One of the shortest and simplest words in any language . . . yet loaded with meaning.

“Yes, I will marry you!”

“Yes, I’m pregnant!”

“Yes, you’re hired.”

At some of the best moments in life—when we complete the challenge, when our team wins, when we get the best news—that one word says all we long to hear.

But then there are other times.

“Yes, it’s cancer.”

“Yes, I lost my job.”

“Yes, Dad’s gone.”

Yes is indeed one of the most significant words in any language. It is full of possibility and power, expressing deep emotions, opening doors, affirming both fears and joys.

Sometimes, though, yes takes on a dimension that is far beyond our humanity—when the Creator of the universe speaks and awaits our response.

Donna and I visited with dear friends recently who are missionaries in an area that is closed to the gospel. As we talked, our friend (who I will call Jeff) told us about a man he and his wife had been sharing with for years. They both felt he was drawing closer to faith, and Jeff said that he had awakened that very morning with this man on his heart and wished that we had time to visit with him.

Just then the doorbell rang. This man we had been speaking about (I’ll call him Isaac) had come to visit unexpectedly. Isaac had found out from his doctor that he was sick, and he wanted Jeff and his wife to pray for him. Jeff introduced Donna and me, and a conversation began that led to the defining moment of this man’s life.

“I want you all to pray that God will heal me,” Isaac said. “I have watched you Christians, and when you pray, God answers you.”

“Of course we will pray for you, Isaac,” Jeff said. “We have been praying for you for a long time. But you have a greater need than to be healed of this illness. If you believe in my God, the One we have told you about, He can heal you forever!”

“I do believe! I have watched your family for years. You are different from everyone else I know. You care for others, not just yourself. You have a power no one else has. Yes, I have decided to believe in your God.”

There it was. Yes. I was ecstatic.

But Jeff responded wisely. “Isaac, here is your problem. You want my God to take care of you. You have asked us to pray for you before. But I have been to your house and seen many idols there. My God is Jesus, and He is the only true God. Do you believe this?”

“Well, yes, but those idols are part of my family religion. It would be disrespectful to my family not to worship other gods. But I will make Jesus a very important god in our home.”

Jeff stood and put an empty chair in the middle of the room. “Isaac, this represents the ‘Jesus chair.’ No matter what gods you worship, in reality He is the only one who can sit in this chair. Only Jesus. He is here, and He is speaking to you right now. He is calling you to say yes to Him—and only to Him.

“When your car breaks down, you want to put your keys in the Jesus chair for Him to fix it. When you have financial problems, you want to put your wallet in the chair for Him to re-supply it. And now that you are sick, you want to put a medicine bottle in the chair so He will fill it and make you well. But Jesus wants you. All of you. Will you bring all of yourself to the Jesus chair?”

“I want to. But to leave behind all my gods . . .”

“Isaac, I have watched your wife dust off the idols in your home. What kind of god needs to be dusted off? You will have to choose Jesus alone, over all your dusty idols.”

Jeff’s words to Isaac at that point in the conversation were among the most powerful statements I have ever heard anyone make.

At that moment Isaac’s phone rang, and he chose to answer it. The next half hour or so of the conversation was filled with one distraction after another. We could literally feel the war in the spiritual realm going on, the intense battle for the soul of a man.

Finally, all was quiet, and Jeff looked intently at Isaac. “Isaac, what is your decision? The real God, the only God, is calling you right now. Will you say yes?”

Isaac slowly stood up and walked to the chair in the middle of the room. He looked at it for a moment and then sat down in it. “Yes! I choose Jesus, and only Him.”

Your Choice

Now it is your turn to respond.

The most important yes of your life comes when God speaks to you, and you respond in believing faith. But that yes is followed by many more opportunities to respond. Everyone who receives Jesus as Savior becomes His follower and friend.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

These words tell me that God is always speaking to us, telling us what He is doing, calling us to join Him, inviting us to say yes to His love and to His mission. “God wants to speak to us today, and every day, through his word. God’s word is not simply ‘once spoken.’ God’s word is always ‘now speaking.’”*

Do you hear Him now? He is not silent. He is not far away. He is calling you. And the most important thing in your life, now and forever, is to hear Him and respond with a resounding YES.

That one word can change everything. Are you ready?


*Matt Brown, “Don’t Say God Is Silent with Your Bible Closed,” article on

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


John and Donna’s book Yes Changes Everything (Life Action Ministries: 2020) is all about how surrender to God can transform, revive, and breathe hope into any situation. Learn more, and find videos, additional resources, and updates at

From the Editors: If you like this article by John and Donna Avant, you’ll love the book it introduces: Yes Changes Everything: Opening the Door to Spiritual Transformation. As our long-term readers are aware, we’re passionate about inviting people to say yes to God in every category of their lives. This book will be a strong addition to your library, and fresh inspiration for your next YES.