Ahh..the physics library…no one is studying here! I had my pick up of numerous desks and tables and planted myself next to a window. The only other person in the library was another student, one whom I met in my Japanese class. Should be a quiet and productive evening.
When I was in college, each evening I rotated the libraries where I chose to study. Most evenings passed with nary a conversation with other students, but this evening was an exception.
“You’re Paul, right?” The lone student looked up from his desk as I attempted to pass by.
“Yes. You’re Jake?” He smiled and nodded. There was something about him that encouraged me to go beyond the usual pleasantries. “Are you a physics major?”
He shook his head. “No, econ. I’m on work-study so I’m the library monitor at this physics library.”
“Cool.” I surveyed the empty library. “Pretty easy job?”
He chuckled. “Yes. Hardly anyone comes in here at night! I get to study!”
“Me too!” I grinned. “Talk to you later!”
I found a nearby table and a few hours passed when I got up to stretch. As I passed Jake, I noticed he had completed his studying and was reading his Bible. Again, something inside prompted me to ask him a question.
“Reading the Bible?” stating the obvious.
Jake looked up. His expression indicated he was deep in thought, but he politely answered. “Yes. Are you a Christian?”
“No…I mean yes,” I stammered. “I believe all religions are paths to the same god.”
Nonplussed, he closed his Bible and said, “I see.” He again smiled. “Do you read the Bible?”
“Yes. But I read everything! The Bible. The Buddhist sutras. The Bhagavad Gita.” I smugly declared.
Choosing his words carefully he said, “That’s good, man. You should keep reading the Bible.”
“Yeah. Maybe I will.”
At that time in my life, I felt secure in my newly found religion. I was deeply involved in a group that believed all religions were paths to the same god. Thus, I readily accepted the religious scriptures and authoritative statements of all spiritual disciplines, willing to overlook the apparent contradictions. But I could not overlook my seemingly random encounter with Jake. Within a few weeks, we became close friends, taking our meals together. Within a few months, I was in his dorm room every Sunday evening, exploring and debating the claims of the Bible and Jesus Christ. Within a year, God changed my heart and I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”
1 Samuel 9:15-16 (ESV)
Just like my seemingly random encounter in a quiet university physics library with my brother in Jesus Christ whom God used to lead me to Him, God used a seemingly random search for missing donkeys to set into motion a series of events that led to the anointing of Israel’s first King. Saul was a handsome man from the tribe of Benjamin. One day, he was asked by his father to search for their missing donkeys. At the same time, God spoke to the prophet Samuel and revealed to him that he was sending Saul to him so that he could anoint him as the first king.
Random encounter? Coincidence?
Every event that occurs in our life has a purpose. If the reason or connection is not immediately evident, it does not mean there is no purpose. Sometimes God requires us to be patient, to grow and mature our faith in the process. In my life, within a year of a seemingly random encounter, God brought me into a loving relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
There are no coincidences with God. His Will is always done!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.