Many people are getting a “new start” to the year 2018. Sadly, “new” is not always what people want – especially if they think the “old” is just fine, or that change carries too many unknowns.
I remember the day Hiram* slowly shuffled into the apartment leasing office where I worked. Though his body showed the wear of a dignified senior well into his eighties, his wit and awareness seemed not to have aged.
“I’m making a new start. A new place to live . . . a two-bedroom ground floor apartment with a view would be nice,” was Hiram’s greeting to me.
I described the apartments we had available, the prices, and lease terms. Hiram was business-savvy. Within minutes he was prepared to fill out a rental application pending on seeing the apartment.
Soon Hiram and I were standing in an available two-bedroom apartment. As he gazed out the sliding glass window facing a spacious grassy lot, Hiram took a serious tone. “What happened to your arm?”
I replied, “I experienced a medical emergency that nearly took my life. And what initially seemed bad turned into something wonderful and led me on a path to a “new life.” A new start like you said you were making, only mine was spiritual.”
I shared how God had used this event for good as it made me think seriously of eternal matters. This led to a very real relationship with God through His Son Jesus the Messiah.
Hiram listened. After a thoughtful pause he spoke. “I’m Jewish, but I don’t believe in God or any Messiah. However, you do know that Jesus was a Jew.”
I smiled and responded, “Yes, he was. But I’m shocked that a man who has such a keen mind like yourself doesn’t believe in God.”
“No. I believe in facts and what I can see. You cannot show me God,” was Hiram’s reply.
At that moment, I saw tree branches swaying in the wind as we gazed out the window. I asked, “What is making those branches move?”
Hiram looked at me to see if I was serious before replying. “The wind of course.”
“How do you know, if you cannot see the wind?”
Hiram gave a soft cynical chuckle. “Because of science.”
“Yes,” I replied. “Science often explains what we cannot see. We know many things are true even though we do not see them because we see the results of them.
“With God it is similar. Although we do not see Him, we see the results of God through creation, history, and the Bible – even things that Jewish Prophets wrote concerning future events that later happened.
“I can also say I’m evidence of God as well, as He changed my life and made me a new creation!”
“Are you going to rent me an apartment or try to convince me about God?” Hiram asked with a grin.
“Well, Hiram, I’m trying to do both.”
Hiram’s response was quick and witty. “One out of two isn’t bad. I’ll take the apartment.”
Every New Year I’m sadly reminded of Hiram, knowing his new start was not the one he really needed.
Like Hiram, at this time of year many people are looking for fresh starts. However, the “new” they truly need is often dismissed. Scripture points to many “new” promises: a new heart, a new covenant, and even new life.
Will you join me in praying for our LORD to open the eyes of many “Hirams” before they perish? Pray they may know that “believing is seeing!”
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).