When Lynne Bradley cried out to God for help at a very difficult time of her life, she wasn’t expecting to enter into a conversation with the Almighty! And it led her to a freedom she had never known.
Brought up in a traditional Jewish home in north London, the mother-of-two had been told by a Christian friend that she would find God if she sought him with all her heart (Jeremiah 29.13).
He was the musical director of a theatre group she had joined and she had been impressed by the changes in his life when he became a believer. She knew there had to be something in it – especially when he told her off for blaspheming. The irony was that, as a Jew, she wasn’t even supposed to say the name Jesus, let alone believe in him.
Lynne studied ballet from a very young age but her dreams were shattered when she dislocated her kneecaps after being dropped by her partner. However, she had very positive brushes with church while at ballet school and later had what she called ‘a Holy Spirit moment’ on a visit to St Alban’s Cathedral when “God surrounded me with his love and I felt like I’d come home”.
So when the aforementioned crisis came along, she prayed: “God, if you are real and you can hear me, please answer me!”
She was shocked by an immediate reply – in an audible voice – which was actually a question: “What have you just done?”
To which she explained: “I’ve changed my house over for Passover.”
“What is the Passover?” the divine questioner further probed, by which time she realised, “I was talking to God.”
So she said: “It’s when you led the Israelites out of Egypt.”
To which he responded: “Oh ye of little faith! Why don’t you put your trust in me like your ancestors?”
It was a staggering, totally unexpected, encounter – prompting her friend to suggest she now commit her life to the Messiah, except that he hadn’t actually revealed himself as such. So he further challenged her to ask if he was her Messiah, and she got her answer in a Children’s Bible she found which dropped open on a page where she read, “Oh God, when will you send Messiah to save us?”
She then met up with singer Helen Shapiro, who explained how Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, fulfilling so many Old Testament Scriptures such as Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. (Helen had a very similar story – it was also her musical director who had told her about Jesus.)
“I realised there and then that he is the Messiah,” Lynne recalls, but she struggled to give up her old ways and surrender to him, as a result of which she spent eleven years in the ‘wilderness’.
Then came another crisis, at which point it seemed the Lord had finally got her attention, so she phoned a lady friend to whom she admitted that it was time to start going to church with her.
But she was terrified to learn that it was called the Iranian Christian Fellowship – she thought they would be Muslims who would have problems with her being Jewish… until she walked into the church and saw them worshipping God with faces glowing full of love.
The pastor then announced that he would not be preaching his prepared sermon as he believed there was someone in the congregation God had been trying to reach all their life – one who felt betrayed and was looking for love, but whose line was ‘always engaged’.
“It was my life story. And what really clinched it was the phrase about my line always being engaged which was exactly how my musical director had put it. So I gave my life to the Lord at that service.
“Incredibly, I was baptised along with twelve Muslim-background believers, and later, when we all went on a Holy Spirit weekend, we sat down to a meal of roast gammon, followed by rhubarb crumble and custard, which was just as difficult for them as me, because they too are not supposed to eat pork!”
Many of her friends, and some of her family, initially abandoned her, leaving her “adrift on a raft in the middle of the ocean”, but others have more than made up for the loss.
Now she says: “I am so grateful to the Lord for opening my eyes. It’s like breathing fresh air after being in a stuffy room all my life. I have true freedom, direction, purpose and hope, joy instead of sadness. And instead of rules and regulations, a relationship with the Lord. My biggest regret is that I didn’t submit sooner.”
Now a member of Stanmore Baptist Church, Lynne lives in Edgware, north London, and further spreads the joy of her faith when performing as a singer, poet and comedienne.
Lynne provides a fuller account of her story in the video interview below. She is also author of What’s a nice Jewish girl like you doing in a church like this? published by www.instantapostle.com
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International; and King of the Jews, also available from Christian Publications International.