I've heard many people in my position complain and worry about finding a job, but I am not doing that. I am not worried. I know that the Lord has a job out there that is perfect for me and he is preparing me for it, and it for me. The thing that gets me is that it is taking a long time. I am not the most patient person, and God knows this, thus why He is teaching me a lesson of patience these past 8 months. I’m not worried about finding a job, I'm just tired of waiting. But ultimately, I know that His timing is perfect.
So, to avoid going crazy from sitting at home all day, I tend to visit local coffee shops occasionally. Wait, I take that back. I tend to visit local coffee shops EVERY DAY! With me, I have my bag filled with my computer, several books, and my Bible. I usually spend several hours on end at these coffee shops either reading, looking for jobs, or working on topical Bible studies. I tend to concentrate better away from home and I am more productive as well. I think its the change in scenery.
The main coffee shop I go to is Starbucks, yes, I know, cliché as all get out, but whatever. Being a frequent customer at this place, I have gotten to know some of the baristas and even more of the other regulars. Its a bit like the old TV show Cheers.
In Starbucks there is my friend Pierre, who is very smart and is always reading about some old dead white British Christian or Theologian. You also have Ozzy, who is a man in his early 80's who was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Bronx who loves to talk about the Lord. I always smile when I see his truck in the parking lot, which has a large sticker on the tailgate with a bible verse on it. In the evenings you have the former MSU Track and Cross Country star Renee. She is now a science teacher at my old high school. Her husband is in seminary and is working part time as a youth minister. They just had their first child. She too has a blog. It is amazing and encouraging. I urge you to check it out here. There is also a pair of foreign guys who always wear scarves and can be identified by their strong and liberal usage of cologne, a few 20-something-year-olds playing World of Warcraft, and a guy who sits outside and leeches off of the store's Wi-Fi. And last but not least you have Forrest. Forrest was my French professor last summer. He is currently working on his PhD while teaching both French and Spanish at MSU. I swear, whichever coffee shop I go to, Forrest is usually there. I'm beginning to wonder if he is omnipresent. I hear him downstairs right now as I am writing this in the loft of another coffee shop, StrangeBrew.
I've gotten to know Forrest quite well in the past months talking to him at all the different coffee shops. He is a very delightful fellow. Today I was talking to him and as I got up to leave, he stopped me and said "Look man, I know I was your teacher and all, but you have taught me a lot. I’ve learned a lot from you." This kind of took me by surprise. We have discussed many things: from alcohol, his thesis, my job search, to things like theology and God. Who knows which one of those he learned from, but regardless, it is always nice to know that God can use you to have an impact on people. He went on to say: "I know your life isn't that clear right now, what with the job search and all, but I know that there is one out there for you. Maybe its just not ready for you yet, like its not opened, or things just haven't lined up yet. So don't worry." I told him that he is exactly right. God has a place for me, and His timing is perfect, Im just so doggone impatient. I explained that for some unknown reason, God has me still here in Starkville. I jokingly suggested that maybe God wants me to just talk to people in coffee shops for months on end. Forrest chimed in, "Have you ever thought that maybe you're here for just ONE person? I don't mean all the scores of guys you meet with in here, but just ONE person?" I paused and thought about it. That thought has crossed my mind from time to time. I told him that he might be onto something there. If the Lord wanted here all these months to talk to people, if something I said was able to help one person, or share God's truth with one person, or encourage one person, that would be worth it. If the Lord could use me to change one person's life, then all this waiting would totally be worth it. It reminded me of several verses.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone."
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
Encouragement. That’s pretty much what the Christian Life is all about. Building up one another, helping those in need, sharing the good news of Christ with those who do not know. And as Forrest suggested, if I was stuck here in Starkville for all these months for the purpose of encouraging just ONE person, that would be totally worth it. We don’t always know what God is doing while we are waiting on Him. The best thing to do is to continue to trust Him. Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway. I have no doubt that the Lord used Forrest to speak those words of encouragement to me, it was exactly what I needed to hear today.