Christ in High Holidays
By Sally O’Connor
I was born into a middle class, Jewish Amercian family, which would have made me a princess” except that my father was a florist, not a doctor. We celebrated almost all the traditional Jewish holidays in a superficial way. While I was taught there was a God, I never really knew him.
When I was eight years old I was bitten on my face by a German Shepherd. This changed my life forever. We had just moved to a new neighborhood when the accident took place. There had been no chance for me to make friends.
It took one hundred stitches to close the wound. When I returned to school my classmates gave me a new name. They called me “Scarface”. From then until I turned twenty-seven I allowed that name to mold me and make me what I was.
When my brother died at eighteen, my family fell apart and left me with a lot of angry questions. I began searching for some answers. From Ayn Rand to Zen, I sought the truth through pages and people I thought had already found it. But none of their philosophies filled the empty place in my heart.
Two close friends, also Jewish, had become believers in Jesus the Messiah. One lent me “The Great Divorce”, and the other recommended “Mere Christianity”. Both books by C.S. Lewis left quite an impression on me. Mere Christianity ignited with me a question which filled up my heart and mind: “How could there be a God in this cold and infinite universe who could love me?”
That very night God answered me. He gave me a glimpse of His love. It was a love without shadow, a love so pure and holy that I was sure nothing within me could produce such a feeling. And I knew, even though I didn’t want to, that this was God touching me. Even so, being every bit as “stiff-necked” as my forefathers, it took me all of nine months to commit my life to Jesus.
When I began this strange and wondrous journey with Jesus, my faith was tentative at best. My heart had been balled up like a fist for years and I wasn’t about to surrender the tender parts to One I hardly knew — not even the One I acknowledged as Lord.
But God, with a gentle and merciful hand, began to peel away the layers of skin grown over like scabs on the wounds of my heart He showed me His scars through the Scriptures and in the living testimonies of His people. In time I began to understand the depth of love they signified. His love opened my fists and loosened my heart.
As I turned to Jesus and allowed Him to touch those raw and tender places, I began to heal.
There are wounds that lay open upon our bodies for everyone to see. In the course of time they heal, to whatever degree they can, and become scars. They remain as markers in our lives, but they are healed and no longer painful to touch.
Then there are those hurts which no one can see. Often these take longer to heal and become scars. Now, like the physical mark I bear from the dog, there are scars in my heart where once there were wounds. Grace has taken pain’s place.
It is my hope that my scars may become windows through which people may see the beauty of God’s Son and how everything He touches is transfigured by His love.
It is the hope of my husband, Michael, and I that God will use our words and music to “Bind up the broken-hearted” and set the captives free.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Perhaps you have never had the opportunity to meet your High Priest Yeshua (Jesus’)? Now is as good a time as any. Jesus said in “Mat 11:28, Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He also said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me. If you’re looking for answers there’s no better place to turn then to God, the Creator of heaven and earth. The Bible says, “confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) If you’ve never done that, or if you need to recommit yourself to follow God, then please don’t wait any longer. Ask Him now in a prayer like this:
Father, please forgive me for my many sins. I know that I haven’t always been the person that I should be. I accept the sacrifice of your Son Jesus for my sins and I ask you to forgive me and help me to live the rest of my life for you. You alone have the answers and can teach me of your plan for my life.
In Jesus name I pray,
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer the Bible says, “Therefore, if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cr 5:17)
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time or are renewing your commitment to the Lord, please let us know so that we can pray for you as you start your new life with Jesus.
You can learn more about Sally at improbablepeople.org