I found an empty bench and sat down. The leaves were dancing in the sun above my head. From their quick movements, you could tell they had a lot of joy.
But I was concerned. The exam date was approaching with the speed of a train that doesn’t prepare to stop at the station. I knew that if I don’t arm myself well, I’m going to get hit.
I was guilty. A couple of weeks ago God told me about His desire. He wanted me to quit my studies. I agreed to do it, yet, I was studying. I didn’t know how to take the next step.
It was ripping me in two. Guilt and responsibility.
I was responsible to take the exams, but on the other hand, I knew God called me to leave the studies. The longer I stayed the more anxiety I felt.
After one Sunday service as I was picking up my notebooks to go to the park. Just before I left, I sat on my bed and asked Jesus to tell me, if He was still with me. I needed His comfort, assurance, and guidance for this two-sided issue.
No, dancing leaves or chirping birds were not able to cheer me up. I didn’t come to the park to enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon. I came to study for the upcoming oral exam.
I hated the topic. It did not resonate with my heart. It was all about faith in a god of a foreign religion.
All my heart wanted was to follow God of my heart. Him who changed my life, who showed me His kindness, goodness and mercy.
The man God appointed me to speak with
For a moment I got distracted by a man. He was coming up the path in my direction.
I pretended to be reading my notes but actually I was waiting until he passed by. As the man got to the place I was sitting, he stopped and sat down on the other side of the bench.
“That’s odd,” I thought a bit irritated, “there are so many empty benches around!”
I bit my teeth and got back to reading. Of course, it’s a public park and I do own this bench…
“I want you to speak to him,” Holy Spirit quietly whispered in my hear.
“Come on, I’m not on an outreach! I came to study!” answered the quiet voice of God in my mind. I was not in the mood to be social. On top of that, I didn’t have much time until the exam.
Minutes went by. I went through more than half of my planned notes.
“What are you studying?” the man on my left broke the silence.
“Arabic philosophy,” I answered quickly. “I have an oral exam tomorrow,” I sighed with a bit of relief to have a short break from the studying.
As the conversation continued, I got to know that this man moved from South America a few months ago with his family. When I found out that he was a Christian, I felt a desire to share the concerns of my heart.
“I believe God is calling me to leave my studies and fully live for Him, ” I started. “This is what I desire also, but now exams are coming up and I’m confused. I know I need to move on, but at the same time I ough to study. I’m afraid I’m going against God’s will in my life.”
“Sometimes God asks us to do something but He doesn’t expect us to do it right away,” the man pointed out. “It takes time to completely change the old way of life. You’re doing well by responding positively to God’s prompting in your heart.”
“I tend to be extreme, but that’s not God’s desire every time” I responded. It was good to hear this way of perspective and it made a lot of sense.
“Another worry I have is about how my parents will react,” I said without any desire to think about it. “They invested into me and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
“Well,” the man smiled. “My son quit his studies three times now. I’m not disappointed in him. I want him to find the road he wants to go and I will support him until he’s searching. I’m sure your parents will understand your choice.”
I was thankful I was able to share my concerns with a person who understood me. However, the conversation wasn’t finished.
“By the way, my name is Jesus,” the man announced proudly.
It took me by surprise. I knew that a lot of men have this name in Latin America. It was odd timing to meet one of those men.
Although, it wasn’t odd for God. He sent a man named Jesus who sat next to me and was able to comfort, assure, and direct me. It was an answer to the prayer I had the same morning.
My joy was inexpressible as I was cycling back home after saying goodbye to the man and thanking him for the conversation. Now I could dance in the sun as the leaves did. My heart filled with gratitude to the brim was singing songs to Him. I knew God cares for me much more than I realized. It was a meeting arranged by Him.
It gave me the strength to tell my parents about my desire to leave the studies. They understood and didn’t lose faith in me. I didn’t disappoint them nor lost their support.
After this event, I never met the man again. Who knows why? One is sure. It wasn’t a coincidence.
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