Piercing a Mother’s Heart – A Story

“Years ago, I was told it would happen. Shortly after He was born. I didn’t understand it then and it’s hard for me to understand it now,” she thought to herself in the midst of her seemingly endless flow of tears.

It was a pain the likes of which she never felt before – sharp and piercing, as though a sword had gone through her. “My son, my son”, she cried, as she looked up at Yeshua, nailed to a cross, blood flowing from His head, His arms, His face. She could hardly recognize Him, and seeing the son of her womb in His present condition, was unbearable. “Aunt Miriam”, John called out, as he grabbed hold of her to prevent her from falling to the ground. 

A lifetime passed in a moment. Thirty three years earlier, Miriam was taking care of things around the house and preparing things in anticipation of her upcoming marriage to Joseph. “Joseph should arrive later today to visit, maybe I’ll prepare his favorite meal as a surprise, he’s working so hard…”. Suddenly, Miriam heard someone calling her name. She thought everyone in the family had gone out and didn’t expect anyone to come. When she turned and saw him standing there, his appearance so bright and radiant. She wasn’t scared, she had a sense of heavenly peace as she looked at the person speaking to her. “An angel!” She never saw an angel before, but there was no doubt, one was now in her home and talking to her. As Miriam listened to the words of the angel, she felt an increasing joy well up within her accompanied by an expectation to know more. “But, how will this be?” As the angel explained everything to her, all Miriam could think of was “I am the Lord’s servant, may your will be done as you speak”, and that was all she said. She thought her heart would burst from excitement and joy.

“Wow, I can’t wait to tell Joseph. What will he say, what will he think? God, I trust you in this matter, please let Joseph believe me and give him the joy and expectancy for this wonderful news”. 

Miriam began to prepare dinner, but all she could think about what the presence of the angel and what he said to her. She still can’t believe it. When Joseph arrived, her excitement bubbled over. “Joseph! I am So happy to see you!” Miriam ran to him and cupped his hands in hers. Joseph had a puzzled look on his face, wondering what all the excitement was about. “My dear Miriam, I am so happy to be here too,” Joseph said lovingly as he looked at his young fiancée. “Is that what I think it is?” Joseph asked as he drew near to the kitchen table. He smiled as he saw his favorite meal, and smelled the spices. “Oh…yes, it is”, said Miriam. “You work so hard and I wanted to encourage you today”. Joseph washed his hands and sat down to eat, but he hardly took a bite when Miriam began sharing her news. “What?!” Joseph said, staring at her, trying to understand what she was saying. “But, Miriam, how? OK, I heard what you said, but really?” Joseph had a hard time believing her. His mind started to race. “She couldn’t have…could she? I thought she was faithful, that she loved me…is she telling the truth?” Miriam stood and looked at Joseph, begging with her eyes that he believe her. “I need to go home Miriam, I need time to think”. “But Joseph…” she started, “let me be, Miriam, I need time to think, to pray … to understand”.

That night Miriam sat and prayed fervently. “God, I trust you. You chose me to carry the child that the angel spoke about, but to raise him, I need Joseph with me. Please, speak to him, let him believe me. I know that if he doubts, so will others. So will my family, my sister and parents. God of Abraham, keep me in your hands and protect me, guide me”.

Miriam wasn’t the only one praying fervently that night. So was Joseph at his house. “God, she is so young, perhaps her heart was led astray? Maybe I should send her away quietly so as not to put her to shame, I still love her and this sounds so unreal”. Jospeh felt sadness as the decision began to come together to send his beloved Miriam away, so she would not be found pregnant out of marriage. 

Miriam began to feel the changes in her body. She knew she was pregnant, just like the angel said she would be. She needed to get a handle on all of this and decided to visit her relative Elisheva for three months, all the while continuing to pray that God would give Joseph a trusting spirit.

“Joseph, Joseph, fear not…” Joseph ran to Miriam’s house the morning after she returned. He had no moment to lose. “An angel appeared to me last night Miriam”, he said, “and told me everything, I am sorry I didn’t believe you. We must get married sooner than planned Miriam, I will make all the arrangements”. Miriam thanked God quietly in her heart as Joseph spoke to her, holding her hands in his with love and understanding. It seemed to her like another time, another world.

As Miriam gazed on her son hanging on the cross, she recalled these events, and remembered how she and Joseph had fled to Egypt because Herod sought to kill her son. She recalled how not long before that, shortly after giving birth to him, she and Joseph went to Jerusalem to make the sacrifices for the first born son. As she cradled her little one in her arms, stroking his cheeks and gently touching his hair, an elderly man named Simon approached them. Despite the passage of the years, she never forgot the words he said and what he told her personally, “and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Miriam didn’t know what to make of it at the time, but she kept those things in her heart.

As the years went by, she saw Yeshua grow and at the age of 12, she thought she lost him somewhere in Jerusalem. But, after three days of being “missing”, he told her and Joseph that He was about his father’s business. Again, Miriam added this to the things she kept in her heart.

Miriam knew all this time, since before Yeshua’s birth, that He was special. She could accept that he is the promised Messiah. But she did not expect to see him die. What mother would?

As Yeshua began doing miracles around the land and calling His disciples, she thought, “Maybe, just maybe, now he will establish the kingdom. Oh, if only Joseph were alive to see him now. How proud Joseph was of Yeshua, how he loved him as his own”. But, just as many began to follow Him, opposition to Yeshua also started to grow. And, with the passage of only three short years since He began to minister, the Sanhedrin sought to kill her son, just as Herod did when Yeshua was just a baby. “Why won’t they listen to him? Why do they hate him?” It hurt her to see her son being rejected.

So many memories went through her mind, as she stood the entire six hours at Golgotha, watching her son, wanting to yell at those who mocked him and laughed at him. As news of Yeshua’s arrest the night before spread quickly, Miriam had no time to lose. “I must see him, I must get to him now”. She could not make it through the crowds at Pilate’s court, all she could do was stand outside and shudder as she heard people cry “Crucify him! Crucify him!” The shouts became a deafening roar. “Come, aunt, let’s get away from here”, John urged, trying to move her gently. Miriam didn’t want to leave, but she knew there was no point in staying there. 

As Yeshua was being led to the cross, she got her first sight of Him, and nearly collapsed. “My son! What have they done to my son?” He was beaten, scourged, spat upon, bleeding, he could hardly carry the wooden beam on his own from all the pain. At the side of the road where the crowd gathered, her body shook with every strike of the hammer on the nails that pierced the hands of her son. Then, one more, as the nail pierced his feet.

She couldn’t look upon Him. It was too painful. This was her son, her first born. “Woman”, she lifted her gaze as she heard His voice. She saw Yeshua talking directly to her. Her heart began to race as she listened to her son’s last words to her. “This is your son”, referring to John who stood next to her. She looked at John, who was truly like a son to her. And then they both heard Yeshua say, “This is your mother”. It was understood, John took care of her from that point on with the love of a son.

The agony and emotional pain that Miriam felt that day was as unbearable as it was indescribable. Simon’s words to her so many years earlier, which were not understood then, were understood now. An invisible sword pierced her heart just as the Roman nails pierced the flesh of her son. The pain began when she saw her son being mocked and opposed by the religious leadership and she thought she would die from the pain when she saw Yeshua on the cross. And then it was over. But, the pain remained, pain and agony that only a loving mother could feel at the death of her first-born son. “How? Why? But, the angel said …. I don’t understand. How could this be. Yeshua, Oh, my son, Yeshua. What I wouldn’t give for me to die instead of you.”

Several days later, Miriam heard from Yeshua’s disciples that He has risen from the dead. “Could this really be true?” By now, she had gone through the memories of those historic days and of her own life. She had come to realize that indeed, as she looked at Yeshua on the cross, she was looking at her son. But, she saw Him. He IS alive. Death couldn’t hold Him. And now, for the first time, she understood that this child that she delivered came to deliver her. He was her son. She will always be His mother. But, more than a son, He is now her Lord and Savior, through what He accomplished on the cross. That is how she looked upon him from that point on. Her heart was pierced by the sword when He was put to death on the Cross. But, the agony of the Cross turned to joy inexpressible, as she was given a new heart and a new life…in her son. 

© Hannah Kramer

Eyes of Compassion – A Story

Peter sat at the corner of the house, his head on his knees, arms on his head. His tears wouldn’t stop. The overwhelming sense of guilt. The Lord knew it would happen and even told him it would.

For three years he followed his Teacher – three years in which he witnessed miracles so extraordinary, so unique, so touching, that they were almost beyond belief. Blind could see, lame could walk, deaf could hear, sick were healed, dead were brought back to life. For three years he sat at the Lord’s feet. He heard Him speak with an authority that he never heard before from anyone else. He saw Him transform right before his eyes, shining brighter than snow, standing with Moses and Elijah. Oh, so many memories of that entire time now all seemed to flood his thoughts. And the more he remembered, the more he cried in anguish.

That particular night seemed to last forever. Peter really thought that he would be the one to never deny the Lord. Oh, he could fling a sword, he was prepared to die for Him. But to live for Him? To acknowledge Him before others? Peter’s mind went through the events of that night, minute by minute. The Lord was taken by so many soldiers, as if coming they were coming for a criminal and He was led to the house of the High Priest. Peter fled with the rest of the disciples, but followed Yeshua to the house. John was able to let him in. Peter watched and heard the interrogation going on inside, including the mocking, the beating, the spiting and the humiliation of the Lord. The King, whose kingdom was not of this world, was treated with less dignity than a slave. 

And then came the moment of truth when he was asked: “You were with Him, weren’t you?” “What are you talking about?” – his first denial. He thought that he can’t be found to be there; no one must know he was a disciple. “If they treat my Master this way, after all He had done…what will become of me?” Fear crept into Peter’s heart. He loved the Lord, but seeing Him now, not defending himself, not responding to the attacks, confused him. He did not understand. “You WERE with Him, you are Galilean”. Peter tried to deny again, swearing he did not know Yeshua. His second denial. “I just want to listen to what is going on inside…” he thought. A third time someone identified him as a disciple. This time, Peter cursed and denied – the third time. Suddenly, the cock crowed. Peter froze as he began to turn, almost without control, to look back inside the house. Yeshua turned His head and looked at him. Amidst all the mockery and beating, Yeshua knew exactly where to look. “Those eyes, He knows“, Peter said to himself. Remorse and anguish overwhelmed him, as he fled from the courtyard. 

Peter remembered the look in the eyes that looked at him. The more he thought of it, the more he realised those eyes were not filled with judgment or anger, but rather, compassion. Yeshua knew this would happen. 

Now, Yeshua is being led to the cross and there is nothing any of them can do. In the midst of the sorrow and anguish, Peter thought, “I must see Him, at least from afar, one last time“. He went and stood at a distance as he saw his beloved Lord carrying a cross on His bruised back, bleeding, unrecognisable from all the beatings and lashes the Romans inflicted on Him. Peter wanted to cry, but his eyes were already red from the tears shed over his own actions. He watched and followed, as they led Yeshua to the cross. There, he saw Miriam, Yeshua’s mother weeping, falling to the ground at the sight of her son, as the nails were driven into His hands and legs. “No mother should see her son die, not like this”, he thought. Emotions were raging inside of Peter, he felt as if he were in a dream, not being able to wake up. Suddenly, the sky went dark and people began to panic. He looked and saw a centurion thrust a spear into Yeshua’s side. That was more than Peter could bare to watch. He was broken. He was overwhelmed. He fled the scene.

A few days later, as he met with the rest of the disciples, no one mentioned what happened. They all knew. They had all heard Yeshua say it would happen. The pain they were all feeling was enormous, as if a member of their own family had died. Peter was beyond being comforted, as guilt lay heavily on his heart. Then there was a commotion and women shouting, “We saw Him! We saw the Lord!” The disciples were startled as a few women came bursting in the room, claiming to have seen the Lord. “He is alive, Yeshua is alive, just like He said!” Peter’s mind was racing. He quickly got up, John along with him and they ran towards the tomb where Yeshua was placed. Peter ran like never before, but John outran him. They made it to the tomb and it was empty, just like the women said. “He’s alive!” Peter tried to think. “What will He say to me? What will I say to Him? How can I face Him again after what I’ve done?”

A short time passed and the disciples were back in Galilee, fishing again, after more than three years of not fishing. It was hard work, but one that Peter enjoyed and gave him some peace. “Look to the shore!” someone yelled. Peter looked up along with the disciples. “It’s Yeshua!” Immediately, he jumped into the water and rushed to get to Yeshua, who had prepared a meal for them, some fish and bread. Peter didn’t say a word, he didn’t know what to say, what to expect. Yeshua asked him, “Do you love me more than these?” Peter looked into those eyes that stared into his.  Three times Yeshua asked him if he loves him. “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You”. Those eyes that were once filled with sadness and compassion now seemed full of love as Yeshua told him to feed His lambs, to tend and shepherd His sheep.

Something had happened. Peter knew it. Healing had taken place at that moment. The guilt and shame Peter felt earlier were gone. The Lord, His Lord, had not condemned him but, rather, welcomed him and showed him forgiveness, mercy and grace. Years later, as Peter was about to die for his faith, he understood. Living for the Lord Yeshua is the greatest sacrifice he could have done, and in his dying for the Lord, he knew he had completed the race.

© Hannah Kramer

When answers the heart

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10

This has got to be one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time. In addition to my studies and soap business, I’ve been preparing for a community fair where I will have a display table for my soaps. In addition, I have at least one conference every week, sometimes even twoYes, do mean EVERY WEEK this month. And it’s only mid May 🙂

Last weekend, I attended a young people’s conference, where we briefly talked about Nehemiah. I say briefly because this book is so so rich and full of things to learn and talk about, that one day of sermons was not enough. I feel we barely scratched the surface of the treasures this book has to offer. The speakers talked about how we can all be Ezras and Nehemiahs, in that we can all be people who can lead in the placewhere God put us – among believers or among those in the the secular world. Then they asked what we had on our hearts that we would want to see happening in our land.

I don’t believe we are all called to be an “Ezra” or “Nehemiah” in the sense that every person will hold a public, on-the-front-line position. But, I do maintain that each and every believer has a unique role in building the body of Messiah, so that it would a praise to the LordBoth “Ezra” and “Nehemiah” had a heart for their work. But first and foremost, before their work, they had a solid faith in God and belief in what God wanted them to do.

Back to the conference  Thinking about the question that was posed, my initial thought was to see the nation circumcise their hearts (spiritual circumcision), in accordance with various passages in Scripture (for example Deut. 30:6, Jer. 4:4). Then thought about what Ezra and Nehemiah actually did. One of my favourite verses is the one at the top of this post, about Ezra preparing his heart for the Lord. He prepared his heart to seek the Lord. How amazing is that? Thinking about it, I realised one must have his heart circumcised (the preparation) prior to seeking the Lord. This allows for seeking the Lord with all our hearts, which would allow Him to be found by us (Jer. 29:13-14). After all, the matter of the heart is heart of the matter.

There are many gifts in the Body, all meant to build, encourage and strengthen the Body. Some exercise their gifts upfront”, while others do so behind the scenes. The calling to get the work started is something the Lord lays on people’s hearts. Just as He laid it upon the heart of king Cyrus to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, so today God awakens His people. In that sense, we are all called to be an Ezra or Nehemiah and answer God’s call. But, not everyone follows through and completes the work assigned, even after a good start.

Yet, just as Ezra was awakened by God, he also prepared his heart to know the Lord intimately. That is something I wish for myself and I know many others do as well – to prepare to seek the Lord, to do it, to rise to His calling and encourage others to be obedient to Him. And this causes me to wonder: when our hearts are stirred by the Lord, how will we respond?

© Hannah Kramer