“Despite all those ‘spooky stories’ of Messianic services, I wasn’t scared by anything.”
I started searching for God, not because my life was a mess or I had problems; I just always longed for something very significant: love, unconditional acceptance, and harmony. Also, my three siblings and I spent our whole childhood listening to Bible stories, which our grandmother would tell us instead of the fairy tales. This caused me to be hungry for God.
It was only 10 years ago that I started searching actively and deliberately. I was searching for peace balance, so I would visit Russian orthodox churches. But after going there, I didn’t feel good at all, although ladies I was meeting there would comment, “It’s absolutely normal to feel this way! It’s how you’re becoming better!” Despite my painful experience with this church, I still kept going there for some years. Finally, I tried going to synagogue – after all, I was Jewish!
By the way, I was never hiding my background from anyone. I’m lucky in this respect – I’ve never experienced rejection on account of my Jewishness. On the contrary, different people considered me worthy of their special trust.
So, the synagogue. Interestingly, I was entirely accepted there. I got very much into Jewishness (from the orthodox point of view, obviously), Hebrew, and even started working there. My worldview changed completely. But even there, despite good fellowship with people, I didn’t feel I fully belonged. The freedom, sense of peace and joy were still missing.
And here’s why. I witnessed and experienced that the synagogal life was all about the relentless focus on the tradition. All about fear of breaking the Law or not fully keeping it. Even Shabbat - the feast of peace – was turned into a fuss, fearing not making everything on time. There was such pressure every Saturday – everybody was so afraid of breaking any rules and doing something wrong. And those rules are not really God’s commandments but more rules and instructions issued by people. Instead of simply abiding in God’s shalom, one just becomes a slave to all those instructions and regulations. And as a result gets separated from the Lord, rather than getting closer to Him. Very much-needed joy and freedom in the Lord is being lost.
Once, on a weekend I decided to visit my friend’s home group (she’d been inviting me to come for a long time, and I couldn’t make it). That day I was free and in a bad mood, so I went.
There, at the group, I found myself immersed in such love and shalom, that I didn’t want to leave that place. And I could understand everything that they talked about. Then I visited Messianic Shabbat (right on Purim). And despite all the spooky stories I had heard about the Messianic services, when I went I wasn’t scared at all. I felt so good, so at ease, as if everything had fallen into place.
And even the word about Yeshua as my Savior I accepted freely, as if I’ve known this truth my whole life!
So, for first 6 months I was just a visitor, familiarizing myself. And then I realized that it was my true home!
There’s another thing I want to say: God is the Jewish God. So is His Son. I believe it’s very important for every Jew to have a relationship with the real and living God and to be saved through Yeshua. I saw this truth in the Word of God, and I came to understand it and accept it. I have no doubts left.
Moreover, my need for genuine, unconditional love has been fulfilled. Praise be to the Lord!