Hope for an Unbelieving Loved One

by Bill Bright

As a young man, I knew what it was to be in love with someone who did not share my love for our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In my book, Witnessing Without Fear, I tell the story of how I prayed several years for my fiancée, Vonette Zachary, to receive Christ. When I proposed and we became engaged, I just knew she was God's woman for me. She was the loveliest and most beautiful young lady in my hometown of Coweta, Oklahoma. Although we were engaged to be married, I knew that I could not marry her as long as she did not share my enthusiasm for serving the Lord. I suffered great agony over this. For her part, she thought I had become a religious fanatic. She had been very active in the church from her youth, and I assumed that she was a Christian. As time passed, however, I realized that Vonette had not given her life to the Lord. So I prayed, and I prayed some more. Doubts grew, and I began to wonder if God had really wanted me to marry this attractive, wonderful young woman who refused to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord. As a new Christian at the time, I wrote long letters to her explaining my faith in Christ. She became so exasperated and so concerned that she came to California to try to rescue me from fanaticism. She wanted to see for herself whether there was any hope for our relationship. I introduced her to Henrietta Mears, director of Christian Education at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. Dr. Mears had been a major influence in my turning to Christ. Thankfully, God used Dr. Mears to introduce Vonette to our Lord. Her life was changed, a few months later we were married, and we have had an incredible life together ever since, as husband and wife, best friends, parents, and ministry partners. Vonette's own ministry activities have had a huge worldwide impact. Many are hurting because of a loved one who does not believe in the God they love. I can identify with you if you have been praying for a son, daughter, spouse, or friend and have not yet seen results. When that loved one is a spouse, your whole family life may seem threatened. But God's Holy Word offers hope. And I want to tell you: Do not be discouraged. Trust in God's timing. Although I wanted Vonette to receive Christ right away, God chose to wait three years, a different timetable-one that brought greater glory to Himself. He is sovereign, and will answer your prayer in His special way, at His special time. Always remember, God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9) and He promised, "If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14,15 niv). Claim that promise for your loved ones and friends!
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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