Zvi Jul/Aug 2011
Something happened recently that was hard even for me to believe. But as we say here in Israel, “When God wills it, everything is possible.”
Not long ago my wife was in the hospital. When I went to visit her, I would speak to people at the hospital. It is not a place where you can speak openly about faith in Christ. You must be very careful. There are many Orthodox who believe it is their duty to watch those who visit and to prevent them from sharing the gospel of Christ. In fact, they work very hard to make sure no one mentions the faith. If you are quick to speak, you are quick to be thrown out.
Many people I met, however, were open to hearing about the faith. In fact, they sincerely desired to have a long conversation only on this subject. One day I met a man who was a patient, as my wife was. He, more than anyone else, wanted a long conversation about Christ. As a visitor, however, I had to be careful.
“Please come back,” he said.
“I will do my best,” I told him. “So, you will come, then?” he implored.
“I will try,” I assured him.
Soon my wife returned home from the hospital. I was doing everything I could to help her because she needed much help. I did not forget the sick man who wanted to know more about the Savior, but I could not figure out how I would be able to make the time to go to the hospital. I did not want to break my promise to him, but I knew it would be difficult to speak about salvation in that place.
Several days later I was not feeling well. In fact, I had become very sick. My wife quickly called an ambulance, which came and took me to the hospital. And to which of our many hospitals was I brought? To the same hospital where I was supposed to visit the sick man who wanted so desperately to know about salvation through Christ.
And into which of the hospital’s many rooms was I placed as a patient? Into his room! When I arrived he was greatly surprised. He looked at me and said, “You said one day you would visit me! And here you are! I am sure this is not the way you meant to arrive.”
He was certainly right. It is still hard for me to believe what happened. “You are here,” the man said. “But, of course, it was not your will to come in such a way.”
I knew, however, that it was God’s will because now we would have all the time we needed to have a long conversation about faith in Christ without worrying about the Orthodox throwing me out.
So I said, “You see, I am ready to talk about faith.”
His first question was, “How did you come to know the Lord? Please tell me.”
I told him I learned about the Lord from the Holy Bible, not from the rabbinical commentaries that the Orthodox prize so highly. “It is clearly written in the Bible, ‘You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you’ [Dt. 6:14]. Now look around,” I told him. “Most of the people here worship their rabbis and do not realize it. They respect their rabbis so much that they listen to them instead of following what is written in God’s Word.”
“So where is it written in the Bible about this one in whom you have believed?” he asked.
I replied, “This is the best question.” I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53 and began reading: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lᴏʀᴅ has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (vv. 5–6).
I told him much about Jesus our Savior. We had a very long conversation, and I was able to tell him everything he wanted to know.