“Check.” Jacob moved his queen into position, knowing he wouldn’t hold the lead for long. His father was a prior grand master and didn’t get beat at chess very often. Still, Jacob never passed up the opportunity to play against the best. “I’ve prayed about this father, and I know Harran is where God wants me.”
“It’s a fourteen-hour drive, son.” Isaac moved a pawn to block Jacob’s queen. “Your mother would be devastated if you weren’t home for holidays.”
“I’m twenty-five years old, dad. I can drive fourteen hours easy.” Attending college right here in Jacob’s hometown of Be’er Sheva had been a blessing. The Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies was practically walking distance from his parents’ stately home. “Plus, I could always make it a two-day trip and stop to see grandfather in Bethel, or Uncle Bethuel in Nablus. I haven’t seen him in years.”
“You know, I think his son, Laban lives in the Paddan Aram area.” Isaac glanced up with an optimistic smile. “I’ll have to ask your mother if she has his phone number or address. I think he’s got some kids your age.”
“That would be nice.” Jacob took a nervous breath. “The region is so desolate. I was worried I wouldn’t have anyone to hang out with.”
“Of all the places in the world, why on earth would you want to move to Turkey?”
“Harran is practically on the Syrian border,” Jacob reasoned, as if that was any less bleak. “It’s only a four-hour drive to Dortyol and you know how I love the Mediterranean Sea. I could visit Cyprus. I’ve always wanted to go see Mount Olympos. Besides, this is a great job opportunity, dad. My master’s degree isn’t meant to be just a piece of paper on the wall.”
“I paid good money for that piece of paper on your wall.” Isaac scowled. As a wealthy landowner and businessman, his father never understood why Jacob wanted to earn a degree in Desert Studies with a concentration on Biotechnology of Drylands.
“The regional development project has revolutionized sustainable agriculture in that area and we’re finally able to irrigate the plains surrounding Harran to grow cotton and rice. It’s a blessing for that barren region. With my degree, I’m the perfect man for this job. They need me.”
Isaac sat back and folded his arms across his chest, the game temporarily suspended as Jacob squirmed under his father’s critical observation.
There was one more point Jacob needed to make, and he didn’t want his dad to think this was the only reason he was moving up to Harran, but it was one very big reason. “Plus… I’m pretty sure I’m going to meet my wife there.”
“Your… wife? What makes you think that?” Isaac raised his eyebrows.
“Another dream,” Jacob mumbled, waiting for the scrutiny. He rarely mentioned his dreams because people looked at him like he was a kooky visionary.
“What kind of dream are you talking about, son? The kind where you wake up feeling like you need a cold shower? Or the kind where you wake up feeling like God’s trying to tell you something?” His father was one of the few people who actually believed Jacob when he said he received messages from God.
“I’m an adult, dad. What do you think?”
“I think… God must need you in Harran.” Finally. Acceptance from his father. Of all the successes in life, achieving acceptance from one’s father is the most treasured.
“Thanks Dad,” Jacob choked out through a sudden lump in his throat.
“One other thing…” Isaac sat forward again and reached for his king. “Checkmate.”
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