By Olivier Melnick
“If God exists, He doesn’t need me for anything, and I sure don’t need HIM.”
These were my comments when asked about God as I grew up in Paris, France. As many European, secular Jews born after World War II and raised in the aftermath of the Holocaust, I was not interested in God at all. After all, maybe my mother was right when she claimed that God died in Auschwitz with the six million – including her father.
So, as a result, I grew up culturally Jewish but very secular.
Being French, I am two parts romantic and one part curious. These personality traits found a major focus in 1981, when I met Ellen. My romantic interest in her took on an additional dimension as I embarked on a spiritual quest that was wholly unanticipated.
Ellen, a deeply committed believer in Messiah, started to challenge me with the Bible and Yeshua’s claim to be the Messiah of Israel. Of course, I knew nothing about the Bible except that Yeshua (Jesus) was not for the Jewish people.
Ellen challenged me to read the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning Messiah. As I learned more, I realized that Yeshua had fulfilled these prophecies concerning his birth, his suffering and his identity as the Messiah. I also began to consider the message of the New Testament. As I pictured myself, an unbeliever, separated from Ellen, I became terrified.
One day, in the summer of 1983, after Ellen patiently explained to me one more time about our need for reconciliation with God through Yeshua’s death and resurrection, I came to the unavoidable conclusion that He was the long awaited Messiah of the Scriptures. It was then that I received Him as my Lord and Savior.
Not long after, Ellen and I were married and moved to the U.S. in 1985. We presently live in Washington and have two beautiful children – a boy and a girl.
My old assumptions about God have been transformed. I know today that God DOES exist and that I need Him. Even though HE DOES NOT need me, He loves me-even in spite of my imperfections. Through Yeshua, my secular outlook has been remolded from skepticism to faith, for I have found in the message of Messiah the most essential, most Jewish story of all.