She was a new Christian and now it was time to start sorting out the problems in her marriage. They had been married for 18 years but their relationship continued to spiral down in a horrible direction. She loved Sami very much but it just seemed lately that she was being used by him for his own bent pleasure. Sami wasn’t a Christian, in fact his Middle Eastern heritage along with his strong independent mindedness had created a great rift in their relationship over the years. And now that she was a Christian, they seemed even further apart.
Sami was a hard-working provider but he resented her new-found faith in Christ. For Sami their relationship had lost its spark years ago. To try to spice things up he insisted on making her watch pornographic videos with him before love-making.
She hated those movies but went along with it as the “good” wife. But at the same time she was in great conflict with her new faith. How could she reconcile following Christ with watching all this pornographic trash? She didn’t know what to do, so she finally called her pastor and asked to meet.
When they did, her pastor laid out some options. She could refuse to watch the movies based on her new convictions and risk pushing Sami even further away. Or she could take the initiative in her love life with her husband and spice things up to such a degree in the bedroom that the movies weren’t needed any more.
She mulled over this second idea for a few moments. In her heart she knew what she needed to do. She thanked the pastor for his help. They prayed together and asked God for wisdom and guidance as she learned how best to love her husband.
A few weeks later Sami stopped into the church and asked to see the pastor, who was surprised to see him. Sami usually only showed up at church to watch his kids in the Christmas pageant or Vacation Bible School programs.
The pastor asked Sami what he could do for him. Without any hesitation Sami said, “I want you to tell me how I can become a Christian.”
Wow, the pastor was stunned. There usually wasn’t a line of people at the door of his office asking to become Christians. The pastor asked Sami what had brought him to this decision. Sami said he had seen such an incredible change in his wife ever since she had become a Christian and that he had been overwhelmed by her sacrificial love for him. “I want what she has,” he said.
Over the next several weeks, Sami and the pastor met to discuss the claims of Christ from the Bible. Growing up with nominal Islamic roots, he had never heard these things about Jesus before. And it wasn’t long before he understood that he needed to give his life to Christ too. So Sami asked Jesus to be His Lord and Saviour. Plans were made for Sami to make a public declaration of his faith before the congregation through baptism.
Almost missing the chance
A few weeks later the pastor received the news that Sami had been hospitalised. His wife was in tears as the pastor met her in the hospital to pray for Sami.
For some reason, many of Sami’s internal organs weren’t functioning properly. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was as though the organs on the right side of his body had been fried.
As his kidneys began to fail and he began to slip away, the doctors asked Sami if he had been exposed to any electricity recently. Sami was a maintenance worker for a large manufacturer. He recalled to the doctors that he sort of remembered receiving a jolt of electricity at work the week before all these symptoms appeared and that he remembered passing out.
But when he woke up he felt fine and went back to work and didn’t think anything much of it. The doctors now had the pieces of the puzzle to make a diagnosis. Sami had been exposed to high voltage and he really should be dead by now. Miraculously, he pulled through and started to regain his strength.
Two months later, fully recovered, Sami was in the baptismal with the pastor. Sami told the congregation what God had done for him since putting his faith in Christ: “God saved my marriage and then God saved my life.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the church. Everyone had seen the miracles that had taken place in Sami’s life.
Today they continue to walk together with Christ, thanking God for every moment they have with each other and with their children and grandchildren. Their love for each other is known by all, and the spark they both longed for in their marriage has now become a bright flame that brings warmth to everyone around them.
- Reverend Bradley S. Belcher is the senior pastor with the International Baptist Church of Budapest, www.ibcbudapest.org. Should you have a question or comment regarding this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.