A Day to Remember

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A Day to Remember

 James R. Aist

We all have our “good days” and our “bad days.” Most days it seems to be a mixture of the two. And so it is with me, as well. However, there is one particular day in my life that stands out far above all the other good days I have had. This day came together for me in the Spring of 1971, while I was a Ph.D. student in Plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

As I was soon to graduate with a Ph.D., I had been busy preparing for the next logical steps in my career and my family. Applications for a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, had been sent in. Job applications had been made to a couple of prestigious institutions with strong programs in Plant Pathology. My wife and I were trying for our first baby, as I was soon to be earning a suitable salary to support a family. Of course, I didn’t know either if or when any of these aspirations would be realized, but I did my best to make them all happen in the near future. I was optimistic, as is my nature.

After several months of anxious waiting, the unbelievable became reality, all in one morning: first, I got a letter in the mail from the National Institutes of Health, and they offered me a full-ride Postdoctoral Fellowship for Switzerland; next, I got a phone call from the Chairman of the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University offering me a tenure-track faculty position that was literally tailor-made for me (I kid you not!) at a starting salary of $11,000 per year; and finally, my wife walked into my cubicle and announced that she was pregnant with our first child!

Well, needless to say, I was truly amazed, overwhelmed and rendered mentally useless for productive work the remainder of the day, so I shared the good news with my Major Professor and went home to bask in the avalanche of good news that God had blessed me with that morning. It was hard to believe, but it really was true.

However, there was still one potential “fly in the ointment” that had to be resolved before I could benefit fully from all these blessings: my job offer and my Postdoctoral Fellowship were both scheduled to begin in September of that year. So, I called the Department Chairman at Cornell and asked if I could go ahead and accept the Postdoctoral Fellowship and start my job at Cornell in September of 1972 instead of 1971. “Sure”, he said, “Go ahead and get your postdoctoral training in Zurich first, and we’ll hold your job for you in the meantime.” Wow, I was delighted that it was all going to work out just as I had hoped! But, this fairytale-like adventure didn’t end there. When I returned to the U.S. to assume my faculty position at Cornell, there was a letter in my mailbox from the Department Chairman stating that he was including me in the salary-increase program for the year I was in Zurich, and my new starting salary would be increased from $11,000 to $12,000 per year; I got a salary increase before I even started work at Cornell!

I truly am a blessed man, and I give God all of the praise and all of the glory for the favor that had to come my way in order for all this to happen as it did. And His timing is impeccable!

(To enjoy more of my short stories, click HERE)

God’s Perfect Timing

God’s Perfect Timing

A True Story by Angie Brown

Colleen finished the letter she was writing, folded it and slipped it into an envelope.  Nearby lay her purse.  She reached into it and pulled out nine one-dollar bills.  This was all the money she had earned in three weeks.  She was only 14 years old and had taken a job at the lake, working for a young family with two children.  Her job was to take care of the children and do some housework.  For these responsibilities, her wages were three dollars a week, plus room and board.  She was excited about this wonderful opportunity to earn a little money.

She counted the money again to make sure she had taken all of it from her purse.  “I never had so much money in all my life,” she said to herself.  “I could buy some new clothes for school, notebooks and maybe one of those erasers with the rough edges to erase ink.”  For a few moments she felt very rich, but then she remembered what she was really planning to do with the money.  Seven brothers and sisters at home were in need. She felt a burst of joy and satisfaction as she stuffed the money into the envelope with the letter and sealed it.  Then, with a sense of accomplishment, she put the letter in the mail.

A few days later, and many miles away, Colleen’s mother, Dessy, was in her kitchen checking the cupboard.  “If I had some flour and yeast, I could mix up some bread dough to bake,” she thought, “or a bone for soup; but payday is three days away.” “Tell me what to do, Lord” she prayed.

Then she walked out into the back yard and began taking the freshly dried laundry off the clothes line, still praying.  After filling her arms with a load of clothes, she walked back into the kitchen and heard the sound of footsteps on the front porch.  She laid the clothes down and walked to the front door, just as the mailman was leaving.  “Oh,” she said to herself, taking the mail out of the box, “a letter from Colleen.  I’m so glad she has this opportunity to work at the lake.”  Colleen and the two older children were a big help to her at this particular time.

As she opened the letter to read it, a bunch of bills fluttered out.  When she had read Colleen’s letter and counted the nine one-dollar bills, she exclaimed, “She…she has sent me all the wages she has earned!”  Dessy’s cheeks were drenched with tears as she thanked God over and over for answered prayer. So, with money in hand, she left immediately for the grocery store.

Later, when Colleen’s employer learned that she had risked sending cash in a letter, she was concerned.  “You know, you took a big chance sending the money that way”, she said. Colleen paused for a moment and then replied “Oh, I knew it would get there. It was needed at home.”

Isn’t that a beautiful example of how God answers prayer and provides for the needs of His own people? And just in time, too!  His timing is perfect, isn’t it?

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)