In the last several years a thought that often crosses my mind when I’m not sure of what path to take is, “Follow the Ruach”. Needless to say, this one directive is not the only thought, for of course, much prayer, conversation with others, and other analysis enter into the decision. And yet, very often I will just pray, and think follow the Ruach in my head. Doing so has not yet let me down. Even when I’ve had to give up something I thought I’d rather do by following the Ruach, the result has turned out, often in retrospect, that I made a very good decision. For when I follow the Ruach, I’ve found that path has always led me to more service for Him, more sharing of love and kindness with others.
Spending time in Florida has become such a case. I used to think I was to be here to help with the aftermath of the passing of my aunt who lived here. That was definitely part of the beginning journey of the deepening of my relationship with my cousin, her daughter. Then, as you know, my relationship with her deepened into being at her side through her diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma as well as walking our spiritual journeys together during these days.
So last Saturday night I thought I’d just enjoy a fun evening out with friends at a dance sponsored by the Pickleball Club, Sid’s favorite activity down here being pickleball. To my surprise, HaShem had much more in mind. (He does love to surprise us.)
In the last couple years we’ve begun to know another Jewish couple who live closeby. We’ve had lovely Shabbat dinners together, enjoyed movies, play regular music jams together, the usual social stuff, never really dealing into the specificities of our Jewish faiths, just having exchanged stories of our similar Jewish backgrounds growing up as the topic has come up. So I was a bit surprised when my friend at the dinner dance started talking to me about Messianic Judaism. And not in a good way. She was sharing the experiences she had had that day with a Messianic couple (who turned out to be Christians embracing their Jewish roots) who had explained our faith to her and how she felt this idea of Messianic Judaism is absolutely ridiculous. How could Jews possibly believe in Jesus! Isn’t that Jews for Jesus! You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus! Diane, do they actually believe He rose from the dead?? Oh come on!
So I laid down my fork, looked at her with a smile, and said, “Well, you know, I’m a Messianic Jew. And yes, I do believe He rose from the dead. We again started to compare our similar childhoods experiencing anti-Semitism (she, too, had had her head examined for horns and had also withstood the accusations that we killed “their” God). We were so alike, yet how could I believe this craziness?
I gave her an out. I said she’s free to believe what she wants. There’s a lot to talk about. Interestingly, she wants to talk, and talk, being mystified that these could be my beliefs. I foresee many conversations leading to understanding, and another avenue of doing God’s work right where he has placed me. She and her husband are very high profile leaders in the community and can’t wait to have us over now to discuss this topic further. I am hopeful that whatever dispelled stereotypes and corrected misunderstandings they will come to learn through our conversations will be shared with others, Christian and especially Jew alike.
Revival has been in the news lately. The thought of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit is exciting. The Asbury University experiences in Kentucky as well as elsewhere prompt us to ponder the possibility of a spiritual awakening, especially of our young people. Chabad’s annual teen event this year called “Meant 2 Be” was also held this past weekend which brought over 3,000 Jewish teens to New York’s Times Square for a time of inspiration, Jewish pride and unity. Mere coincidence that Asbury University’s spontaneous happenings and Chabad’s planned youth event just happened to coincide during these same days of heightened spiritual awareness? Though one may have been more of an outworking of the Holy Spirit and the other a human organized gathering, both perhaps are part of an amazing Divine plan of growing our young peoples’ faith in God. Perhaps the details of His multi-faceted identity are being revealed to each group of listeners where each is able to receive, in the right time, meeting each where he or she is, moving the listener further along the journey of a life in Him.
Those thoughts were swirling in my mind as I listened to this Sunday morning’s Chagigah interview with the Chabad rabbi of Merrimac County. The song he chose to share with the listening audience was Tzomoh Lecho Nafshi by Avraham Fried:
“My soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You. In a dry and weary land without water. So may I look for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory. (Psalms 63:2,3)
Oh, how different this music, how pleading, painful, though beautiful, than the music from Asbury University. Oh, how the Jewish heart is searching, perhaps even moreso than the hearts of others, perhaps even the hearts of some of our Jewish acquaintances who seemingly are just curious, like my friend.
Is this just the beginning of amazing days of His outpouring? In these days of the moving of His Holy Spirit, I urge you to follow the Ruach. Where are you placed to bring Him to those searching, yearning for Him? Is it in fellowship and friendships with those you may be able to get to know better? Is it in those quiet, or not so quiet, moments with your children, siblings, parents? The Ruach is doing the work. We’re just here to listen, receive, and serve, to share His Love.
Could we possibly be living in a more blessed time? I really don’t think so.
Just follow the Ruach.