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Jacob replayed in his mind what Rachel had said after praying the night before. You’re going to marry my sister. Not exactly the answer he was expecting, but not surprising.
He spent the following day trying to concentrate on his new job and failing miserably. So far, he’d watched countless training videos, poured over schematics and hydrology maps, and read textbook-style material that was a recap of what he’d already learned about the Southeastern Anatolia Project. The history, the strategic goals, the effects on society, the economic development. He wished they would just give him a test on the material and let him get to work.
He’d been hired to participate on the project for regulation of water in irrigation canals and methods and technologies for water saving. With so many facets of society needing diversion of water, there was a strong focus on reuse of irrigation discharge water, protecting the soil from erosion, and micro-catchment rehabilitation.
As excited as Jacob was to be taken on tours of the dams and hydroelectric power stations dotted throughout the Tigris and Euphrates River basins, and to get started with strategic planning of seventeen thousand acres of land, all he could think about were Rachel’s words from the night before.
You’re going to marry my sister.
How could she possibly know that? Jacob didn’t usually question God’s direction, but he’d been too stunned to even ask God about Rachel’s vision.
Marry Leah? He shrugged. The idea wasn’t unappealing. He really enjoyed Leah’s company. But he’d been so focused on his budding relationship with Rachel that marrying her twin sister hadn’t even occurred to him. At least not since they’d made a joke in the elevator about which one of them was willing to give birth to thirteen children.
Jacob stood suddenly from his desk, startling one of his co-workers. “I need to take an early break. Is there someplace I could go for a walk or sit in a solarium or something?”
“Uh, sure.” His co-worker and new friend Emre stood and approached Jacob. “I’ll show you the indoor gardens. There’s a path you can walk and sitting areas for contemplation and reflection. Do you need a prayer mat or anything?” Emre glanced at his watch with a creased brow. If Jacob was Muslim, this would not have been considered a time for devotions.
“That won’t be necessary, but thank you. I just need to be alone.” Jacob followed his new friend, grateful that he’d found someone who recognized the panic in his countenance.
As they approached the indoor garden and Emre opened the door, Jacob felt the comfort of moist heat replacing the air-conditioned building and took a deep breath.
“Is there any other way I can be of assistance?” Emre asked.
“Could you point me in the direction of the farthest corner away from where I might be disturbed from my meditation?”
“Yes, follow the path to the right.” Emre pointed.
As if a virtual-reality overlay had draped across the garden, Jacob saw that at the end of the path there was a little bench that would be perfect for a heart-to-heart with God. “Thank you,” Jacob mumbled as he strode with purpose down the path.
Before he even reached the end of the brick pathway, he started talking out loud, hoping there was no one else nearby. He hadn’t seen a soul since entering the garden. “God, what is going on? I’m terribly confused, and that’s not a normal feeling for me. You have been showing me where to go and what to do for so many years that I’m not even sure how to make my own decisions anymore. Have I relied on you too much?”
He stopped talking as he approached the bench and sat down hard, staring off into the tall plants and grasses but hearing nothing. His impatience was disconcerting.
Finally, he rose from the bench and lowered to his knees, wishing he’d accepted the proffered prayer mat. He’d have to remember that for the future. Maybe a little pain in his knees was something helpful in order to hear God’s whisperings. He remembered the teachings of his youth. Weaken the body to strengthen the spirit. He needed influences from God’s Spirit right now and was willing to do just about anything to receive his guidance.
“God, I’m sorry for my frustration and confusion,” Jacob started again, then fought a catch in his throat, fearing an onslaught of tears as he wrestled with God. God always won. Why did he even try? “I will be patient. I will wait as long as you need me to wait. I will do what you want me to do and go where you want me to go. Have I not done so thus far?”
You have, my son.
“Oh, thank you, God. Forgive me of my fear and doubt. I need you. I can’t do this without you.”
You are never alone.
Jacob lost his control at that declaration and sobbed, laying his forehead onto his adjoined hands. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
There is work to be done.
“Here am I, Father. What would you have me do?”
You already know what you need to do.
“That can’t be, Father.”
Are you questioning my direction after you have just promised to follow me?
“Forgive me, Father. This has never been done before.”
You have never been more wrong, my son.
Jacob sat back on his heels, staring off into the corner of the indoor garden. But instead of plants and glass enclosures and the desert beyond, he saw concourses of people as far as his eyes could see.
When I am ready to build up my kingdom, I always provide a way.
“How would you have me assist in your plan, father?”
Line upon line, precept upon precept, my son. You will be shown the proper order as each task presents itself. I have faith in you. Now go, and doubt not further. There is work to be done.
“Thank you, Father.” Jacob received no other directions as he sat on his knees, seeing only plants and a glass enclosure protecting him from the blazing desert beyond.
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