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Stories from the Front Lines
This story has been excerpted, with permission, from Stories from the Front Lines by Jane Rumph. Available for purchase from Xulon Press at 1-866-909-2665 (U.S.) or such online book sellers as Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and WalMart.com
"Lord God, please tell me the truth about Your Son. I wont hear it from anyone else, but I want to hear it from You. Please give me a sign."
Meryl Konrad prayed her usual prayer for the umpteenth time. Ever since she had begun attending Ahavat Zion Messianic Synagogue in Beverly Hills, California, she had asked God to reveal the truth. No one else--not her husband, not her rabbi, not a person or a book--could persuade her that Jesus was the Messiah. She would accept it only directly from God.
Ahavat Zion served as a compromise congregation for Meryl and her husband, since neither was a Messianic Jew. Bill came from a Lutheran family and Meryl was Jewish, raised as a Reform Jew in Skokie, Illinois. They met while attending the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and married right after graduation in June 1977--Meryl at age 21 with an undergraduate degree, and Bill, three and a half years older, with a degree from law school.
Neither of their families felt completely delighted about the marriage, but each set of parents soon came to accept their new daughter- or son-in-law. For several years Bill and Meryl avoided all religious services. It seemed easier to do nothing. Gradually, however, they both began to sense a need for spirituality in their lives.
About two years after moving to California in 1979, they discovered Ahavat Zion, where they started attending Shabbat (Sabbath) services. Each got something out of the experience. Bill liked the sermons centered on Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and Meryl enjoyed the traditional Jewish worship. They also found it amusing that many people assumed Bill was the Jewish partner in their mixed marriage, with his darker complexion, dark hair and beard.
Change came on the heels of the most frightful crisis of their lives. Their first child, Allison, born May 28, 1986, became dangerously ill just after her parents brought her home to El Segundo. Bill and Meryl rushed Allison, only twelve days old, to the neonatal intensive care unit at Torrance Memorial Hospital, where doctors gave them the grim diagnosis: spinal meningitis.
As the doctors ran tests and gave Allison various medications, the Konrad's friends and their families in Illinois drew a circle of care around the anxious couple. Meryl's family offered love and moral support, and her father traveled out to be with them--a great blessing. Bills family and the congregation at Ahavat Zion offered something extra--prayer for healing in Jesus name.
Meryl was moved by the intercession of the Messianic Jews and Christians. Although she had no relationship with Yeshua, she, too, lifted her daughter to God in prayer.
During three and a half weeks in intensive care, Allison recovered progressively. The doctors pinpointed her condition, gave the right treatments and adjusted her medications expertly. The Konrad's tiny daughter got better and stronger, passed all the tests--and finally came through with absolutely no side effects.
"Blessed are You, O Lord God, King of the universe!" Meryl and Bill rejoiced with their families and congregation over the Lords intervention. Bill was growing firmer in his faith, and Meryl had seen the power of prayer in action for the first time.
During the following months, Meryl kept going to God with her petition: "Please show me the truth about Your Son. If Yeshua really is Messiah--I will accept this only from You, Lord."
In April 1987, with Allison about six weeks shy of her first birthday, Meryl found herself watching an Easter movie on television and began reflecting on the life of Jesus, the stories of His death and resurrection.
One night that week, in the dark and quiet of the wee morning, Meryl lay sleeping when her mind filled with a heavenly vision. In her dream she saw Yeshua standing before her dressed in dazzling white garments. He shone with a light so brilliant she could not make out the features of His face. Because of her angle of view, looking up at Him, Meryl realized later she must have been kneeling at His feet.
The vision, brief but crystal-clear, hit her consciousness with the impact of a tidal wave and jolted her awake. Meryl recognized this not as a dream she had concocted but a message from God Himself. Immediately she woke her husband.
"Bill, I believe in Yeshua!" she exclaimed. "I just saw Him in my dream!"
When she described her vision, her husband murmured sleepily, "Praise the Lord! I've been praying for this."
In the morning the indelible image remained seared on her brain. She had no doubt her dream had come from God.
Lord, You've answered my prayer of all these years, Meryl acknowledged in awe. You heard my cry and knew what I needed in order to believe. Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Yeshua!
She told Bills family eagerly and the friends from Ahavat Zion who, she learned, had been praying for her.
"I've become a believer in Yeshua Hamashiach!" she testified.
Later, after much prayer and pondering, she told her own family.
As Meryl began studying the Bible, certain passages blazed with meaning, especially part of the first chapter of 1 Corinthians:
I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost, when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved recognize this message as the very power of God. For God says, "I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them."
So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this worlds great affairs? God has made them all look foolish, and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly. It seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven as proof that what is preached is true; and it is foolish to the Gentiles because they believe only what agrees with their philosophy and seems wise to them. So when we preach about [Messiah] dying to save them, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say its all nonsense. But God has opened the eyes of those called to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, to see that [Messiah] is the mighty power of God to save them; [Messiah] himself is the center of Gods wise plan for their salvation…
For it is from God alone that you have your life through [Messiah] Jesus. He showed us Gods plan of salvation; he was the one who made us acceptable to God; he made us pure and holy and gave himself to purchase our salvation. As it says in the Scriptures, "If anyone is going to boast, let him boast only of what the Lord has done."
verses 18-24, 30-31, TLB
God answered Meryl's sincere prayer for divine validation of the truth about Messiah by sending her a dream. By meeting her graciously at her point of confusion and need, God ensured that Meryl was born one of His chosen people--again.
Author: Jane Rumph. Used with permission from Stories from the Front Lines, Xulon Press
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