Decision and Commitment
I’m sorry, Holly. I’m really busy and I haven’t read the book yet,” Carol admitted sheepishly. “Last week I was sick, and I missed work. I haven’t had time.”
“I understand,” I said. “Listen, I’ll give you a call in another week or two. Maybe I’ll catch you at a better time.”
But each time I called Carol in the months that followed, she had not read the Yeshua book she had requested after reading our Time magazine ad. She seemed apathetic about the idea that Jesus could be our long-awaited Messiah, and she refused to get into a genuine discussion with me over the telephone.
Finally one day I asked, “Carol, I’m just curious. What prompted you to order the book in the first place?”
“To be honest with you. I really don’t know,” she said. “I’m open to Jesus, but I really don’t see how any of this applies to me. I’m Jewish. Holly, I really appreciate that you pray for me, but I don’t want you to think that I’m going to change. I think you are wasting your time.”
I prayed as Carol spoke, waited a moment and carefully chose my words. “Carol, I don’t think I’m wasting my time. You see, feel that God prompted you to order that book. 1 may be wrong, but I think he placed in you a desire for himself. I think there is a significant reason for God’s putting us into each other’s life.”
I waited for what seemed like 10 minutes for her response, realizing that after so many months of my praying for Carol, she might ask me now to stop calling her. I was relieved to hear her say, “Oh, okay. I guess it couldn’t hurt to talk about it. What do you think God had in mind?”
I explained that I thought he might like for us to get together and look into the Scriptures—that maybe he wanted Carol to see exactly how the Scriptures described the Messiah, so that she could consider whether or not Jesus might be that Promised One. I further explained that I felt our Jewishness was significant in that God had promised our people a Messiah, and that as Jews, we needed at least to be aware of what the Messiah should be like in order that we might recognize him.
“Let’s meet this Wednesday and we can talk,” I concluded. “Why not bring along the Yeshua book and your copy of the Scriptures?” As I hung up the phone, I thanked God that he had continued to work in Carol’s heart. I prayed that somehow he would reveal his love to her.
One week later as I walked up to the cement and glass building where Carol worked, I whispered one last prayer to God. “Please Lord, work your will in Carol’s life today. Please use me to share the good news of Yeshua with her.” I walked to the top of the white stairs, took a deep breath and went inside. I smiled nervously at the secretary, asked for Carol and waited as she paged her. In a few minutes a petite, dark-haired woman came through the heavy wood door.
“Hi, I’m so glad finally to get to put a face with your voice,” I said with a cheerful smile.
“You look like I pictured you,” Carol responded dryly, “but you’re short.”
I laughed and told her that several others had also noticed that characteristic in me. “But,” I concluded, “short is ‘in’ this year, so I don’t have to go buy any.” Carol couldn’t keep from laughing at that, and I knew from that moment that I had found a new friend.
We sat down to talk on the sofa in the office and began to discuss our past experiences. Carol thought that it was “coincidental” that our experiences were so similar. I smiled and commented, “Either a coincidence or a result of Providence.” She laughed cautiously. I continued to talk about our Jewishness, and then I asked Carol what objection she had to the idea that Jesus could be our Messiah.
“Well, I can go to God myself,” Carol said. “I don need to go through a man to talk to him.”
I told Carol that I agreed with her, and then I asked her to consider something. “If your son wanted very much to come and see you, and you were in your room, you would probably welcome him. In fact, if you had not seen him in a while, you would probably be glad to spend time with him. Let’s say your room had a wood floor, and your son had just come in from football practice wearing his muddy, cleated shoes. You would tell him to take off the shoes and put on his slippers in order to come into your room, right? You would want to see your son, but you would want to see him on your terms. If he walked into your room wearing the wrong shoes, you would likely feel that he had disobeyed you. It is also likely that you would ask him to leave and return on your terms. Carol, God has set up a system for us to come to him, but we must come on his terms.”
“You know from our Scriptures that we must bring a sacrifice in order to stand before our Holy God. God came in the form of a man and became our sacrifice. He says that to be in his presence we must ‘put on the right shoes.’ We must come to him through the sacrifice of Jesus. Either Jesus is that final sacrifice, or we need to find another Perfect One. But we must come to God in the way he has established. I feel that Scripture supports the idea that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal God who offered himself as our sacrifice. What do you think about this?”
Carol was thrilled. She said that my illustration had really helped her to understand. She also wanted to spend some time studying Scripture to find out more about the Messiah.
For the next three weeks Carol and I met regularly to discuss Scripture. Each time the passages seemed to make more sense to her. At the end of each visit I would say, “Carol, I would be wrong at this point not to give you the chance to acknowledge to God that you believe Jesus is the Messiah and to give your life to him.” Though she understood the purpose, description and mission of the Messiah, she still responded, “No, I have more questions. I am not ready.” It seemed that for Carol there would never be “enough” answers.
Then one day I stopped by Carol’s house on my way home. She was outside chatting with a neighbor, and as I walked up to her I secretly felt that this would be a special day for Carol. After spending a few moments with her neighbor, Carol and I walked upstairs and sat on the porch.
“Carol, it seems to me that you think Jesus is the Messiah. What stops you from receiving the forgiveness he offers?” I said.
“Well, I’m not sure. I think I should know more,” she responded.
“You know a great deal,” I told her. “Actually, you know more than I did when I entered into a relationship with him.” I continued, “It’s sort of like when someone asks you to marry him. You don’t make your decision based entirely on how much you know about that person. You will spend the rest of your lives /earning about each other. Did you know your husband’s sock size when you said. ‘I do’?”
“I get the point,” Carol said with a smile.
“Okay, then,” I said. “Here’s a question you’ve heard before. I would be wrong not to give you this opportunity to admit to God that you need a final payment for your sins and that you recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the fulfillment of Scripture. Would you like to give your life to him?”
“Yes!! want to pray. Right now!” Carol began to cry and laugh at the same time. As I write this, Carol has been a believer only six days. Join me in praying that her relationship with God will soon grow beyond the “I do” she finally gave him that Wednesday afternoon.