At a young age, the Holy Spirit grabbed hold of Ron German. Even though he didn’t know at the time, the Lord wanted him to know Jesus.
Ron was raised in a Jewish home. In fact, his entire community in Cleveland, Ohio, was Jewish. The school systems didn’t honor Christmas and Easter as holidays—instead, they celebrated Passover and Hanukkah.
His curiosity about Jesus grew, but he couldn’t go to his family. The name of Jesus was forbidden in their home unless it was used in vain, which was often. He only had one place to go for answers: the local library, where he checked out an encyclopedia. “Alone, I opened it and found a black and white etching of Jesus on the cross at Calvary,” remembers Ron.
surprised by faith
Fast forward many years, he is at school in Cincinnati, Ohio. The wife of a dear friend of his had fallen ill. The illness progressed to the point that doctors were telling them to get their affairs in order. They didn’t think she would make it through the night. Ron’s friend and his wife came before the Lord and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They were in an impossible situation, but they committed it to the Lord.
Contrary to doctors’ predictions, she survived the night. Because of her illness, though, she had to deal with kidney failure. Ron’s friends weren’t discouraged, as he had expected. That’s the beauty of new Christians—they’re on fire for the Lord, and Ron became the target of their fire.
“Do you know you’re the apple of God’s eye, Ron?” they said. “The Jews are God’s chosen people.” Ron rolled his eyes in response. “I already know that, and I don’t want to hear about this Jesus business,” he replied. He was pretty stubborn then, and upon reflection, Ron says, “They should have given up on me, but they didn’t; they kept sharing. I’ll never forget the day they asked me to pray with them.”
Rather uncertain, Ron told his friends he had never prayed before. His friends weren’t shaken. “We’re going to lay a fleece before God,” they continued boldly. Ron was mortified and thought they had lost their minds. His friends remained calm and patient with Ron. “Gideon’s fleece. It’s Jewish,” they replied. Ron had no idea what they were talking about. “Well,” his friend continued gently, “we’re going to lay a fleece before God and ask Him to bring a kidney for my wife’s disease.”
They began praying, and as far Ron as could tell, they never stopped. This was during the 1970s, and kidney transplants weren’t readily abundant. When they found a match, it was a big deal. By the time the kidney got to the hospital in Cincinnati, though, the doctor was skeptical. “We’re going forward with this procedure,” he said, “but this kidney looks near dead.” It felt like his friends couldn’t win. They put the kidney in, and as the doctor drew the last stitch and released the clamps, the blood flowed through. “It was like somebody turned on a light bulb,” he said, “and it just came to life.” They did a tissue match and said the chances of getting a kidney this perfectly matched were one in six million. It was a miracle, and God let Ron witness it. The Lord was, is, and always will be in the business of miracles.
A few years later around Christmas time, Ron was at the mall when one of the kiosks caught his attention. He didn’t really want to buy anything, but he began talking with the husband and wife who were working the kiosk. He felt this nagging question for the husband, so he asked, “This may sound random, but are you a radio announcer?” The man beamed. “As a matter of fact, I am.” Ron asked what he did, and he replied, “I announce Jesus Christ.”
“Listen,” Ron said, “you have my curiosity. What do you do for Jesus?” The man didn’t hesitate. “I record the Bible on tape and send it all over the world.” They talked a bit more, and the man asked if Ron would like to be sent a tape. Ron politely declined at first, but after a while, he wore him down with his persistence. Ron gave him his info, went on his way, and didn’t think much more about it.
A week later, he received an envelope in the mail with a cassette tape. He couldn’t explain how this man seemed to know what he needed. He knew nothing of Ron or his background, but sent him the Gospel of Matthew, which was written to…Jews.
Now Ron, a man not interested in the Bible, had the Gospel of Matthew. He was a salesman, which meant spending a lot of time in his car, so he started to listen out of curiosity. He didn’t mind it so much, and this became a rhythm for him. One night, after a long day of driving, he pulled into a hotel in Columbus, Ohio. It was in that hotel room, while trying to find something to do, he stumbled upon a Bible from The Gideons on the nightstand.
God’s relentless pursuit of our hearts
Ron sat in that hotel room in silence for a while. Eventually, he opened the Bible. It was clean and fresh; he doubted it had been used much before. He paused, not knowing where to start reading. “As I began flipping through, yellow highlighter caught my eye—Romans 10:1. It was the only mark in the entire Bible,” recalls Ron. He read the passage. “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God…” For whom? Israel, the Jews—that they might be saved.
He put down the Bible and went to bed. A few weeks later, he was back in Columbus at the same hotel but a different room. The Bible was on the nightstand just like the last time. He picked it up again. It was clean, and there was only one part highlighted in the entire Bible—Romans 10:9 (ESV), which reads, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“As I began flipping through, yellow highlighter caught my eye—Romans 10:1. It was the only mark in the entire Bible.”
Ron finally understood the words of the Bible. He had never been to church or heard a preacher, but he knew God in that moment. That night, in his own way, he got on his knees and prayed. “Lord,” he said, “You have gone to an awful lot of trouble to touch my heart.” He paused, and he could feel it. “I believe. I believe what you say to be true,” he continued.
In Luke 15:10, Scripture teaches there is pure joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Ron knew there was shouting that night many years ago when he, a sinner, came to repentance.