Yuppies Before Their Time
Steve and Bobbi Gorman thought they had everything, but when everything” was gone, there was room in their life for more.
They are both Jewish. In fact, they met at a singles club event at the temple. She was 19 and he was 22. Steve recalls, “It was a real challenge to go out with Bobbi. The two of us, we just…”
“fought…” Bobbi finishes.
“We argued…” Steve explains.
“every time!” Bobbi emphasizes.
Each date Steve and Bobbi had was to be the last…until, as Steve says, “It was like a light bulb went on.” Within a couple of years they were married.
Steve didn’t know if there was a god, and he didn’t care. He enjoyed going to synagogue two or three times a year; it was a time to reinforce his Hebrew skills from his bar mitzvah days. Bobbi always figured there was a god. She assumed there had to be. She just didn’t think she could talk to God. Anyway, there was no reason to. So the Gormans were not exactly a “religious” couple. They had other priorities. Five years after they married, they were meeting those priorities right on schedule.
They had a big house, felt financially secure, and were enjoying a yuppie lifestyle before the term had been invented. They had two nice cars (one of them a company Cadillac), frequent bonuses, and enough money to afford the luxuries they equated with success. With just a bit more in the bank they would consider having their first baby. Then, the last thing they expected to happen did.…Steve was fired.
The family financial picture shifted radically. They managed to keep their house and, by outward appearances, their lifestyle. Steve became an independent sales representative, and put together a package of several lines of merchandise, mostly lamps. Gradually, he began building a business.
Two years later, their daughter Sara was born. Bobbi had planned to return to her job after the birth, but the cost of child care and the long commute to and from work made this impractical. The economy was in recession; it was 1981. Steve’s income was already reduced. Bobbi’s was non-existent, and they had the added expenses of parenthood. The luxuries which had once pointed to their success were now pulling the Gormans further and further into debt. Bobbi began helping Steve with the business part-time. One day, she made him an appointment with a furniture company on the south side of Chicago. Steve felt his merchandise wouldn’t sell in that neighborhood, and then the owner, Bill Grice, didn’t even keep the appointment. But Steve made another appointment, and on December 17, 1982, they met. Bill invited Steve into his office, closed the door, and spent the next two hours telling Steve about God!
Steve recalls, “Bill referred to Yeshua (Jesus) now and then. He showed me passages in the Jewish Bible. I had no idea what he was talking about. I only knew that I was Jewish, my wife was Jewish, our family was Jewish and however interesting Jesus might be, he was not for us. It irked me that Bill knew more than I did about the Jewish Bible.”
When Bill finished, he handed Steve a blank purchase order and told him to send two dozen lamps of his choice. Steve protested that there would not be customers for them, but didn’t twist Grice’s arm much. He felt the order would pay for the time Bill had taken with his talk about God. A few days later, Bill called to amend the order: “Give me two dozen more lamps.” Steve said he honestly felt Bill would not sell them, but Bill insisted. The lamps came in, and within days Bill called to say he needed more lamps. When could Steve come back? Steve was amazed, but made another appointment. Again, Bill spent a couple of hours talking about God. And again, the blank purchase order.
The Gormans and the Grices became friends. Steve visited Bill’s store once a week just to hear Bill talk about God. Eventually, Bill mentioned that he was praying for Steve and Bobbi. They wondered if Bill were some kind of modern-day prophet. He spoke to God, and God seemed to listen! It all seemed so wonderful, except Bill insisted on dragging Jesus into it. The Gormans felt that no matter how great Bill’s relationship to God was, it could not be for them. Believing in Jesus would be treason.
Still, the idea of a God who cared and who was in control was an idea “whose time had come” for the Gormans. They were in serious debt, with depleted savings and a home they could no longer afford. They listed their house with a real estate agent, and Steve confided to Bill how urgent their need was to sell the house. Bill said, “Let’s pray about it.” Well, Bill prayed and Steve listened. Then Bill announced that God would perform a miracle. “And do not call it a coincidence!” he cautioned.
The Gormans had to go to North Carolina on business, and the day before Bill had prayed, they asked their neighbors to watch the house. They told them not to worry if they saw strangers inside, since the house would be shown in their absence. The day after Bill prayed, the Gormans’ neighbors called to say their parents wanted to buy the house! Steve and Bobbi could not believe it, but invited them to come over after the 30-day real estate listing expired. A month later, the house was sold! The deal was contingent upon another sale—that of the parents’ present home—so the Gormans were certain it would fall through. The buyers listed their home and sold it in ten days!
God had certainly gotten their attention with all this answered prayer during their financial crisis. Every which way they turned, someone was there to pray for them or tell them about Jesus. In July, 1984, Steve and Bobbi attended a business meeting in Indianapolis. After the meeting there was a dinner, and the Gormans were stunned when their dinner partners, Claude and Phyllis Rainey, began telling them about Jesus.
Soon after the Gormans arrived home, the Raineys sent them the book, Betrayed, the true story of a Jewish businessman, Stan Telchin, who set out to dissuade his daughter from her belief in Jesus. Instead, Telchin’s research brought him to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah! Steve says, “For me, the main thing was learning how the rift between Jewish believers in Jesus and the rest of the Jewish community came about. The historical points helped me to judge for myself whether believing in Jesus would mean I was turning my back on the Jewish people.”
When Bobbi read the book, she was startled to see that, “It was okay to be Jewish and believe in Jesus. The main thing was just seeing that there are some Jews who do believe in Jesus.” Steve and Bobbi began to realize that being Jewish was not a right reason to reject Jesus. Either he was true…or he wasn’t. Coincidences and circumstances seemed to keep pointing to the fact that he was.
One day as Steve waited for his car to be repaired, the man seated next to him started telling him about God. Steve recalls: “There was a TV in the waiting room and we began talking about the terrible state of current affairs. He was an older guy, a kind of grandfatherly type, who seemed to know what he was talking about. And he starts telling me about Jesus!”
Another time, there was music in the background of one of the messages left on the Gormans’ phone machine. Steve and Bobbi played the message several times to hear the words of the song, but could not make it out. Finally, they erased the messageïbut the music was still there. Time after time, they tried erasing it, but to no avail. Finally, straining to hear the music, both concluded that it was someone singing about Jesus.
Another day, Steve was feeling alone and overburdened with the responsibility of setting up a showroom in North Carolina for the lamp company. He arrived at the airport, rented a car, and turned on the radio. The dial had been set on a Christian radio station; the first thing Steve heard was, “It will be okay, Jesus is with you.”
Another incident occurred at a family dinner, when Bobbi’s cousin, Kroy, asked, “So, what’s new?” Bobbi said she and Steve were reading the Bible. Kroy almost fell off his chair, then began telling them about Jesus! The Gormans hadn’t even known there were any believers in Jesus in the family.…
Kroy suggested Steve and Bobbi go to a Jews for Jesus Yom Kippur service. Not too long after the service, one of their staff called, and Steve told him what God was perhaps doing in his and Bobbi’s life. Dan said, “Steve, I don’t want to lay a guilt trip on you, but if God is revealing himself to you, are you doing your part?” This bothered Steve intensely.
Two weeks later, Steve had an appointment with a distant account whom he had called on for years without ever selling a thing. Steve prayed, “If Jesus is real, please don’t let me drive three hours for nothing.” The store owner handed Steve a blank purchase order and told him to send whatever Steve thought he should have. “What’s this with this blank purchase order again!” Steve wondered. It couldn’t be a coincidence!
That evening a friend called and asked Steve, “What’s new?” Steve told how God had suddenly shown himself to be real in the Gormans’ lives. His friend tried to convince him otherwise, but as Steve argued with him, he convinced himself that Jesus is the Messiah.
Steve got off the phone and went looking for his wife. “Bobbi,” he exclaimed. “I believe Jesus really is the Messiah! After all he’s done for us, don’t you think we should make a commitment?” But Bobbi, having overheard part of the conversation, had already decided for herself to make a commitment of faith. It was January 17, 1985, when Steve and Bobbi Gorman accepted the Jewish Messiah.
“It was not until our own human ressources were depleted that we were willing to take notice of God,” Steve explains. “We’re still working through some financial difficulties,” Bobbi adds, “but it’s different now. Money just isn’t the driving force it used to be. Sure, we’d like to be comfortable and be able to do things, especially for our daughter, but that’s not what would make us successful. We really want to please God and be whom he wants us to be. Not only that, but we handle stress much differently. I can trust God instead of feeling overwhelmed. I know that God is real, and that he cares about our family.”
Steve and Bobbi are eager to tell what they found out about Jesus, though when it comes to the way they found out, Steve admits, “It’s not very spiritual. Not like some people, who really look for the truth because they are interested in God.” Bobbi adds, “We were interested in ourselves. Our lives were falling apart when God started helping us. We were open to what he was doing because we needed help.”
If you think Jews believe in Jesus because they “need something,” you’re right. We all need a relationship with God. It’s just that some people need a set of adverse circumstances before they realize it.