A Life-Changing Nudge

Posted on March 21, 2020

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By David Ettinger

A Grueling Time
It had been a grueling time in my life. Much happened between June 1986 and October 1987 when I was ages 28 and 29.

In June 1986, my marriage of 5½ years ended. In mid-October 1986 my mother died from breast cancer at age 53. In late October of 1986, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. For most of 1987, my wife and I wrangled over the joint-custody we shared of our 3-year-old son. And in October of 1987, exactly one year following my mother’s death, my father’s bad heart finally gave way. He was but 58.

I had just returned to New Mexico following my flight home from my father’s funeral in New York. Laying on my bed, my head was pounding. It had been a loooooong 16 months and I felt old. I was also feeling empty. I needed spiritual direction. I needed to know what the Lord wanted for my life. And I needed Him to tell me real soon.

He Told Me!
Though exhausted, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night, so I put on a Bible-teaching cassette (again, this was 1987) of my favorite Bible teacher Marv Rosenthal (I would go on to write for his magazine and eventually work for him).

I can’t remember what the topic of his teaching was, but he was talking about how too few Christians were well-acquainted with their Bibles. In making his point, he said: “I’m not saying every Christian needs to be a scholar, but we should be familiar enough with our Bibles that, if asked, we can give a 25-word description of every book of the Bible – all 66 of them.”

I don’t know how this strikes you, but it struck me like a thunderbolt! It appealed to my journalistic sensitivities (I was a writer/editor for the El Paso Herald-Post at the time). It appealed to my hunger to know the Bible as deeply as I could. It appealed to my need to know the Lord more intimately!

Marv had gone on to say that having this working knowledge of the entire Bible was neither an intellectual exercise nor something by which to “show off” to those not as “knowledgeable” as us. We were to know our Bibles as deeply as possible for the sake of knowing its Author that much more deeply. I understood precisely what he was saying.

My Prayer
I immediately stopped the cassette, got off my bed, knelt down, and prayed: “Yes, Lord, this is exactly what I want. I want to know the Bible – all 66 books of it – as deeply as I can for whatever purposes you would have me know it. So, please, Lord, give me an aptitude for your Word that I may love it, absorb it, know it, and teach it to others. In Christ’s name, amen.”

I dare say that 33 years later, the Lord has granted me that prayer. I really can in 25 words or less summarize what each of the 66 books of the Bible are about. And you know what? I still find that there’s plenty I don’t know! I need to keep going. But praise God, He has allowed me to teach the Word to others for about 30 years now, and it has been abundantly rewarding. (You can find some of my recorded teaching sessions on this blog).

And it all began with Marv Rosenthal’s life-changing “nudge” while listening to his teaching cassette during that grueling period of my life. It was the nudge I needed to set me on the course the Lord had determined for me.

If you love the Lord but are finding yourself in somewhat of a spiritual rut, ask Him to give you the nudge you need to get you moving and working for Him.

Praise God for His precious nudges!