The Prophecy of the Book
Nearly thirty years ago, in 1988, when I was in my late twenties I went with my husband to Washington DC for a weekend to attend a convention of a newly founded organization called “Roots.” Our mutual profound concern for the intrinsic dignity of the human person and passion for justice was the means the Lord used to bring us together some years earlier while we were students in London. We shared a deep compassion and empathy for the suffering, poor, oppressed and disenfranchised peoples. Our sensitivity and tenderness of heart towards suffering and injustice was a gift from God. We did not recognize this however, nor did we think much about God in those days. We had many years earlier left the practice of the religions of our childhood and had been following our own wills.
My husband had been brought up as a Muslim in a traditional Arab village in Israel, but by the age of twenty he had turned away from the traditions of his fathers and had become an atheist. He maintained this posture when we first met in London and he has continued to express his doubts in the existence of God even until today despite the many remarkable evidences to the contrary and extraordinary experiences that occurred during our thirty years of marriage. Perhaps, what is revealed in this book may open his heart toward the God who exists and loves him so much.
By the time I met my husband in London as a graduate student I too had drifted far from God and no longer practiced the Christian faith from my childhood. In pursuing my own passions and self-will I had lost my way, and I no longer knew if God was real. I had not become an atheist though. I hoped that God really existed. I did not want to die and cease to be. I wanted there to be life after death but did not know if it was true. I was an agnostic who often said, “I would like there to be a God, but I don’t know how to know.”
The convention attracted many prominent people as panelists for the various lectures and discussion groups. Notable private citizens and public officials interested in the topics were also present. Among them were: U.S. Senators and House Representatives, reporters from the major television networks and newspapers, radio broadcasters, heads of various political, humanitarian and charitable organizations, prominent artists, musicians and writers, business owners, professors, Arab diplomats and lobbyists.
Standing around in the lobby of the large hotel we could rub elbows with many of these people. Turning around my husband noticed a well-known Palestinian Arab author, poet and essayist, Mr. Fawaz Turki who graciously greeted us and spent a few moments conversing with us. With great enthusiasm I told him how much I had enjoyed reading his autobiographical book, Soul in Exile, and that I had been deeply touched by his personal accounts in the book – his recollections and reflections on his own unique life journey.
In a sudden burst of mysterious and uncontained joy I blurted out to him, “I would like to write a book!” I don’t know why I said that.
I had never had a desire to become a writer. The thought had never entered my mind. I had not studied for this purpose at the university. I had no plans to write a book or write anything else for that matter. Then I couldn’t begin to imagine what in the world I could ever even write about. The words just flew out of my mouth without my pre-meditating them. I was surprised to hear myself say this, and immediately I felt a sudden embarrassment before the renowned author. My husband recalls the famous writer’s response given what clearly seemed to be an impetuous, naive and even perhaps, disrespectful outburst.
“Why is it that someone thinks they can simply say, ‘I’d like to write a book’, but would never say, ‘I think I’d like to do brain surgery.’”?
But what all three of us could not know at that precise moment was that these seemingly foolish and mindless words were not my own but rather were prompted by the Holy Spirit – they were a prophetic utterance of the Holy Spirit concerning my life which one day God would effect. And when the Lord did bring His purpose to pass He would recall my memory to this long-ago mysterious experience and give me understanding.
Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!( Psalm 139:16-17)
The Lord’s hand was upon me, guiding my days even when in my own heart I had strayed so very far from Him. For many more years I would continue to pursue earthly vanities and follow my own desires. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in His patient and enduring love would call out over the years to His straying lamb and in His Perfect timing would come to rescue my soul from this place of exile – from the world, sin and the Devil – and lift me up on His shoulders high above all of earth’s lamentations, and carry His once lost sheep onwards towards her Eternal Home.
Pressing me close to His Sacred Heart we would begin our journey of love together through this present life into eternity. With each beat of His heart for me Jesus reveals His unending love for this most ordinary soul. Jesus has asked me to write down our experiences and they now are filling this book. Thus, the prophecy spoken by the Holy Spirit more than a quarter of a century ago is being fulfilled.