A famous couple that portrayed a big-screen romance was now dating in real-life. Social media sites lit up with many voicing their approval, acknowledging the on-screen chemistry they exhibited was real and not an act.
These couples are well-known to anyone who follows the entertainment headlines. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. There are many more. As delightful a story of this successful pairing, the casting directors deserve an award for so adroitly matching two actors to play a romantic couple on the big-screen, it led to an off-screen romance. What about the converse? What about actors who portrayed an on-screen romance but in reality, detested each other. There are numerous examples of these as well. One amusing couple was Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the romantic comedy, Dirty Dancing. Anyone watching that movie could not help but swoon when Swayze literally swept Grey off her feet and into movie lore. In reality, they hated working with each other, but I certainly would never have guessed it and millions of audience members would probably agree with me.
Candidly, these actors who disliked each other should receive a special Oscar nomination for their performance, convincing everyone they were in love when just the opposite was true! Many years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. When I first became a Christian in college, I wondered if I truly loved God or if was I simply convincing myself or even giving in to peer pressure from other Christians. Perhaps others thought I loved God but in reality, was it all an act? Was I like these actors who superbly faked their affection for their co-stars?
One day, I was confronted by Jake, my classmate, who questioned the sincerity of my faith. He was not a Christian and he thought all religions were fake. He challenged my conversion, insinuating I was delusional. I had only been a Christian for a few months. I could not point to a long life of faith. I did not have the knowledge nor experience to debate deep theological issues with him. I felt helpless.
“You know Jake. I can’t prove to you that God is real to me anymore than I can prove to you that God exists. There are some things that you have to experience for yourself. I spent nearly a year searching for God and He answered me. God speaks to everyone with a personal voice. He wants to be in a relationship with you.”
His expression did not change but I knew he was listening. I prayed to God to help me answer my classmate. Immediately a peace came over me and God gave me the words to speak.
“Jake, I didn’t believe in God. I thought anyone who did was weak and looking for an excuse to explain why they failed or weren’t successful. I despised that. However, during all those years, God was patiently working with me and took me from a complete non-believer to someone who believed that all religions were paths to the same god.”
“What? That’s crazy!”
“I know, right? So instead of bashing all religions, I now embraced everything, but that soon changed. God led me to read the Bible which I eagerly accepted since I thought that all religions were the same. As I read it, I was pleased that much of it complemented what I already believed. But then I read something that Jesus said. He said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ John 14:6 (NASB). That really shook me up. On the one hand, I accepted that all religious leaders like Buddha and Mohammad were all teaching the same path to God. Then Jesus tells me that only He is the true path. Everyone can’t be right. So, I decided to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ. Was He really the only way? It took nearly a year but God revealed Himself to me and a few months ago, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
Jake was unimpressed. “Well, that works for you, not me. I still don’t believe you.”
I nodded and smiled. “I understand. But I believe.”
On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.
Psalms 138:3 (NASB)
At that moment, I had my answer. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to simply tell my story. God revealed Himself to me in a very personal manner, one that was unlike anyone else’s testimony. He took me from being an atheist to becoming involved in a cult that worshiped all gods to finding the one true God, Jesus Christ. This was not an elaborate deception. I was not delusional nor was I acting out for others. It was a decision of faith based upon careful consideration of the facts.
I thank God for His grace and mercy to me for bringing me to salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.