Late Night Visitors

By: Lelia Fry
Friday, September 10th, 2010

I’m a full-time Biblical Studies Ph.D. student in the School of Theology at the University of Toronto, and I live on campus in downtown Toronto in a dorm style grad residence. One night towards the end of the semester, I was washing my face at the common washroom sink getting ready to head to bed after a long day of paper writing, reading, and everything else that fills up the life of a full-time student. Rest was only a few minutes away and I grinned peacefully at the thought of being cozily wrapped up in my bed very soon. Hearing the door open, I looked up to see one of the international student residents standing by the sink, clearly waiting for me to finish. When I greeted her, she said she was looking for me and asked if I was busy. You usually know what’s coming after that. She wondered if I would be willing to read over a paper she’d been working on that was due the next morning.

My reaction? I raised my eyebrows just a little, not to her request but as a question: “Lord, are You kidding?”

The girl must have seen the eyebrows. She quickly added a few details and said that an hour of my time would help so much.

I continued my silent petition: “Lord, You know what today has been like. You know I have my own paper due in a few days and it’s not ready.” I was in a position all to well known to many students. The past weeks had been filled with reading, writing, reading some more, processing, and I still had not quite reached the “ah-haa” moment where everything finally comes together. And that day, the stress of the impending deadline had really taken a toll. My time was running out.

The response came back as another question: “Which is more important?”

“But Lord, You know all the things I have on my plate for tomorrow. My mind needs to be sharp. That means sleep, right?”

And then the reply: “Do you trust Me?”

I looked at the girl standing just a few feet away from me. She was a little disheveled, clearly tired. Her voice was laden with stress. I’m well enough acquainted with her to know that she would not ask this favor unless she really was desperate. I looked in her face and could see that a reply of “no” stood a good chance of being met with tears. There were no more questions. The answer was “yes.”

The next three hours were spent going over this paper with the girl. It was in a totally foreign discipline—the political structure of a south Asian country. Although I felt incompetent in the subject matter, I was able to connect with her and help her with English grammar. More importantly, because I carry the Holy Spirit of God within me, Christ was able to connect with this precious human being for a few hours. Was it worth it? The answer is, hands down, yes!

After that night, I had little opportunity for interaction with the girl. I left for home a few days later and she moved to another country shortly thereafter, but I know that the simple act of offering her my time made an impact. I could see it in the way she relaxed and started asking me questions about my church as we read through her paper—she felt welcome. I could see it in her face when she left after several hours. The same face that promised tears hours earlier now held more peace and confidence—she felt safe. The next day, she found me in the hall and handed me a gift, thanking me not for my help but for my time.

I also learned a valuable lesson that night and in the days following. God has called me to pursue this education in this place, but that’s not the only thing I am here to do. He had plans to minister to the young woman that night and since I chose to listen to and obey His Spirit, I got to be a part of that. What’s more, I was given the opportunity to trust God to come through for me too. And He certainly did! The next day, I continued to work on my paper, armed with a renewed sense of trust and peace, and soon everything came together in the sought-after “ah-haa” moment.

So I pose the same questions to you that He asked me: Which is more important, friend? Do you trust Him?

Lelia Fry
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