More Stories...

"And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
John 21:25

There are so many stories of God's intervention in our lives, which don't fit into any "category." And such are His stories -so unique and so very wonderful. I suppose the world couldn't contain the number of "categories" needed to record them!

See the links to the stories on the side panel.

The LORD God Is Also A Good Accountant

In the last year of high school I took part in a selection procedure for a course to become a tax-inspector but just missed that boat! What next?

My father, who for most of his working life was a bookkeeper in a printing company, advised me to apply for a job as assistant-accountant. That was an excellent advice. I was accepted by a well-known Dutch charter accountant company and started my working career as a 17-year-old, just fresh out of high school, but I did like the job immediately.

I received several promotions during my four years as assistant accountant, and would certainly have continued this job if the LORD had not called me to go to Bible College. I even had started studying Accounting, but my involvement in our church as a youth leader was not the right combination time-wise.

During these four years I learned that our heavenly Father is well aware where our earthly pennies are, and that He is an extremely good Accountant.

Just to give a few examples:

One of the companies where I regularly came to check the books had encountered a minor problem. At the end of the year there was a small technical balance deficit that they could not find the reason for. Good counsel is always welcome, certainly if God is the counselor. I prayed about it and promised God that if He would show me the solution that I would testify about it. And so it happened. I found the deficit, and was prompted from “on High” to live up to my promise, and I was able to share the testimony that only after I had prayed for it, God had revealed the answer!

A similar thing happened a while later when I worked with another company. The deficit was much larger and more urgent because the yearly figures needed to be published. I prayed again about this problem, and in His kindness, God used me again to find the problem. That they accepted my testimony that God had helped me is a different story!

I know for sure that the LORD God, our heavenly Father, knows exactly where every penny is, even in the accounting system of a very worldly business!

God is good, always!

Wim van der Zande

When God Changes Your Plan

It was near time to leave on a missions trip to Russia which I was taking through the Barnabbas organization. I had requested the organization put me on Delta with my friend Grady, so that we would fly together from New York straight to Moscow, as we had done in the past.

They always send you the tickets just a couple days before you leave. And when the tickets came, I was aghast to find they had put me on British Airlines going through London. Boy was I angry. That meant that now I was going to have to travel alone, because my friend Grady's tickets had him on Delta. So not only will I be traveling alone, but in London I'll have to make a change too, because this flight is going to Gatwick, and then I have to get to Heathrow which is seventy two miles away. So boy, I was just really angry, and it was too late to do anything about it.

The first leg of the trip was uneventful and I made the change in London without a problem, and went on to Moscow. But coming back was a bit different.

First of all, I'm traveling alone again. Everyone else in the group was leaving in the afternoon, but my flight was in the evening. And I was facing another change in London again, arriving in Heathrow and having to get to Gatwick. At night. The last bus from Heathrow to Gatwick leaves at 10:30. And my flight gets in at ten past ten, and I knew there was no way I was going to make that bus. By the time you go through customs and passport control and all that, it was going to be an impossible situation.

So I boarded the plane and found out they had also changed my seat assignment! Now I'm in the front of the plane! Well, we arrive in Heathrow ten minutes early, and because I'm in the front of the plane, I'm the first one in line at passport control. And then at customs there was hardly anyone around and I just breezed through. Boy, maybe I can make that bus after all. So I'm running, and asking people as I run, "where do you get the bus to Gatwick?" Someone yelled back and told me where to get that bus. I got there to find out the bus was late getting there, so I made the bus!!! Count the steps that had to happen in order for me to make this bus!

So we get to Gatwick. It's after midnight now. I get to a hotel and find that a room will cost me 258 dollars. For a couple hours sleep?? There was a McDonald's there at the airport, so I paid $4.00 for a Big Mac, then I just walked around trying to figure out what I should do. Finally I decided to just sit down awhile. So I found a seat, and there was a row of seats opposite me, facing me, with people trying to sleep there.

Then this guy starts talking to me. So I spoke back and in the end I spent until 6:00 in the morning talking to this man. Hours. We just talked. Hours. I happened to have a copy of my book, "What Does God Really Want," so I gave it to him. His next flight was earlier than mine, so he left.

I finally got home.

About a month later, my friend Grady calls me and says, "you have a letter here from New Zealand!" I said, "from New Zealand??? Who on earth could that be? Open it and read it."

I could hardly believe it! It was from the man I spoke to for four hours in the Gatwick terminal! He was a pastor of a church. He hadn't told me that. In the letter, he told me that he had lost his faith and had taken a trip to Scotland just to get away and try to regain his faith. That's when he met me in the airport terminal. He had regained his faith and was now back pastoring his church. He said that I had said to him that our meeting had been a pre-ordained deal. He continued, "to me, you are Moses the American!"

Now, the question is: did God know about this before the tickets were arranged?

Clarence O

Simon's Story

I had turned him down twice, and here he was again asking me to go for coffee with him. So I decided this time I'd go and explain to him why I was turning him down.

"I'm a Christian, you're a Jew," I said. "It wouldn't be right for either of us."

"Don't get me wrong," he said. I'm not looking for a wife, not even a girlfriend. My wife died 5 months ago and I can't seem to get out of this depression. I am just so alone. I asked God for a friend, man or woman, just a friend, anyone, someone to be with over a cup of coffee."

Funny, I had asked God for the same. At the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem where I worked, maybe a third of the people were married. And most of the rest were young people doing what young people do. So I didn't fit in socially. The people at work really were wonderful. I'd never had a job I enjoyed as much as this one. But after work, I was alone and very, very lonely.

"Well this could work," I said, "if that's all you want. It would be nice to have someone to go places with. Would you be interested in helping me speak better Hebrew?"

"Absolutely!" he said.

As it turned out, that really WAS a good deal for me. I could only speak the language enough to make myself understood, and THAT with many mistakes. Like some other languages, Hebrew words have masculine and feminine forms, among many other things hard to get used to, and anyone with an English background would find it very difficult.

So we began meeting at "Arno's" in downtown Jerusalem every day after work. He would correct my Hebrew, and I would give him companionship. Life was good.

Those of you who aren't as naive perhaps as me, can probably predict the rest of the story. Yes, we grew close. I began to thoroughly enjoy those meetings every day after work, and came to greatly look forward to them. We couldn't be seen in public at first, because he wanted to honor his wife's memory by being discreet. "After the year has passed," he said, "we can start going out in public." And so we did. When the year had passed, instead of meeting indoors, we began strolling the streets of Jerusalem. I couldn't remember how long it had been since I was this happy.

One of the things I loved about Simon was that he was a great conversationalist. He was interesting to listen to, and he was truly interested in listening to me. My Hebrew improved daily. He couldn't speak English at all, so I was forced to speak only in Hebrew and that's truly the best way to learn a language, in fact I couldn't have learned any other way. Books and tapes, even Ulpan (Hebrew school) can only bring you so far. Speaking it is the only way to really learn a language.

Simon and I couldn't marry for quite some time. He still had two sons at home, and they did not want anything to do with me. They had been very close to their mother. On the day of their older brother's wedding, their mother had taken sick. After a period of testing and more testing, the doctors finally concluded that she had an illness common to Jewish people from Morocco, where both she and Simon had been born. The disease destroys the liver, and she eventually had to have a liver transplant. She was sent to a specialized hospital in France, where she stayed a year before she died.

What a sad story that was. She and Simon had started out life from the very bottom. When Simon left Morocco as an adolescent, he was smuggled out and left with only the clothes on his back. He stayed at an orphanage in France until reaching military age, and then was sent to Israel and went into the army. He told me that he remembered being overjoyed that he could count on having three meals a day. He had known what it was to be hungry. After he completed his military duty, he entered into an arranged marriage. They bought a small house. It wasn't anything to write home about, but it was all they could afford at the time. Years later, after working long and hard, they decided to completely redo the inside of the house. His wife oversaw all the details and turned that house into something anyone would be proud of. They stayed with relatives while the construction was taking place, and moved back in shortly before their oldest son got married. That very short period was to be the only time she would get to enjoy her new home. On the day of her son's wedding she took sick. She was sent to France, had the transplant but never recovered and died a year later.

So naturally, when their children found out that their father was seeing someone new, they wanted nothing to do with me. I can only imagine how hard it would be for them to know I would be in their mother's kitchen, which she had so lovingly designed. I never made any attempt to meet his children, because I thoroughly understood how they felt.

Actually it was good that there was a long period of time before we married. Both he and I brought a lot of "baggage" into the story. We were both very intense people, and sometimes that created problems. The "good" was very good, and the "bad" was very bad. Many times I would go to the Lord and stamp my feet and scream, "what on earth are you doing? This man is impossible!"

But it was obvious to both of us that it was the Lord's doing from the very beginning. Simon later told me his version of how we began. He said that approaching me three times was extremely humiliating to him. He said that if he ever were turned down by a woman even once, he would NEVER approach her again. "But," he said, "as I walked up Ben Yehudah Street and saw you standing there with those musicians you came to listen to each day, I actually felt as though there were a hand on my back pushing me in your direction. That happened not once, but three times," he said, "I actually physically felt as though a hand on my back was nudging me toward you. It had to be God, because my pride would never have allowed me to do that otherwise."

On my part, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion for someone who had gone through so much in life and was now so alone. Never did I intend it to become more than that, but as time went on I began to see the hand of the Lord in it over and over again, much to my amazement because we were not of the same faith. Several times I tried to end it, and the ways the Lord would bring us back together were absolutely dumbfounding. I even went back to the US after fulfilling my two-year commitment to the Christian Embassy, and those few months I stayed in the US were some of the most painful and frustrating months I had experienced in a long, long time.

I realized I shouldn't have left Israel. I prayed and prayed about this, feeling I should go back, but confused - I couldn't understand why the Lord would want me with a man who didn't share my faith. Finally, I put what some Christians call "a fleece" before the Lord. This is something I do not advise anyone to do except in the extremest of cases. It's one thing to need to know for sure in the case of a major life decision, but quite another to "test the Lord," which the Bible makes clear we are NOT to do.

The "fleece" goes back to the Biblical story of Gideon. Gideon could hardly believe that what God was telling him to do was really God saying it. So he suggested to the Lord some impossible thing and said that if this impossible thing would happen, he'd know it was God. In this story God did cause the impossible thing to happen so Gideon would know without a doubt that it was God speaking to him. In like manner, I suggested to the Lord that if He, God, would cause Simon to call me in the middle of the night Israel time, then I would know God wanted me back in Israel to complete the story he, God, had begun. Well ...shortly afterwards I was speaking on the phone with a friend. It was about 8:00 in the evening which would be 3:00 A.M. Simon's time - the middle of the night there - and there was a beep on the line. I switched over to see who it was. I could hardly believe it, and the hairs stood up on my arms when I heard his voice! It was Simon!!!

So, after a few more clear confirmations that I was doing the right thing, I went back to Israel. I noticed, too, that the date I returned to Israel turned out to be the same date, March 27, I had gone the first time. This in no way was planned by me that way. It just worked out to be the very same date. It was also Simon's birthday.

Before deciding to return to Israel, I had asked the Lord if there was any way He could put my life back exactly as it had been before, as though I had never left. The Lord is so faithful. He'll never let one of his children make huge decisions like this without being very, very clear that what they're doing is the right thing. One way He showed me that, was that not only did I return to the Christian Embassy, but I was housed in the very same apartment I had had before, and slept in the very same bed. The Embassy has more than 25 apartments, so this would have been almost impossible to happen outside of the direct action of the Lord. But that's not all -- at work I found myself at the very same desk I had left. Only God could do that. It just blew me away that after leaving and having someone else take over my job, I was able now to return to it exactly as it had been.

By this time, Simon's sons had left home. One married, and the other went into the military. Still, we didn't marry right away because he wanted me to study Judaism first. I did this gladly for him, because the point was to make me more acceptable to his family and friends, not including his sons, of course. And studying Judaism wouldn't be any threat to my Christain beliefs. After all, Jesus was a Jew, and will return as a Jew - to the Mount of Olives even! Finally, though, we married.

From the very beginning of this story, I told the Lord that if HE had any intentions of bringing Simon to the knowledge of Jesus, HE would have to do it alone because I vowed never to do to him - or to anyone else, for that matter -- what I had done to my first husband. In the case with my first husband, we had been married for nine years before I entered into the "born again" relationship with God. Having experienced God in a most remarkable way, I SO wanted my (first) husband to know him that way too. So I barraged him with books to read and tapes to listen to, and dragged him to this meeting and that conference, so desperate was I to share this new life with him, not realizing that my very efforts were having the opposite effect upon him. Later when I came to understand that, I decided I would never do that to another human being. Not only does it NOT WORK, but oftentimes it will turn the person AGAINST the Lord. Having seen this so clearly, I told the Lord that I didn't know his plans concerning Simon, but that I would not do to him what I did to my first husband. "He's all yours, Lord, but you'll have to bring him to yourself alone, if that's what you intend."

Simon loved to listen to my stories. He asked me about Jesus, "Yeshua" in Hebrew, and all I did was tell him the stories of how the Lord answered my prayers and did wonderful things in my life. He wanted to hear them again and again. I could see that Simon loved the Lord. I didn't "teach" him doctrine, all I did was tell him the stories. He told me stories too, of the Lord's guidance and provision in his own life. He didn't "know" Him intimately and personally as one does when they become "born again," but he knew that God had guided his life and always made provision for him.

One day Simon had a problem. His son had finished his army duty and now wanted to go to college. How to pay for his son's college education? He didn't have enough money to finance it. Would I pray, he wanted to know? He had heard so many of my stories of answered prayer, that it suddenly had occurred to him to ask me to ask the Lord to make a way for him to send his son to college. "Of course I'll pray," I told him.

Not long after, a man on the street stepped out of the crowd, approached him and told him that a relative of Simon's wife had willed his apartment to Simon because he had done some good deed to him along time ago!?!

He came home, stunned. He just sat there in his chair, trying to take this information in. All of a sudden he's the owner of an apartment someone just happened to leave him??? He couldn't believe it! He just sat there shocked. Upon looking into it, he found there were complications to the story. There was someone else who should have inherited the place. What to do? He asked me if I would mind asking "Yeshua" just one more thing, to show him what to do. I did, and of course the Lord came through and he ended up being the recipient of that property, which he rented out and thus had a way to pay his son's college education.

This blew his mind. All the way from not knowing about the apartment, to finding out about it in such an unusual way, shortly after asking for prayer that a way be made, and then to receiving it over the objection of someone else, thus making the ONLY way available to him to pay for his son's schooling! He knew beyond any shadow of a doubt, that "Yeshua" had answered his unlikely prayer.

Simon began telling his friends about how the Lord answered my prayers, and in the most remarkable ways! He told this to his sister, who had been kind, but not welcoming toward me, because I wasn't Jewish. So she spoke to another sister and the two sisters cooked up a plot to test me. His sister who lived in Haifa invited us to spend the weekend with them. Now this sister, Janet, was very welcoming towards me because she saw her brother happier than she had ever known him. Janet had a daughter whose husband was studying to be a rabbi. They asked if I'd like to meet this daughter as well as two other daughters who lived nearby.

So we went to the house of the budding rabbi.

After the initial pleasantries, we settled into the livingroom and in comes the rabbi-to-be, quite intimidating to someone who has never been in the same room with such a one, complete with dreadlocks and all dressed in black. He sat down and made some small talk very briefly, and then he asked me to tell them all why I came to Israel. Well it just so happened that that entire story was an amazing story of God's dealing with a daughter in a very, very sovereign way leaving no question whatsoever that this was an act of God. So I told the story, all in my not-so-good Hebrew (because they also didn't speak English.) The rabbi just sat there and listened intently. Afterwards, Simon said to me, "Now tell them the story of....." and then he asked for another and another of my stories, and the whole family sat there in rapt attention as I told one story after another among the many that he had heard from me.

Little did I realize that this was a setup, from which I'd be judged according to the pronouncement of the rabbi. After telling the last story, everyone's eyes turned to the rabbi. And suddenly I realized what was going on, and that this man was going to tell them what he thought of this Christian woman who had come into Simon's life. It's a good thing I didn't realize until later what was going on, because had I known I was "on trial," I would have been too nervous to tell these stories. But anyway, the moment had come and everyone awaited the rabbi's judgment.

He looked me right in the eye and said, "It's obvious to me .........that the Shekinah (glory of God) has been upon you."

When I look back at that moment, I can hardly believe it happened. They were impressed by my stories of God's guidance and provision, but I was impressed, no - I was shocked -- that an orthodox rabbi-in-the-making would ever pronounce with his lips such an observation about someone first of all not Jewish, and second of all a Christian. The Jewish people have been persecuted for centuries by "so-called" Christians -- and all many of them knew was that we thought of them as Christ-killers. So how God brought this about makes me shake my head in amazement to this day.

But there was a greater story taking place here. Little did I know it at the time, but this was only one part of God's moving upon Simon's heart. This was just a part, a necessary element in the story that would lead him to discover the Messiah.

A few months later, a friend of mine from the Christian Embassy came to visit. Simon liked Glen because Glen could speak some Hebrew and loved to try it out on Simon. So Glen came and sat down in the livingroom with us. After a short while, Glen asked Simon, "do you have a Bible?" So Simon got up and brought him his Bible. And Glen turned to Isaiah 53, which is a chapter in Isaiah that is omitted during the Jewish yearly scheduled readings. It's all about the Messiah.

Glen is an evangelist at heart, fully equipped by God to perform his role impeccably. I'd seen him in operation time and time again and was really awed at the way he reached people. But my heart sank when I saw what he was going to do, because I had never come onto Simon hot and heavy with doctrine. And I knew he was going to resent this. He had told me back in the beginning that he was born a Jew and he would die a Jew, and I had reassured him that I was 100% in agreement with that, and that was the truth. I never played games with him about this, I left him totally in the Lord's hands.

Glen opened up to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and read it to him phrase by phrase, slowly, deliberately, asking him if there was anyone else who could have fulfilled this prophecy. Simon just sat there silently. Glen got up after awhile to go to the rest room, and Simon turned and glared at me, and I immediately said, "I did NOT put him up to this, Simon, I had NO idea he was going to do this." He believed me because he knew from the beginning that I always speak the truth. Glen returned, finished up the chapter, and then left, much to my relief. I was in no way expecting what was going to happen next.

The next morning Glen came into my office at the Christian Embassy. He said to me, "Do you know where Simon is right now?"

I answered, "at this time of day he would be on his way to the shuk, probably down on Ben Yehudah at this point...???"

"Yes, that's exactly where he is," Glen said.

"He's down on Ben Yehudah Street telling his friends that Yeshua is ....the MESSIAH! He's telling them that he saw it last night in the Tenakh (the Bible)!!!"

I couldn't answer. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea....

The next installment in the Lord's story with Simon took place during the Feast of Tabernacles. Each year the Christian Embassy hosts a week-long celebration of the Jewish Feast of Succot, or Tabernacles. Thousands of Christians from all over the world come to Jerusalem for the Feast. I worked in registrations. By the time the celebrations began, I had registered most of them who traveled in tour groups, usually five or six thousand. But during the seminars I had to sit in the lobby to register the many who came only for single sessions. This particular night was the opening session, and the convention center was packed. All seats were filled, and there wasn't even standing room left. The Prime Minister of Israel always spoke at our opening session.

Suddenly, the Lord spoke to my heart, "I want Simon in there tonight."

"Wha.....??? Lord, you know I can't get him in there, there's not a single place left, not even standing room!"

"I want him in there tonight."

So I decided to just wait on the Lord, because only HE could make this happen.

Simon had come to wait for me to finish up with registrations that night, and then we'd go home together. I said to him, "would you like to see how many people have come from all over the world to worship God in Jerusalem?" I took him over to the door and opened it, and there right in front of him was my good friend Nancy from the Christian Embassy, another of my friends that he liked.

The crowd were singing worship songs to the Lord, and many of them had their arms raised in praise to God. Nancy was standing there, her arms raised in worship, her eyes closed and tears streaming down her face.

Simon stopped short, stunned, and just looked at her. Then a man and woman got up from their seats and left, so he and I sat down. He didn't understand the speech by the Prime Minister because he spoke in English, but he experienced being in the midst of a people who loved God so much they would come to Israel to worship him with all of their hearts. He was very quiet.

Then after we left, he said to me, "Did-- you -- see ....."

"What, Simon?"


"Yes, I saw her."

"She had tears pouring down her face."

"Yes. So?"

"Do you ....I mean, when you pray, ...uhh, do you pray like that?"

"Yes, why?"

"With your arms raised and tears?"

"Yes, sometimes."

"How come I've never seen you do that?"

"Because I don't show myself to you when I pray, I pray in the morning after you've left the house."

He didn't say anymore. He had witnessed something he had never seen in all his life - that a person can love the Lord so much that they'd pour out worship to Him as though they were standing right in front of Him, in wholehearted abandon with tears like floods flowing down their faces. I saw that realization penetrate his heart deep down in the very depths of him. God himself had touched his heart that night with an impact that would bring him to the edge of the Kingdom.

One other story was to take place in Simon's life, and I guess this is the one I appreciate the most.

Simon was, and had been for many years, addicted to cigarettes. He had asthma and cigarette smoking so weakened his lungs that he had frequent very serious asthma attacks. He knew he needed to stop smoking but he just couldn't do it.

One night after an asthma attack, he sat down with me in the livingroom and asked me to "ask Yeshua" to help him stop smoking.

"Simon," I said, "I've brought so many of your requests to him, and you've seen for yourself how he has answered them. I think it's time now, that you ask him yourself."

He squirmed in the chair, and his face got white.

I said to him, "you have nothing to fear, Simon, hasn't he only given to you kindness?"

He sat there and thought about it. And then very suddenly he got up, went into the kitchen and stood before the window facing the southern end of the Mount of Olives, he raised his hands as he had seen Nancy do, and he said, "Yeshua, please, I ask you to help me to stop smoking."

On witnessing this, my goosebumps had goosebumps. Now I was the one who was shocked.

To make a long story short, several months later his son called and told him he was coming over, he needed to discuss something with him. "Paula's here, b'ni." "I know, but I need to talk to you." So his son came over and I met him for the first time. He was cordial, shook my hand, and went into the livingroom and sat down. I sat down also, but didn't say a word, trying to fade into the background.

After talking for awhile, his son suddenly said, "Dad, where are the ashtrays?"

Simon didn't answer right away.

"Dad, you're not smoking???"

"No," he said.

"How long has this been?"

"About a year."

"A YEAR??? You haven't smoked in a YEAR!!? How did that happen?!?"

He couldn't tell his son that Yeshua had set him free. His son was spiritually where Simon was when I met him. He only said, "Paula prayed for me."

At that, his son slowly turned to me --and said, "maybe you'd pray for me too?"

And I have prayed for him, for him and his brothers ...ever since.

Life was "normal" for awhile, until one day when I came home from work to find Simon distressed. He asked me if I interpret dreams.

"No," I said, "why? Have you had an odd dream?"

"I dreamed," he said, "that I was trying to get to your home. It was across this highway that had a lot of traffic. When the cars stopped for the light, I tried to climb over them to get across to your home on the other side, but I couldn't. So then I tried to crawl under them, and I couldn't. The cars started moving again and I saw there was no way for me to get to the other side, to your home. But then, out of the blue, Yeshua (Jesus) came! He was so tall. He came and went into the traffic and stopped the traffic, parted the way for me, and I went across to the other side, to your home."

I sat there stunned, the hairs standing up stiffly on my arms, chills going down my back. Of course I understood the dream, but I didn't tell him that. Little did I realize that someday that dream would mean a lot to me but for now, I could only wonder why the Lord would give him a dream like that. There's a Scripture that says that Mary, Jesus's mother, when hearing words she did not understand, just kept them in her heart. And that's what I did at hearing this dream of his, I had no idea why he would have such a dream, so I just put it on a shelf in my heart. I knew that this dream of Yeshua parting the way for him so he could go to the other side -- contained the suggestion of the real meaning of "the other side." He was trying to get to my home? THIS was my home, the one I was living in with him. I didn't have any other home, I lived with him! So it was obvious that the dream portrayed a time when Yeshua would make the way across for him, to the other side, to my real home -which would become his real home too.

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."
Hebrews 11:13-16

Simon was several years older than I was. He'd only live to be 63 years old when the Lord would come for him. I was in the US at the time, and received a phone call that he had been found dead. At first I didn't make all these connections, because I wasn't expecting him to die. And I descended into a shocked grief that wracked my soul. Before telling the next thing that happened, I need to lay the context for the reader to understand.

Many years prior to this, I was married to what the Bible calls "a head and shoulders man." In the Biblical story of Israel, the Israelites had demanded a king. God was not happy with them, because till now HE had been their King. But they demanded a king "like all the other nations," so he gave them a king. He gave them Saul, who was a "head and shoulders man," that is, Saul was tall -head and shoulders above most of the other young men - very good looking, charismatic and capable in war, the essence of what humanity would want for a king.

But Saul let them down and was unfaithful to God. This man they had on a pedestal failed them, and he ultimately brought so much wrath upon himself that he lost his kingdom and then his life. Then the Lord told Israel that now HE would give them a King of HIS choice. The prophet Samuel was told that the man of God's choice would be among the sons of Jesse from Bethlehem. So Jesse brought his oldest son before the prophet, but the prophet said, "no this isn't the one." So Jesse brought his next son, only to find that this one wasn't the one God would appoint either. Jesse brought each of his sons, one by one, before the prophet until the prophet said that no, none of these were God's appointed king. Finally, the prophet asked Jesse, "don't you have any other son, because none of these is the one God will appoint." "Well," said Jesse, "there IS one more, the youngest one, the runt, little freckle-face David, he's out tending the sheep, he's a singer of songs, not a man like Saul." The prophet tells Jesse to go get him. And when Jesse brought little David to him, the prophet said THIS IS the one!

God's ways are so far above our ways, as far as heaven is above the earth, he says. God wasn't interested in good looks, or height. David wasn't a man "head and shoulders" above the rest. He was a lowly sheep tender, a singer of songs. A lover of God. And one whom God loved.

A few days after I married Simon, the Lord had spoken to me, "blessed are you for not going after the younger men." He showed me that my first marriage was to a "head and shoulders" man, tall and handsome, successful in the ways of the world, brilliant and powerful, all the things a young girl would swoon at. That marriage, however, was a disaster. My first husband was Saul to me. God showed me when I married Simon, that he would be David to me.

So after receiving the call informing me that Simon had been found dead - he died of an asthma attack - I went to the Lord sobbing, crying my heart out, how could this be?!? "You delivered him from cigarettes only to let him die of another asthma attack?" The grief was overwhelming to me. And the feelings of guilt - if I had been there would he perhaps not have died? I'd been with him through countless asthma attacks and I just cringed at the thought of him going through that alone. I was overcome and overwhelmed with grief.

A few days later, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said to me, "go backwards in your Bible to find the chapter you read on the day Simon died." Feebly, I took my Bible and half-heartedly counted back that many days until I came to what I would have read on the day he died.

The tears stopped, and then started up all over again, this time not from grief, but from joy.

What I had read on the day Simon died, was the story of .......the death of King David!!! The day King David was taken "to the other side!"

And then I knew, I realized -that I had lived out a story that God had wrought from beginning to end. On my part it was learning that it's not height, beauty, or qualifications that God looks at, but the heart. The Lord had taught me this lesson by bringing me first through a King Saul marriage that miserably failed, to a King David marriage, one from God and for God's own purposes. The story ended with this little Jewish man from the other side of the world, who couldn't even speak English, had never met a Christian, but had a soft heart toward God, and incidentally loved to sing and often sang both to me and to God. This story brought him to recognize his Messiah and be led by him across the busy highway and on over, not only to my "home," but to his home now, there to live in the joy of the Lord for all eternity.

One of the characteristics of God's dealings with us is that we almost always are not given to understand the story we're in at the time, but are called to walk it in faith knowing that God brings about blessings beyond our ability to imagine if only we commit our way to him and walk each step in obedience, ESPECIALLY when it makes no sense to us. And it WON'T make sense to us until the Lord sheds light upon it later, sometimes YEARS later.

The story isn't over. The day will come when I'll be taken home, to my home "on the other side," and oh how wonderful is the joyful anticipation of it! No, it's truly not over. I long to see Simon again. I often try to picture in my mind how it must have been for him to stand before his Messiah who had parted the way for him so he could be taken to "my home," now also his home. I am in awe when I relive the story, a story I had no clue about as it was happening. I relish every segment of it and marvel at how the Lord put it together totally on his own, without my pestering Simon, as I had vowed never to do to anyone again.

I think back to the days before I went to Israel, to the days when the Lord told me to start learning Hebrew. At the time it was almost a joke. I had no idea why on earth the Lord would have me study Hebrew -- there aren't any Hebrew-speaking people in my town. But the Lord so kept that direction before my attention that I couldn't get away from it. Sometimes I'd shake my head at the absurdity of taking on the learning of such a foreign and difficult language, and I'd put it aside because what I was doing seemed ridiculous to me. But each time I put it aside, the Lord came right back at me with the command to go back to it. It was uncanny.

So I studied the language - for three years - with no understanding whatsoever why I should do such a thing. Little did I know -- oh boy, how I had NO idea -- that I was being prepared to take the message of the Messiah to one little Jewish man on the other side of the world, one who didn't speak English at all, therefore I had to know his language, one who had never in his life met a Christian. When I sit back and take the whole story in, it just overwhelms me to realize the extents God will go to in order to bring one person to himself.

So husbands, wives, don't badger your spouse. God is well able to reveal his salvation to them, but will be HINDERED if you get in the way and do things or say things that will cause them to feel like they're under pressure. They will only resent you for it. Take yourself OUT of the way! And just pray for them. God is well able to do super-abundantly beyond all that you ask or even think. Trust him.

He is trustworthy.

P Maillet