• Shannon Bryant

Have You Heard?

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.

-Job 42:5

“Do you know Jesus child? I just want you to know Him.” I can still hear my elderly neighbor uttering these words to me. I could hear compassion, love, concern, and desperation in her voice. It was as if her heart was weeping for me to know this Jesus whom she loved so much. I didn’t answer her because I didn’t know Jesus at the time. I had heard about Him, but I didn’t know Him nor had I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. It was obvious to me that she knew Him well because she talked so passionately about Him. It was as if she knew Him personally. I now understand that she did. She wanted so badly for me to know and accept Jesus too.

What started out as me wanting to help a lonely aging lady next door blossomed into a beautiful friendship. In fact, it was more than a friendship. She became like a grandmother to me. I’d take her grocery shopping and to run errands. Some days we’d just sit and talk. I would often cook for her but she would feed me with so much more; spiritual food. I am still being sustained and nourished by all the life-giving lessons she taught me from her table.

She would tell me about how good the Lord had been to her throughout her life. She told me of how she was abandoned as a baby and someone found her and raised her as their own. My friend never knew who her biological parents were, but she was very well acquainted with her Heavenly Father. She shared with me that she was baptized in a ditch filled with water on the side of a road when she was a girl. Her face would brighten up as if she was baptized in the Jordan River when she reflected on that day.

Her stories became my incentive to cook for her even more. My cooking was not that good back then but she would make feel like a master chef. Whatever she needed for me to do, I was obliged. I didn’t know it then, but she had a purpose in those life stories she shared with me; for me to know Jesus.

Furthermore, this fragile woman who I thought was so lonely didn’t seem lonely at all. She had Jesus and He seemed to be enough. I heard a lot about Jesus from my precious friend next door.

It was obvious that her life had not been easy at all. It was also obvious that God was more than faithful to her and she would testify of that frequently. Although she had been “thrown away” as a baby as she would say, God was constant in her life and she was accepted and loved by Him. Over and over she would tell of His goodness and I would sit in eager anticipation of her every word. She was planting seeds in me, unbeknownst to me. Many would water the seeds she planted, and God continues to get the increase and the glory.

For some reason, back then I thought my treasured friend would be with me forever. When she passed away my heart shattered and ached like nothing I had ever experienced before. Such a very special integral part of my life was gone. What was I going to do without her? I loved her so very much. I was beyond blessed to have her for the time I did and I’m forever grateful to God for placing her in my life. Although I was distraught God was faithful to me even then. He gave me strength and kept me like only He can.

The influence and impact she had on my life was monumental. She introduced me to Jesus in such a loving and gracious way. She never forced Him on me nor was she critical or judgmental. I certainly gave her plenty of reasons to be that way, but she never judged me. She loved and accepted me with all my flaws. The life I now live for Christ is partly due to her lifting me up in prayer before the Lord, and her sharing her testimony of God’s faithfulness. One day I will reunite with my friend and we will rejoice! She will know that her prayers were answered. I know Jesus.

My heart cries out to God, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Just as she planted seeds in me, I will plant seeds of God’s message to others who have an ear to hear. I encourage you if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior accept Him into your heart. Now is the time of salvation. Don’t wait! Receive Him today by faith.

Do you really know Him? Or have you just heard about Him? I encourage you to draw close to Him. Diligently seek Him with all your heart. If you do know Jesus; glory to God! But it doesn’t stop there. We have a responsibility to introduce or reintroduce Jesus to others. Some may plant, some water, but God gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6) Look at the world around us. There so much division, hate, anger, fear, and hopelessness. The darker the days the whiter the harvest. The harvest if very ripe and plentiful. (Matthew 9:37) People need a hope and that hope is in Jesus and we are the vessels that God wants to use to spread His gospel message. A fruitful harvest depends upon a faithful witness. Let’s be faithful. It’s harvest time.

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