In the spring of 1974, a young woman attended a service at the little church where I had come to faith in December, 1971 as a 16 year-old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using, Jewish hippy, rock drummer.
Little did I know that this 19 year-old, red-haired young lady – at that time, a Jewish atheist – would soon come to faith in Jesus, becoming my very best friend and soul mate for more than 39 years. It was truly miraculous and, without a doubt, orchestrated by the Lord.
I know that it’s the trend these days to wait a while before getting married, but back in the early 1970’s, in particular in our church circles, all the teens were dating and were eager to get married, including my two best friends, both of whom had girlfriends at the time.
When would I meet the one God had for me?
Once I prayed that the Lord would show me in a vision or a dream the person I would marry. This way, I wouldn’t bother getting into a relationship with anyone else until I met that person. Needless to say, I never had the vision or dream, but I started to pray a prayer regularly for more than 24 months, and it’s a prayer the Lord wonderfully answered.
This was the simple request: “Lord, give me the one You have for me when You have her for me and give me patience until You do.” And while praying this prayer for her, whoever she might be, I prayed extensively for myself, that God would continue to conform me to the image of His Son.
A few times I became very friendly with one of the girls in the congregation, but it was clear to both of us that we weren’t a match. In some cases, it seemed as if the Lord himself intervened to help us understand that we were not to pursue a relationship.
In the meantime, my friends were getting into serious relationships, often going out as couples while I stayed home at night. But rather than get frustrated, I would spend those nights in the Word and prayer, enjoying extraordinary fellowship with the Lord. Looking back, I’m so glad I had that time alone, not distracted by a relationship with anyone else.
Then, in early spring, 1974, Nancy Gurian attended one of our night services. Her mother had been married four times and she had been a committed atheist since the age of 8 when she concluded with sadness that there was no God. As for the Christian faith, she had no more interest in the Gospel than she had in Muhammad.
Why then did she attend a church service? She was invited by a friend from work, and for some reason, she didn’t want to offend him, so she agreed to come. In retrospect, it’s only by the Lord’s grace that she walked into our building.
As for her friend from work, space forbids me from telling the whole story here, but it was only by a divinely orchestrated series of events that the two of them ended up on the same job, which makes this all the more remarkable.
Getting back to that first service she attended in 1974, it was my custom in those days to talk to every visitor, and if they were non-believers, whether male or female, I would ask for their phone number so I could follow up.
Now, it might not have been the wisest approach (especially with the opposite sex), but I was quite sincere, committing the phone numbers to memory and praying for those visitors by name for months thereafter.
Did it help that I found Nancy attractive? Of course, but I would have talked to her either way, and for some odd reason, she gave me her number (which I still remember). On her end, as I found out months later, she found me quite unattractive.
We began to talk by phone about spiritual things, she attended more services, and then one day, when she was by herself, the light went on and she realized that evil personified – as in, “the devil” – was real, at which moment she knew that God existed.
Shortly after that, in May, 1974, she was born-again, and one week later, we began to date (at that time, we never heard of the concept of “courtship”). One week after that, we were in love and knew that we would spend the rest of our lives together.
What was it that attracted Nancy to me? It was the fact that she saw Jesus in me, and it was our relationship with the Lord that became the foundation of our relationships with each other. And as we spent countless hours together, we were found each other to be deeply compatible.
Interestingly, in the months leading up to her salvation, Nancy broke up with the guy she had been seeing for a couple of years and actually stopped using drugs, drinking and even smoking cigarettes (without any consciousness of God in her life). Then, in the most unlikely series of events, she ended up working at that particular job, coming to our little Italian Pentecostal Church, becoming a believer and becoming my bride.
She has been the perfect, God-ordained companion for me (she would say the about me for her), and if the Lord did that for me, He will do it for you.
Why not pray the same prayer, praying for your own walk first? “Lord, give me the one You have for me, when You have that one for me and give me patience until You do.”