I remember a girl in my class called Yvonne. She was Jewish. She lived with her family next door to our Doctor’s House. We often spoke, but I didn’t regard her as a close friend - just someone I spoke to now and again. She always seemed a nice person. Her Dad worked as a school bus driver, picking up children that had disabilities. The bus had a platform at the rear, which lowered to the ground for wheelchair access. Yvonne’s dad would often meet her from school at lunchtime and take her home. I would normally walk home at lunchtime and back again for the afternoon lessons but on occasions, if Yvonne and her dad were passing by, they would stop the bus and offer me a lift back to school, which was always appreciated.
I often thought about Yvonne. Although I never knew what, she seemed different from other girls. I knew she was Jewish - but I never really knew what being Jewish meant - only that she believed in God.
Yvonne and I were in the same class for Religious Studies and she was very good at that subject. She got on really well with the teacher, Miss Spraggs, who taught the subject. It sometimes seemed they were like sisters although of course, they were not related in anyway. Miss Spraggs was a spinster, and her faith in Jesus Christ always seemed so strong. Looking back now I recall that her faith really shone through. But I didn’t know much at all about Yvonne’s Jewish faith - and I never did ask her about it. I just knew she believed in God.
I had occasion to walk passed Yvonne’s house whenever I visited my Nan, who didn’t live to far from Yvonne. And whenever I did, I would look over to her house. One time I glanced up at Yvonne’s window and something caught my eye. I saw a star in the window and next to it a cross. Now, I knew what the symbol of the cross meant - it was the Christian symbol - the cross that Jesus died upon. But I didn’t know about the star or the significance of the two things together. I never did ask Yvonne what the symbols meant. I suppose like most people, I never got around to wondering enough to ask.
I would often hear Yvonne talking to a girl named Pamela at school. Yvonne would ask her if she would like to go to her house to a ‘house fellowship group’. I was most surprised to hear Pamela say that she would, as Pamela seemed to me to be far from being what I thought was a ‘Godly’ person - smoking and swearing a bit – she was also known to be a little ‘economic’ with the truth as well.
Well, all these thoughts went around inside my head but then I would just bury them away somewhere. Of course, looking back they obviously had a bit of an impact on my life, else I wouldn’t be sharing them with you now.
In the last year of my senior school, I decided to leave school as early as I was able to. If I could secure a job - I could leave. So I managed to get myself a job as an office Junior, working for a company call Gestetner - a printing roller firm based in the city of London.
I left school at Easter rather than having to wait until the summer as others would, and started work almost straight away. I secured the job, not on exam results, but on my approach, and reasonably smart appearance at the interview. I wanted to get started in a job knowing that I probably wouldn’t get any exam passes. I knew I would have failed dismally in every subject.
When July came, and the schools broke up for the summer holiday, I had already been in employment for two months. When my exam results came though the door (Yvonne had kindly posted them through as she said she would, when she knew I was leaving in the May to start work), the envelope had ‘tut, tut, tut’ written across it. I knew that Yvonne had looked at the exam results inside the unsealed envelope.
I wasn’t so much disappointed at the bad exam results, as I fully expected the results to be poor. I was more disappointed with the ‘tut, tut, tut’ reaction of Yvonne which she had so clearly shown on the envelope. How could she be so unkind? How could a ‘Godly’ person be like this, I thought? - expressing her opinion in this rather unkind way?
It wasn’t till many years later after I, and my family had become Christians that I came to realise that we have ALL fallen short of God’s standard and that Yvonne was no different. Even Christians can say unkind things when sin rears its ugly head.
I was later to learn that Yvonne’s family were not just Jewish, but what some know as Messianic Jews. They were Jewish people who had become Christians. Hence the star (of David) and the cross, together in the window of Yvonne’s house.
It’s funny how things turn out. After we became Christians I would proudly wear my Ichthus* pin on my jacket, for everyone to see. Wouldn’t Yvonne be surprised to know that I had become a Christian! In fact, one time I did see her in a large department store in town. We didn’t speak to each other as I was with my husband, three children and my mum at the time. Yvonne was wheeling her little boy in a pushchair. We saw each other and smiled and I noticed that she had seen my Ichthus pin and she smiled again, knowingly. She knew that I had also received Jesus as my Saviour and I was now on the right path that would lead me to heaven.
As my poor exam results at school indicated I was not at all bright at school – but I am glad to say the Lord didn’t choose me for my academic ability. He chose me because He loves me for who I am and what I am. He laid down His life for me on the cross at Calvary and all of my sin was nailed to that cross.
I was not a student that got too many stars for good work at school – only crosses, but I was led to the most important cross of all - the one that would bring me on the road to eternal life in Jesus Christ.