4:30 and darkness ruled the afternoon. Naked tree branches chattered together as the winter wind poked them. Carolyn pulled the fleece-lined hood of her coat up as she forged each cold step toward home. A nice cup of tea and some quiet time would restore body and soul.
Ah, a silent warm house, the self-promised cup of tea with the cosiness of a favorite chair. “Now Lord, what jewels do you have for me in Your Word this evening?” Carolyn turned to John 10, the next planned chapter in her reading and prayerfully read about the Shepherd and His Flock. She stopped at ‘and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.’
“Father, I am listening. Do you have something to say to me, some direction you want me to take?” Silence, but she waited. She remembered something she had heard Him speak during chapel at Inglewood Bible College, that morning. “Make an appointment with Dr. Lincoln.” Just then, she heard the request repeated.
“But Lord, he’s a man and probably a conservative or the college wouldn’t invite him to speak. Do I need more chastisement about my ‘place’ as a woman?” Silence, then overwhelming peace and love flooded Carolyn’s heart. “Alright, Lord, I will make the appointment, though I haven’t a clue what to say to him, he seems such an intellectual.”
Picking up her Bible Carolyn read the passage again, a different phrase jumped off the page. ‘He goes on ahead of them.’ “Lord, thank you for the reminder. You have already prepared the way and the words for me.”
Three o’clock and Carolyn entered the faculty lounge to meet Dr. Lincoln at 3:30. Butterflies were performing an exquisite ballet in her stomach and she hoped her throat would open enough to speak. As she waited, she recognized an African seminary student when he burst into the room and began pacing. Dr. Lincoln was late; it appeared, for this student’s appointment. At 3:35 Dr. Lincoln, carrying a cup of tea, stepped quietly into the room. The seminary student rushed to introduce himself, stating, he must see Dr. Lincoln now as he was returning to Africa in a few days.
‘That’s it, no appointment for me,’ the thoughts dripped acid into Carolyn’s heart. Dr. Lincoln placed his free hand on the student’s shoulder and said, “I am so very sorry, I had to miss our appointment, but I can’t see you now, this lady is waiting for me.”
Carolyn could hardly believe what she heard, she must be wrong. But no, Dr. Lincoln was turning toward her, smiling and saying her name. Amazed but still feeling the butterfly ballet she followed him into an office. He did not sit behind the desk but gestured toward two chairs placed side-by-side.
“Miss Benson, may I share something about the exchange that happened just before we entered this room?”
“Yes, I would like to hear your perspective on that interaction.”
“Am I correct in assuming, that you expected me to cancel our appointment and meet with that seminary student, instead?”
A smile, sans butterflies, spread across Carolyn’s face. This man understood; he was safe.
“May I call you Carolyn, and would you tell me, the part of your story, God sent you here to share?”
For 20 minutes, Carolyn poured out the pain of loosing ministries and even jobs because she was a woman and ‘shouldn’t or couldn’t’ teach men. Also came the questions about certain scripture passages and references to people like, Dr. Gilbert Belzikian, Anne Graham Lotz and others.
When silence gently entered, Dr Lincoln let it reign, before saying, “You need to leave this school; they can not help you. Focus on scripture, yes. Encourage faith, yes. Prepare you for God’s call on your life, sorry, no.
Here’s the name and phone number of a friend of mine, a professor at Newtown University, who will help you. The University also offers a strong focus on scripture and personal faith but they can help you prepare for the path, I believe, God is opening for you. May I pray for you now?”
Dead leaves swirling about her feet, Carolyn stood in the courtyard. Did she have the faith to choose a radical path of light or would fear hold her in its cold darkness? “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me, they o hear my voice and follow ME . . .”
This is a fictionalized version of a true event.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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