I went to see one of my heart specialists today. I hadn’t seen him for over two years and remembered him as a personable being with a sarcastic sense of humor. I liked him immediately. As we talked about my condition at that time, I learned that he was born and raised in Turkey. Later he lived in France during his medical school training.
Today, after initial tests and evaluation by a nurse, the doctor and I nearly bumped into one another in the short hallway. The first thing he said was, “Purple is my favorite color.” (I was wearing a deep purple T-shirt.) “Come have a cup of coffee with me,” he implored. And before I could answer, he led me into a small lunchroom with a coffee bar across from where we met.
“How do you like your coffee?” he asked.
Again, before I could answer, He was brewing me a singular cup of delicious Latte. His own cup of coffee was already made and sitting on the small table in the center of the room. While the coffee was brewing, thoughts of our first meeting about three years ago came flooding back from that first encounter. I had been impressed by this man in his mid-sixties. He had an easy-going way about him, and I had correctly assumed he had been a carefree hippy during his younger years – at least a free spirit not unlike myself. He affirmed that I was right as we continued to talk.
I’m not sure he remembered me or if he is just an affable person by nature, again like me. In any case, we talked while the coffee brewed, and remembering his birthplace, I asked if he had visited Turkey lately. He said he hadn’t since he barely had any remaining relatives there anymore. Then I asked if he knew of Mt. Ararat, and he answered, “yes.” So, knowing his good nature, I went on to ask if he was an ancestor of Noah – jokingly. He went on to ask, “Do you know who Noah’s grandfather was?” As I searched for the answer in the deep recesses of my mind, he answered his own question. “Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old, and Noah lived 950 years!” in the Quran.
I steered the conversation back to the flood, and again – instead of answering directly, he began a treatise on how the deluge was a flood and not a worldwide deluge. “Did you know that fossils found in the middle strata of the soil would have us believe that the living organisms indicate that the biblical deluge was nothing more than the Black Sea emptying into the Mediterranean and that, scientifically, the supposed deluge was only a flood that took place in that part of the world?” he surmised.
“Then why is a great deluge recorded in all parts of the world?”
The question made him hesitate for a bit.
Then I told him that I was a Bible-believing Christian and loved archaeology. (I had been on an archaeological dig in the late 1900s involving the first Spanish settlement in the continental United States – and NO, it’s not St. Augustine.)
“Jesus often spoke of the worldwide deluge,” I replied.
“Jesus!… What does He know?” he asked, discounting my words.
“Well, since He was Co-creator with God, He should know.”
Touché: I had him where I wanted him. Then I quoted scripture as I always do when dealing with unsaved men. I began, ‘The Bible says in the book of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. Without Him there was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and this life was the light of men….”’ (Although I know the verses verbatim, I stopped there so as not to confuse him and also because we were talking about the reality of God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ Himself – and that said it all.)
The doctor then turned and walked away, leaving his coffee behind and not even bothering to say goodbye. After a minute or two, his secretary came to fetch his coffee, and I was left in the hallway alone. Obviously, he had heard enough, and our conversation was now over. I thought he was being rude.
Only after I got home and thought things through did I remember that he was Muslim! No wonder he responded the way he did. But knowing God the way I do, I could only surmise that the Lord had been working in his life and had sent me there to put a nail in his coffin. I can almost guarantee he isn’t going to sleep tonight, dwelling on John 1:1-4.
Let me wrap this article with the fact that my next-door neighbor talked to me over the fence after I arrived home, telling me that he had almost died the other day from an infection inside his body, and he would have done so if he hadn’t gone to the emergency room that night. The infection was beginning to spread precariously. I wasn’t even aware that he was in the hospital because he likes to keep his neighbors at arm’s distance, especially “religious” ones like me.
Although my neighbor was raised Roman Catholic, he doesn’t practice his faith like his grown son who is a regular church-going Protestant like me. But not having anyone else to confide in, he shared this near-death story with me, knowing about my relationship with God from previous conversations we’ve had. I even bought him a Bible for his birthday a couple of years ago, and he never invited me to a family gathering again, although I’ve invited him and his wife for dinner at least twice. He always came up with an excuse not to take me up on the offer.
Just as I was about to share the Gospel with him, he interjected that he wanted to live to be 100 and wanted nothing to do with religion. At that point, I dropped the subject when I felt God telling me to let it go for another time.
In the vernacular, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.”