.” So I explained to him that the Lord Jesus Christ is not only in the New Testament but in the whole Bible.
David lives far from Jerusalem, so we invited him to spend the night with us. This gave me another opportunity to witness to him that he might come to know the Lord and be happy in Him as we are.
When he left our home, he said, “Thank you. I have a special good feeling now. I wish it could last.” “My dear brother,’ I said, “this can be forever. The secret now belongs to you. As you have thanked me, be sure also to thank the Lord.”
David left our home with much to consider. Pray that his “special good feeling” will lead him to genuinely committing his life to the Lord and that he will grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.