Sometimes It Takes Time
A few years ago, I had a chance to speak at a certain church on the south side of Chicago. There may have been more than fivehundred people who came that night to hear our Jews for Jesus presentation. At least one of them brought along an unbelieving Jewish friend, Richard. I did not meet Richard that night, but in going through the cards we ask people to fill out, I noticed that he had checked the box that said, I am Jewish and not a believer.” I called Richard, and we arranged to meet.
At our first meeting, Richard told me that he had been on a spiritual odyssey for some time and explained how he had come to the church that night. He had been through two divorces and many jobs and was in transition even as we talked. Richard’s understanding of spiritual matters seemed to be a hodgepodge of New Age thinking. I asked him to read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis in order to get a realistic picture of what New Testament faith was about.
Over the next year and a half, Richard and I met every two or three months. At every meeting we read scripture, and I found that Richard would read almost any literature that I gave him. One time Richard told me that he did not like C. S. Lewis and was having a difficult time with him. Under closer investigation, I found out why. Lewis did not leave Richard any “wiggle” room, and Richard was realizing that there was a difference between today’s New Age thinking and what the Bible taught.
Every time we got together I could see that Richard was moving closer to the truth. One day my office worker called to say that Richard was planning to come to our weekly Bible study in Skokie. Richard lived on the other side of Chicago and could never get off from work early enough to attend. This week, however, he planned to visit his sister, who lived in Skokie, and looked forward to attending the Bible study.
Richard came. I noticed after the study that he had a new Bible with his name embossed on it, and he had a big smile on his face. He told me that he was reading another book some Christian friends had given him, Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, and that things were starting to come together. We planned to meet later that week.
The morning we met we went over some scriptures, and I asked Richard if he had already prayed to receive Jesus as his sin bearer. He said he had not, so I asked if he would like to do that. He said yes. Pray for Richard as he grows in his understanding of his new faith in Christ.