My father had secretly believed Jesus was the Messiah, but had never confessed and lived out his faith because of the devastation he thought it would have brought to his parents and his wife, my previously atheistic and rationalistic mother. He did explain the basics to me and encouraged me to investigate Christianity on my own. During my freshman year at Princeton, a Christian friend made me wonder some more about the gospel, but I never studied it deeply. I think I was scared that it might be the truth and acknowledging that would mean change, something I did not want. Until the fall of 1986.
It was not a happy semester for me. After a summer of working at a hospital for chronically ill children, I returned to school different from my old friends. I had outgrown the gossiping and party-going I’d enjoyed my freshman year. I felt compelled, driven to do as well as I possibly could in all of my courses. I had changed from a happy-go-lucky and immature freshman to a lonely, anxious, and depressed sophomore, and my father decided it was time to call upon the Lord for help.
My dad asked Jesus that I might find a companion, someone to comfort me, to share my burdens, to listen to and talk to me, to relieve my loneliness and anxiety. He told my mother about his prayer. She was dissatisfied. The request was not explicit enough. What if this person comes along in 15 years? What good will that do Amy now?” My father explained that God works in his own time, but my mother still was not happy. So he prayed again. He asked that this “someone” might walk into my life by March, not only for my sake, but to give my mother a sign that God is real.
Meanwhile, I was completely unaware of my father’s prayer. I met Lee at the start of the spring semester. I did not really want to like him, because he was one of those born-again Christians, and that could cause problems. But I liked him anyway, and we started to date casually. However, on-and-off dating can keep one’s nerves on edge, so Lee decided the situation had to be clarified. Around midnight on February 28, he stopped by my room and we had a frank talk about Jesus. I had never heard the message of Jesus so clearly before. And I knew that above all else, Lee was my friend. The spiritual changes came rather quickly after that meeting.
My father’s prayers were answered to the last detail. I had my companion and my mother had her sign, and the Holy Spirit began to work rapidly within us. Lee recommended Christian books for me to read and we regularly discussed the Bible. He introduced me to other believers, and both my parents listened to taped sermons, read God’s word hungrily, and talked to, as well as “watched,” many Christians whose lives were evidence in themselves. By mid-March ‘ we were all believers—my mother, the atheist, was the first!
* Reprinted by permission from “I Can Sleep at Night,” an article appearing in “Messiah on Campus,” an occasional bulletin of the Messianic Student Network.