Avah strolled the Haifa beach, the soft sand caressing her feet. She heard the waves whisper God's love back and forth to each other. The sun touched her shoulder in a warm embrace; the wind kissed her cheek. She could feel the world open up its heart to her for the first time since the death of her friend, Nichol.
“Abba, Hashem,” she prayed. “Thank you for bringing missionaries to our shores. Thank you for revealing Yeshua Ha Mashiach to me.”
She flung her arms heavenward and let the tears flow. Her heart, still raw from holding her dying friend in her arms, cried out for healing. Her young mind craved understanding. Overwhelmed, she knelt in the sand and placed her hands over her head, mourning, praising. The two emotions intertwined as she tried to make sense of the conflict around her, and of her place in it now.
She was no stranger to death. The Lebanon war claimed her father, Avner. Her brother, Ari, died in Gaza. Her mother, Rachael, unable to handle the grief, left her alone at the tender age of twenty.
“But you are not alone, Avah.” She heard again the words of a young woman her age, and sat down in the sand. The image of Nichol flashed before her, reaching out with her hand, extending her heart, living her message. Avah closed her eyes, remembering.
She was at her mother's funeral. Nichol happened by, and stayed from a desire to minister. Avah, overcome with grief, ignored the woman beside her, who whispered strange words. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder, noticed a warmth seep into her soul. Nichol's compassion sealed their new friendship.
They met daily at the beach. Nichol brought her Bible; Avah brought her hungry heart. Yeshua was revealed. *Her friend read about the suffering servant in Isaiah's prophecy, and showed her from the book of Daniel, how the Messiah would be cut off in the middle of his ministry. The Messiah Avah desperately looked for, had already come. The One she desired, now desired her. She gave her heart to Him, and heaven rejoiced.
Together, she and Nichol studied and attended meetings in the Haifa Messianic Congregation, near the University. Avah met genuine goyim (gentiles), with a heart to see the Jews saved. But when pressed to share her new found faith with her own people, she refused. She knew what the reactions would be, felt the sting of rejection. She always answered she needed to learn more first. Nichol knew they were just excuses, but she said nothing, offering only her encouragement and love.
A month after they first met, she and Nichol went to a meeting to celebrate the anniversary of their friendship. They joined a group of believers at a cafe in Tel Aviv. The group quickly swelled, and overflowed into the street, as the passionate voice of the Jewish convert proclaimed the good news of Yeshua to his people. Avah closed her eyes, ashamed of her fear to share her faith.
The young man boldly spoke the truth to a captivated audience, shushed by his compelling strength of character and confidence. “This is what I want, Yeshua,” Avah prayed. She grabbed Nichol's hand. They stood together, caught up in the excitement.
Hearts opened up to the Messianic message. Moments later, a blast from a suicide bomber, tore through the crowd. Nichol grabbed Avah and shielded her, taking the brunt of the shrapnel.
Tears coursed down Avah's cheeks as she held the bloodied body of her friend. She sat in the carnage of the aftermath, amid a pool of blood, broken glass and bodies. A young man crawled over to her and laid his hand on her shoulder. It was the speaker. She saw him mouth the words. “Are you all right?” She couldn't answer. He brushed the hair from the side of her face, understanding. Gently, he closed Nichol's eyes. Avah saw him praying, and in that moment, a new missionary to the Jewish people was born.
“You are not alone.” Yeshua's love and peace stilled her heart. Avah opened her eyes. Someone who needed to know Yeshua, as their Messiah, walked her way.
*Isaiah Chapter 53 & Daniel Chapter 9
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