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Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Waiting Heart

During my third year of university, the mighty move of the Holy Spirit was in evidence all over university and college campuses in the United States. Seeing two students kneeling in prayer just about anywhere on campus became so commonplace that no one seemed to notice. Whether sitting in the open air on a bench, heads bowed and hands joined; or kneeling on a patch of grass just off the sidewalk, students everywhere were being introduced to Jesus. Many people said that the conversions of the “Jesus Movement” wouldn’t last, but I’ve met a lot of students who came to the Lord at that time and are serving the Lord well into their sixties so I‘m sure the experience was a genuine life-changing one for many students.

I longed to have the boldness to openly speak of my new-found faith with strangers. I had no trouble sharing what Jesus had done in my life, whenever someone asked; but to initiate the conversation was something else again entirely. I just choked.

Then, a Bible teacher came to our church and encouraged us to just be willing. He said that God would give us the opportunity, if we really did want it. The speaker challenged us to step out and ask God to position someone in our path so that it was obvious he wanted us to share the Gospel with them. All we had to do was ask. So, I did and here’s what happened!

“Hi, how’s it going?” The student sat on the plush, green grass, an open book on her lap. It didn’t appear to me that she was actually reading it. Perhaps, she was worrying over something, and this would be the moment the Lord would let me tell her about the One who could help her? I started to sit down, but didn’t get both knees on the grass before her response reversed my direction.

“Are you one of those Jesus freaks? I’m not interested, and I mean it. Just leave me alone, will you?” I was still hopeful, though standing, because she so obviously needed Jesus to cheer her up.

“Uh, well, I’m a Christian but I don’t want to bother you. I just thought, if you are alone, you might like to talk with someone. Guess I was wrong, huh?”

“Just leave; I’m waiting for someone, and if you are here, he might not come over.”

Of course, it was the sitting alone, waiting for Mr. Right to notice me scenario. Hmm, her crabbiness may not be so much a sign of serious worries after all.

Okay, this day was not going as planned—beginning with that early breakfast. For once, I’d gone to the Dining Room, in case my person might be there. Eating slowly, I surveyed the steady stream of kids wolfing down their meal. Trying to catch a glimpse of some soul eager to hear me out, I barely touched my own food. I wasn’t discouraged when I had to scrape off my half-eaten scrambled eggs, and head for my first class; there was still plenty of time.

At the conclusion of English 350, and every class that morning, I lingered a little, just in case. No one was obvious to me as that “Divine appointment.” The frustrated girl on the lawn had been my prospective candidate during the lunch break. The morning’s unsuccessful strategy--glancing around for anyone who might be looking at me in some special way—bombed out. Perhaps, this subtle approach lacked something; I determined to actually strike up a conversation with someone over lunch. This co-ed was not interested in conversing with me; that was painfully evident. Perhaps, my approach was now too aggressive.

As I left the beautifully manicured lawn of The Oval, anxiety began to squeeze my heart. With most of my afternoon consumed by chemistry labs, I had only one hour remaining. Since we were not allowed to talk during the lab, it was not likely my person would be found there. Well, never mind, God would show me my Divine appointment.

 

“Hey, was the food that bad tonight?” The huge grin on the red-headed Work-Study student wiping the table next to me did not put a smile on my face; the day was so nearly over. Darkness was falling.

“It’s been a really hard day,” I said, still pushing the mystery meat around with my fork.

I had been so hopeful; but, alas, I had to face the truth. The Dining Room was completely empty, save for the student who cleaned up after the messy upperclassmen and me. I lifted my tray so she could swipe her chlorinated cloth under it.

“And, they just had to pick tonight to serve mystery meat for supper. Bummer.” A very slight grin escaped the corners of my mouth, which made her laugh with glee. She tossed down her wet rag and, pulling out a chair, sat down across from me. “So, what’s the deal? Boyfriend problems? Prof just doesn’t understand that a dog really can eat homework?”

“Oh, I wish. No, it’s worse than that.” Well, Little Miss Smiley Face just would not be depressed with me, neither was she going to leave the table until I told her my sad tale. “I have been looking all day; now, the day is over and I never found my person. The conference speaker last night told us that, if we would but ask the Lord, God would give us someone with whom we could share what Jesus had done in our lives. I asked God this morning, and even asked Him for the courage to do it. Ha, it was all for nothing. I spent the whole day looking, and practicing what I would say. Maybe I should try again when I can get to supper sooner. I may have missed my person.”

“Well, I’m here. Maybe, I’m your person.”

“No, that’s okay, really. You need to get home. I’m okay.”

Looking up, I saw the tears in her eyes trickle down her cheeks. She was no longer smiling.

“I’m not kidding. Maybe, I am your person. Won’t you tell me about Jesus?”

Tears filled my own eyes as I realized just how faithful God always is. God had let me go off, doing things my way and stressing out; but when I gave up, God moved in to prove Himself faithful. What a marvelous time of sharing I had with my fellow-student. Truly, she had never heard the Gospel message, and had no idea that God cared about our lives. How sweet her prayer to Jesus that evening, right there in the cafeteria!

I left the Dining Room that evening with a new sister-in-Christ, and the joy that passes all understanding. “My God, how great thou art!” is not just a song; it’s the truth!

****Jesus really does love you and cares that you know!

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