Every city has certain features or distinctions in which its citizens take pride. Some even take pride in the negative or troublesome aspects of their hometowns, as though these conferred special points for martyrdom. (Ask the average New Yorker how he likes to take the subway, and with pride he’ll boast about how rotten it is.) Here in Washington, D.C., the Beltway that encircles the city, and more often than not paralyzes it in one massive traffic jam, is considered by some more than a mere nuisance. They see the Beltway as a symbol of everything in life that blocks people from achievement. At least on one recent occasion, for me the Beltway was quite the opposite.
I was stuck on the Beltway during rush hour as I journeyed to witness to an unbelieving Jewish lady. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed two college-age students driving on my left pointing to the large Jews for Jesus lettering on my van. Judging from their animated conversation and laughter, they had not seen us before. Our vehicles were stuck alongside one another in the traffic jam, so I rolled down my window to see if they would talk with me.
Before I could touch the handle to lower my window, they beat me to it. They not only rolled down their window, but signaled me to do the same.
The passenger stuck his head out of the window. "What are you, anyway? Some kind of synagogue?" Nervously I inched forward in the traffic, trying to stay even with their car without hitting the car in front of me. "Not new," I yelled, alternating quick glances at him and the rear bumper ahead. "Actually we’re about 2,000 years old!" The passenger pulled his head back inside the car and relayed my reply to the driver.
"Are you Jewish?" I asked, as once again the passenger stuck his head out the window.
He replied, "Yeah, I was just curious. So you’re Jewish too. But Jews don’t believe in Jesus!"
"I do," I countered. "Look, if he’s the Messiah, why not?"
At that point, the car behind me honked. There were now about 50 feet of empty highway between me and the car ahead. I said a prayer, invoking God’s sovereignty in the situation and began to pull away, allowing a generous number of vehicles to cut in (probably much to the chagrin of the tailgating commuter behind me).
I prayed, "Lord, don’t let me lose ’em."
A few minutes later, we were once again side-by-side. I was grateful they had left their window down. "Listen," I called out, "there’s more I can say, but maybe this isn’t the best time or place." The passenger nodded in agreement, and I think he startled us both as he asked, "So, you want my phone number?"
I was so surprised I almost hit the car in front of me. "That would be OK." I tried to sound calm as I scrambled one-handedly for a pen. I usually keep several handy, but on this one occasion when I really needed one, nothing .
In desperation, I even began to consider cutting myself in order to inscribe his number in blood. I was spared such martyrdom when he called out, "Better yet, why don’t I call you?"
I told him he could call Information in Washington and easily get our number. I had to talk fast now, because they were beginning to move ahead in traffic and I was the one who was stuck.
As I write this, two days have gone by without a call. One can never tell, I may get a call in two weeks, two months, or even two years. Please pray for these two young Jewish men, that God will impress them to call us and investigate further the claims of Messiah.