Saturday, 29 September 2012
THE WRONG STATION
In July, 1960, I was asked to appear for a job interview on a Thursday. The invitation reached me by telegram on the Sunday afternoon. Before that time, I had never travelled outside of the state of Kerala. Now, suddenly, I had to travel all the way to Bombay, 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) away. Not wanting to do it all alone, I hunted up the address of a schoolmate who had gone to Bombay a few years earlier. On my way to the railway station at Cochin Harbour Terminus, I stopped by a telegraph office and sent a telegram to my friend’s post office box.
Not until I purchased the ticket at Cochin did I realize that I would be reaching Bombay Victoria Terminus station- and not Bombay Central Station, which is where I had asked my schoolmate to meet me. As you can imagine, I prayed a great deal as I considered the long, three-day train ride ahead of me. I wondered how I would find a place to stay in Bombay when I finally arrived, since I had told my friend to meet me at the wrong railway station.
The more I tried to picture Bombay, and the more I recalled stories of newcomers being cheated in large cities, the more powerful my prayer became Since I was travelling in a “through compartment to Bombay,” the possibilities for finding help along the way were limited. Furthermore, I didn’t want strangers on the train to know I’d be alone at my final destination.
My parents and grandparents had taught me to pray for everything. Throughout my life, I had seen prayer work in the lives of at least a few people. So it was only natural for me to pray now. I prayed for protection while I was on the train and when I reached Bombay, and I prayed for the interview.
However, I began to grow fearful as we got closer to Bombay. In casual conversations with my fellow passengers, I tried to find out as much information about Bombay as possible-especially the way to find accommodation and to move around in the city.
I tried to figure out how to find the location of my friend’s post office box. But even if I found it, there would be no point in going there-he would hardly be standing at his post office box, waiting for me! Still prayer sustained me through my worries. When the train came to halt, I stepped down onto the platform at Victoria Terminus with great courage.
Suddenly I felt a man’s hand touch on my shoulder, and heard a voice asking, ‘How was the train trip?’ Amazed, I turned to see my friend holding my telegram in his hands! I thanked the Lord for hearing my prayer. I hadn’t even had to look around. My friend’s appearance had been perfectly timed.
“How did you know I would arrive at Victoria Terminus?” I asked.
My friend smiled. “It was really amazing, I changed my job a long time ago, so the post office box where you sent your telegram was my old office address. But this morning I felt like taking a half-day leave, and something inside prompted me to visit my old office. I had just arrived there when the receptionist handed me your telegram! It is said you were arriving today at Bombay Central station, but the time given was for the arrival of this train, which brings passengers from Kerala. So I thought I’d better come and look for you here first.’
I did not have to wonder who had prompted my friend to take a half-day’s leave that morning. Not who had prompted him to visit his old office without any special reason. The answer was clear: the One God who cares for us and watches over us had heard my prayers- and answered! My friend took me to get something to eat and made sure I could have a bath to clean up from the long journey. Then he set up accommodation for me with good friends, and even showed me the building , where I would go the next morning for the interview.
As I sank to bed that night, I was filled with wonder at the way everything had been arranged for me, a stranger who was so timid and fearful. Surely the One who knew my anxiety and fear wanted to show me His power. God is more concerned about my safety than I am. “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (1Peter 5:7).
I had been imagining all kinds of dangers and fearful situations. But the Bible says: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers’ (Philippians 4:6).
God not only hears our prayers, He also provides for us in wonderful ways. Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled…..trust in me” (John 14:1). There is no need to be worried and upset. We can believe the One who is always thinking about us. Sometimes God sends someone to meet your train right on time and saves you from worries and cares. Other times, God may delay the person and allow you to go through an anxious period. The choice is not ours. But I am happy with the choice of our sovereign God. I want to believe in and trust Him regardless of His choice.