You’re so stubborn, Sonya, so stubborn!”

The voice pierced through the cacophony of street sounds that filtered into my New York living quarters. A few minutes later, my Christian friend, the owner of the voice, knocked on my door.

“Bette, I thought you were going to make Sonya into a Christian. That’s what Jews for Jesus does, isn’t it?”

“Well, actually,” I replied, “I don’t make anybody into anything. God does that.”

“But Sonya’s Jewish like you,” my friend insisted. “Can’t you make her a Christian?”

“No, I can’t, “I said.

“But Sonya’s so stubborn, and she needs to change!”

“Sorry,” I replied. “Only God can change her heart. We can’t force anyone to believe in Jesus. He never did! We can show people the truth and pray for them, but then it’s up to the Holy Spirit. We must be careful not to scare Sonya off altogether!”

“But I’ve been telling her for two years, and she still won’t believe,” my friend continued. “Please do something!”

I assured my friend that I hadn’t forgotten Sonya, and that I was talking to her about spiritual matters on a regular basis. As she left, I marveled at how God is the one who does the work of “converting” people away from sin and toward Yeshua—sometimes almost in spite of us rather than because of us.

Then a few days later, I was part of a very different scenario that reaffirmed this thought. At a party another friend of mine had met a Jewish woman who was keen to talk about spiritual things. She introduced us to one another. When I met Audrey, I quickly became aware that she had a deep need and that she recognized her need. Best of all, she realized that Yeshua was the one who could meet that need.

As I shared the gospel with Audrey, she believed the Scriptures I showed her.

I asked her if she thought that Yeshua was the Messiah. To my great joy, she replied, “Yes!” After I made sure that she understood the meaning and consequences of what she was about to do, we prayed together. Audrey asked Yeshua to forgive her sins and be the Lord of her life. Afterwards I was amazed at the powerful work the Holy Spirit had done in Audrey’s heart, and it was truly humbling to witness this spiritual infant being born of God.

Since Audrey’s confession of faith in her Messiah and commitment to him, she continues to have many difficulties. Yet she is faithfully praying to her heavenly Father through Yeshua, and she has told her daughter about the Messiah and the “sinner’s prayer” that she prayed. We need to pray that Audrey may grow closer to God, and that he will graciously heal her emotions where she needs healing. We should also be praying for her daughter, that she also may return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Jesus, the Messiah who gives new life.

As for Sonya, I haven’t given up. I know that God is softening her heart, and I pray that she too may be born of God through receiving Yeshua and believing in his name. But the new birth is a miracle, and it can only be performed by the grace of God.