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CBN.com “My father was very hard working, very intelligent, astute businessman who knew how to stay focused on making money,” says Stephen.
However, if there was one thing that Stephen’s father never seemed to master it was how to communicate love to his son. Like all kids, Stephen needed to know he was loved.
By the time he’d grown to adulthood, Stephen worked for his dad, throwing himself into his father’s multi-million dollar engraving business. But Stephen made the mistake of believing that if he distinguished himself in the company he would gain the affection he craved from his father.
“The Stephen that always wanted to be accepted, loved, complimented, fulfilled, wanted to be told he was doing good,” Stephen says. “I wasn’t getting that at all.”
Then, at the height of the company’s success, Stephen’s dad decided to sell the business without even consulting his son! That left Stephen without a job. He took it all very personally.
“He was tearing away my inheritance and never approved of me. Never demonstrated any approval, just total rejection. And that was pain.”
With all of this pain in his heart, Stephen began to look for answers. He remembered his Jewish upbringing but recalled the many doubts that had once filled his mind.
“When you went into the synagogue, you had to put a tallit around your neck,” he recalls. “You had to put yarmulke on top of your head, people would greet each other, but you really felt there was never any life there. There was never any understanding.”
But deep inside Stephen knew that God had to be real… if only he could find Him. So Stephen started to pray.
“I used to talk to myself,” he says. "‘Stephen, pray like you’ve never prayed in your life. Pray. Ask God to get you out of this jam because you’re in a big jam.’ I said, ‘The prayers are going to do this -- nothing else.’”
Believe it or not, those prayers led to a chance encounter with a young woman.
“This girl had a Jesus pin on her. I said, ‘Where do you go to church?’ She said, ‘Over at Calvary Chapel.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s funny. I’m a Jew, and I’m trying to find out about God.’”
That brief conversation drew Stephen to a church where he attended a Bible study twice a week for three years. What exactly happened during that time?
“I felt like my brain was a big can, and the Holy Spirit was just opening up the top of my brain and in was coming all this truth,” says Stephen. “You couldn’t deny this truth because he started from the very beginning, from the Jewish roots, and that’s what I could relate to because here was a Jew hungry, trying to find out the truth of God, trying to find out what this Bible really said… And the truth really set me free.”
God met Stephen, and he prayed to receive Jesus as Savior.
“I started crying like you’ve never seen a person cry in my life. Weeping and weeping and weeping,” Stephen recalls. “I apologized to God over and over and over again. Told Him how much I loved Him and how much I appreciated Him. ‘Thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord for this beautiful experience.’”
At last Stephen found the love he had searched for his entire life in a Heavenly Father who promised to love him forever.
God provided another blessing to Stephen soon after his decision to follow Jesus—He helped him find a wife!
“I wanted to have the real thing. I wanted love,” says Stephen. “I wanted a woman that I could do that with. I wanted to be able to pray at night with her. I wanted to be able to worship with her. I wanted to be able to do all those things that involved God as part of our lives.”
So in this true-life love story Stephen married Rosalba, and they really are experiencing a happy life because Christ is at the center of their marriage.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned as a believer is that it’s all about personal relationship, about being a friend with God,” Stephen says. “He’s everything. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He’s the future… I don’t have a future if I don’t have Him.”
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