Benches and Promptings

Earlier this summer, I wrote about benches. And last week, I wrote about promptings by 289-1127_recycled_plastic_park_bench_big.jpgthe Holy Spirit. My thoughts in those two posts literally converged this past week while at a conference for campus ministry students and staff.

On Sunday, I was feeling under spiritual attack, so I skipped the workshops that morning to take a walk and pray. I walked around the campus on which we were staying and, after walking for awhile, I found a bench in the shade under a tree. I sat down and was thanking the Lord and worshipping him. I was playing a worship song and had my eyes closed when I suddenly felt someone sit down next to me. In that moment, I was sure it was my wife. I opened my eyes and glanced to my left to see a college student unknown to me sitting there.

With the music still playing, I said hello and introduced myself. After a couple of minutes of chitchatting, I asked him what prompted him to come over and sit on our bench. He said he had gotten turned around on his way to a workshop and, as he was walking along, he saw me and felt prompted to come over and sit down. The question I had in my mind was, “what purpose did the Lord have in this?”

I began to ask questions about where he went to school and his major. Those questions prompted a sharing of his personal history and the arduous path he had been on. Then he said, “I just wish God would have said “Go here,’ and that would be it. It would have been so much easier that way.” There it was. I knew why the Lord had sent this young man my way. I shared with him that if God had made it very easy, he would have merely embraced it and ran with it. The growth of his faith, however, would have likely remained stagnant. The Lord’s purpose, I told him, was to prepare him for eternity, to build up within him a solid trust and faith in him, and that the only way that happens is if we are placed in positions where we have to trust and rely on God.

We said very little after that and it seemed it was time for both of us to part, and so we did. I don’t know how the young man felt, but I felt the interaction was prompted by the Lord.

Two days later, I was having a conversation with another colleague whom I have known for many years. Because it was closing, we were asked to leave the coffee shop where we were sitting. We headed outside and he said he had something he wanted to tell me, but he really needed to use the toilet first. So outside the building was a bench and I sat down to wait on him. When he returned and began to speak, he was obviously a little nervous. He shared about a situation in which we were both involved and how he was convicted recently by how he had handled it. He confessed jealousy and pride, and asked for my forgiveness, which I was very willing to do. It had been nearly 12 years since the offense had occurred. I have no doubt this man was responding to the promptings of the Spirit, and, for my sake, I have no doubt the Lord was behind where he confessed. It was only a few hours later that I taught a workshop on “Finding a Bench.”

I am continually amazed at how the Lord often works. He is not distant. He does not stand aloof from us. Every moment he is invested in our lives, including both the very big things and the small, seemingly insignificant ones. He is an awesome God and I am so thankful that I experienced him this week sitting on two different benches.

© Jim Musser 2019

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