Sunday, September 15, 2013

. . .a woman of comfort.

This is one of my favorite love stories, a bit of a long read, but well worth it.  A good old fashion love story. This is an excerpt from Ray Comforts book ~ Out of the Comfort Zone

A Rebellious Child
Ray Comfort

It continually amazing me how God can bring an individual out of a life of darkness and into His marvelous light. The life of one young man, who is now dear to me, is one such example.It was the early 1990's. A fifteen-year-old named Emeal Zwayne was in the midst of cutting a rap demo with a Hollywood recording studio, and had signed a contract with successful producers. That wasn't the only contract he had put his name to. Emeal had just joined the infamous street gang known as the Crips. Sometime earlier, he had walked of his school campus in Southern California, went to an alley not far from school, and been viciously beaten by four gang members as part of the initiation ceremony.

Emeal, known to his friends as EZ, had been elected class president during his freshman year of high school. He wanted popularity, and he had it. He was a tough kid who did not hesitate to threaten to kill one of his teachers. He had also been caught vandalizing a classroom, and by the middle of his sophomore year, he had already been kicked out of two high schools.

EZ was born in Lebanon.  In the late 1970's, he watched as his mother, distraught at the thought of EZ's teenage brother going to war, locked the front door o the house and hid the key. As his determined brother headed toward the door, his mother grabbed hold of the Army shirt that he held in his hand. Undeterred, he continued toward the door, dragging her across the floor, then he kicked open the locked door and fled into the darkness of war.

Other than that dramatic incident, EZ didn't remember much about his war-torn country. Most of his memories were rooted in the United States. Shortly after the incident with his brother, his family immigrated to the U.S. They came to the conclusion that Lebanon didn't hold much of a future for the family. EZ's young life was steeped in Roman Catholicism. He kept many of the church's rituals and often partook of Holy Communion. But there was a rebellious spirit in this child, who had been influenced by a brother with a soldier's mentality. He had been taught to be tough, and had developed a strong animosity toward anyone different from himself.

This animosity manifested itself even in kindergarten, where he would grab other children in chokeholds and became known as a thief and a troublemaker. His rebellion wasn't confined to the classroom. When an aunt and uncle came to visit, they were very concerned that their van was in danger of being vandalized. They were right. It was in danger, but not from strangers. After hearing of their concern, EZ went outside and jumped on it, broke off the windshield wipers, scratched it,g then snapped of the antenna. Then he went inside and said with wide eyes, "Someone has vandalized your van!" He did this more than once. When he went to elementary school, he found that he could impress friends by lying to them about being a monarch from another country. He told them that he had come into the United States for refuge. As he grew, he continued to fight, lie, steal, and vandalize cars.

Collecting for the Scouts

One day he put on a Cub Scout uniform and went around his neighborhood collecting money for handicapped kids. He pocketed the money. The strange irony was that EZ didn't want to be a bad kid. As an eight-year-old, he had decided to clean up his life. He wanted to be a good Catholic, so he had tried to stop lying, stealing, and cussing. he even prayed at night, wore a cross, and began reading a children's Bible.
 But it wasn't long until the dark part of his heart began to dominate his young life. He drifted from the church and back into his lies. He acquired a consistent track record of suspensions from elementary school and junior high for "inappropriate behavior." 

When he entered high school, things really became bad. it was as though he had no conscience. He began drinking, experimenting with marijuana, and doing other things that come with the lifestyle. He started ditching classes and lying to teachers. Near the end of his sophomore year he had four F's and tow D minuses. He didn't even deserve the D's; two teachers had been overly gracious. his grade point average was a mere 0.32. He was finally expelled when he was caught writing graffiti on the school walls.

A Stirred Conscience

It was getting close to Mother's Day. EZ's family had gathered at his parents' home. One of his sisters from new Jersey had traveled across the country to surprise the family with the news that she was pregnant. 
As they talked, another sister took the time to tell her younger brother that he needed to clean up his life. She told EZ that he was worthless. Something in the young man snapped. hE jumped up, grabbed a knife from the kitchen drawer, and began stabbing himself in the wrist. Fortunately, the knife was full and didn't do any major damage. He did, however, upset his visiting sister. She was so distraught by the incident that she miscarried the child.

The baby's death left an indelible impression on EZ. he became even worse and found himself thinking of suicide. His conscience was bothering him. he knew that he wasn't right with God and was terrified that his lifestyle was taking him to hell.

A Stunned Mom

Bill was EZ's best friend. His life had taken him in a different direction than that of the young gangster. Late one evening, both Bill and EZ got drunk. In the early hours of the morning, EZ turned to Bill and said, "This is the best feeling I've ever had. I want to feel this way the rest of my life!" Bill's parents had invited both boys to a crusade. Later that day, EZ told his mom, "I'm going to be a Christian thing with Bill." Her reaction was to snap back, "You liar! I know what you are up to!" For one of the few times in his life, EZ was telling the truth. Her reaction angered him, and he let her know it by punching the wall.

He was still fuming on the way to the meeting. When he entered the auditorium, they sight of 23,000 people and the sound of the music began to soften his heart. That night this rebellious young man realized that he was sinner. For the first time in his life he heard that eternal life was a gift. In response to the altar call, he jumped up and ran forward, tears streaming down his face. He could hardly believe that God could forgive him for all the things he had done. In a moment of time, he was transformed.

 A New Life

EZ became a new creation, and the transformation was immediately apparent. As he got into the car to leave the crusade, the radio came on. He immediately turned it off. He now didn't want to listen to music that glorified sex and violence. When he arrived home, he remember the fight he had had with his mother. As he gaze through the window, he could see by her expression that she was still fuming. He did't realize that it wasn't just the fight that had upset her. His mother had found out that night that he had been stealing, and she was about to throw him out of the house.

EZ said a cheery "Hi, Mom' as he walked through the doorway. Her face looked grim. When she confronted him about the stealing, she was stunned that he immediately confessed his crimes. As they began talking, EZ told her about everything he had been involved in. He also found out later that there had been times when she had locked her bedroom door because she was afraid that he would kill her. he looked deeply into her eyes and said, "Mom, mark these words: nothing will ever be the same again." 

Nothing was the same. He knocked on some of the doors of the neighbors down his street and apologized to them for his former lifestyle. He also called is record producer and told him that as a Christian, he could no longer rap. He knew that he couldn't be two people--one on-stage and another off-stage. He was duly released from the contract.
Then he contacted his gang and informed them that he had to get our, even if it meant being beaten up. They told him "We don't want anything to do with this God stuff. You are out. We're not going to jump you."
He then went back to the first school that had expelled him and pleaded with them to take him back. It seemed that it wouldn't be an easy thing to do. The principal had once said to his brother, "If EZ ever comes back to this school, I will quite my job."

Fortunately, the principal was impressed enough with EZ's sincerity to have an administrative meeting to consider his request. Then he called and said, "We will send you to a continuation school. If you do okay for the first semester, we will take you back for the second." He did "okay." In fact, he was voted the most improved male student on campus. At a special banquet to which his mom and ad were invited, he was given an award. One of the principals was taken aback with the change. She asked, "What got into you?" EZ beamed as he answered, "The Lord." She smiled and welcomed him back.

One of the school supervisors wasn't so convinced. When she was told that EZ was returning to school, she said, "No way! I can't stand him." Her fears soon proved unfounded. EZ quickly became a Bible study leader, and his grade point average went from 0.32 to 4.0--straight A's. 
After finishing high school, he attended a Bible university, majoring in biblical studies and theology. He then became an ordained pastor at the age of twenty. Truly, the Lord had changed him and nothing was ever the same again! 

What's in a Name?

In June 1995, EZ was the quest speaker at a church retreat, when a woman told him there was something on her heart that she need to share with him. That seemed a little strange in itself, because she didn't know him very well. But she also said that she couldn't tell him what she was supposed to.

A short time later one Saturday afternoon, EZ was reading his Bible. As he neared the end of Genesis chapter 24, his eyes fell upon the final verse: "then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death" (verse 67).  EZ identified with the verse, because his beloved mother had passed away eighteen months earlier. He had read this passage several times, yet this time was unlike any other, especially as he had mistakenly read the name Rebekah as Rachel. This would prove to be significant a short time later. He meditated on verse for moment, closed his Bible and said, "Lord, I pray that you will bring me a women who will comfort me after the death of my mother."

Narrowing Down the Field

Around the time EZ's mother died, Rachel, my daughter, had looked at me and said, "Dad, when I get married, I want to marry someone who has a concern for the lost. I want him to be someone who preaches open-air and gives out gospel tracts." I smiled and thought, Man! You have just narrowed down the field. We had prayed that Rachel's husband would be a godly man. However, I didn't know too many eligible Christian young men who preached open-air. God, however, knew of one.

It was Sunday morning, the day after EZ had cried out to God for a wife. I had been invited to speak at a church in Yorba Linda, California. There were two services, and Rachel arrived before the second service to keep me company. 

I introduced her to a young man I had met named EZ. Then I deliberately went for a walk so they could get acquainted without her father being around. A short time later, EZ received a call from the woman who had said she had something important to tell him. He remembered the conversation and was very interested in what she had to say. She told him, "It was on my heart to share with you form the passage in Genesis chapter 24, when Isaac met Rebekah, that God is going to bring you a woman who will comfort you after the death of your mother." 

He was both shocked and overjoyed. He knew this woman had no idea that he had prayed about this very passage. However, he was confused because she had said "Isaac and Rebekah." EZ knew his Bible so he said, "Don't you mean Isaac and Rachel?" She was adamant that she was right, so EZ suggested that he get his Bible and read the passage to her. As he did so, he almost had to wipe his eyes. The woman was right. When he read the passage, he had mistakenly read it as "Rachel." 

Soon after this, Rachel began attending the church where EZ was now an assistant pastor. At one of the midweek services he happened to hear her say something that dumbfounded him. She said, "A lot of people mix up my name. Rather than calling me Rachel, they call me Rebekah." His mind suddenly raced back to how he had mixed up the two names. He knew that this was much more than a coincidence. From that point on he began to pray about Rachel becoming his wife. For five long months, EZ kept the matter between himself and God. In the meantime, he developed a friendship with Rachel. One night, she walked into my prayer room after spending some time with him, and said, 'Oh, Dad. . . I love him so much." EZ also loved Rachel, but during those month they never discussed their mutual affection.

Five months to the day after EZ asked God to bring him a woman to comfort him after the death of his mother, he revealed his love for Rachel. Three weeks later, they were engaged to be married.
Rachel's full name has great significance to the story. Her first name is Rachel, her middle name is Naomi, and her last name was Comfort. EZ had two previous seriously relationships. One of the girls was named Rachel; the other was Naomi. Neither relationship gave him true comfort. However, God gave him another chance with Rachel Naomi, but this time with comfort. The day before he met his wife, he prayed that God would give him a woman of comfort. The follow day God, in His great faithfulness, gave him Rachel Naomi Comfort.

Every father wants his daughter to be treated with respect. I found out after their honeymoon that EZ had driven out to the house where they were to stay in Palm Springs and filled a bowl with water and topped it with flower petals. When they arrived on their honeymoon, the first thing he did was wash my daughter's feet as a token of love and servitude.

Rachel received an answer to her prayer. EZ is one of the most zealous Christians I know. He not only gives out tracts like there is no tomorrow, but to date, he has visited over eight hundred homes in his area to reach his neighbors with the gospel. He has also preached open-air with me more than one hundred times. 

-- from Out of the Comfort Zone, Ray Comfort 


  1. SUCH an inspiring story! One of the best testimonies I've read. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  2. Such a neat story! Thanks for sharing :-)

  3. I had not read this story before, quite good! Thank your for sharing it. :)