How God Used My Miscalculation, an Awkward Prophecy, and a Crowded Capital
I’m going to tell you 3 stories. Hang with me until the end, and you will see 1) how they fit together, and 2) why you can trust God.
Story #1 – A Miscalculation
I went to high school at the Rift Valley Technical & Secondary School (RVTS) in Eldoret, Kenya. Students who were admitted to this school were privileged to pick a trade during their 2nd year that they were to specialize in during the junior (3rd) and senior (4th) year and hopefully pursue it at the college level. The school offered engineering trades such as mechanical, automotive, and welding.
However, RVTS did not offer agricultural engineering. When I had enrolled at RVTS, my eyes were set on mechanical engineering. During my second year, I developed an interest in agriculture and I went crazy with it. Again, RVTS did not offer it, but I gathered from the trade counselor that some schools like Nyeri Technical & Secondary School (now Nyeri Technical Institute) were offering it and that I could transfer to the school if I really wanted to pursue agricultural engineering.
There was no time to waste.
So, come the third term of my second year, I sought the transfer and was scheduled to report for the start of my third junior year. My teachers and schoolmates thought I was crazy for transferring to a less notable school over 300 km away. But I wanted to study agricultural engineering.
Upon enrollment at my new school, however, I learned that even though the school hoped to offer agricultural engineering that year, it was simply not going to be possible until a year later. Frustrated, I decided to pursue my first like—mechanical engineering. There had been no reason whatsoever for leaving RVTS—or so I thought.
Story #2 – An Awkward Prophecy
When I arrived in Nyeri, I found myself after enrollment sitting in the dorm, cold and bored. I decided to get some sunshine. I found myself aimlessly strolling toward the main entrance to the school. I paused by the gate, watching the stream of incoming students. Unconsciously, I kept hanging around the gate like a gatekeeper. As I sat there, I noticed an older man walk up the hill leading to the gate. A female student in a school uniform followed carrying a suitcase.
He came up to me and I thought he wanted directions to the enrollment office. As a sign of respect, I stood up and had already purposed in my heart to escort them to the place. I was only half right. The man, clad in a brown coat, a matching pair of trousers, and a hat looked me in the eye and asked: “Young man, what is your name?”
I responded, “Muhota” (my last name).
Then the man quipped: “Aha! You have conquered!”
In utter confusion, I offered a smile that was indicative to the man that I did not get the joke. Although I did not know it at the time, he was doing word play with my name: Muhota means a victor or conqueror.
So, the man continued, “Can’t you see! You have conquered! Here, I bring you a girl. Will you take care of her?”
For a minute, I froze, not knowing what to make of the encounter or how to respond. Naively, I replied, “I will try,” looking at his daughter in the hope our eyes could meet but she looked down. He then asked me to take them to the enrollment office.
As I escorted them to the enrollment office, the man sought to know what year (grade) I was. “Third year transfer student,” I said. His daughter gave me a quick look as if to say, “Are you kidding me?” The father disclosed to me that his daughter was equally a third year transfer student from Githunguri Secondary School. At the same time as I was seeking a third year transfer far from my home, she was seeking a third year transfer far from her home.
Story #3 – A Crowded Capital
After high school, I desired to gain admittance into the Kenya Polytechnic University in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. Actually, there were two desires heavy on my heart. One was to be accepted at the university. The other was that I might get to see a dear friend of mine from high school. The problem was, since high school, I did not know where my friend was living or how to get in contact with my friend.
In Nairobi, after submitting my application, I decided to take a stroll in the city waiting to catch the five o’clock evening train back home. I was walking along the ever busy and crowded Aga Khan walk that connects Harambee Avenue and Hilton Hotel.
Then, the unimaginable happened!
As I fought my way through human traffic, I lifted my eyes and some meters away from me, I spotted a lady who looked like her. I freaked out and stopped right where I was, like one frozen, my eyes firmly fixed on her. Then she too spotted me and our eyes met.
I hastened toward her and she opened her arms to receive me. We hugged, tears streaming from both of us.
And in the Center, God
Back at the Nyeri Technical School, the older man had unknowingly prophesied on me: “Here, I bring you a girl. Will you take care of her?” As I found out shortly, her name was Joy. As it turned out, we were both Christians and both became involved in the Christian Union at school. We became dear friends, and though we never dated at the time, it was clear to both of us that we loved each other.
However, at graduation, we both went our separate ways, without any way to know where the other would live or how to contact each other.
All the while, I felt an increasingly deep longing to see her—although by now for all I knew she could be engaged or married to somebody. I prayed against that idea and kept asking God to make a way for us to see each other again. If He was the reason we had met at Nyeri, then He could bring us together again. I was convinced she was the love of my life and I needed to meet her again.
So when I saw Joy in the crowd at Nairobi, my first question after our very first hug was, “Are you married?” to which she quickly responded, “No!” I let out a sigh of relief! We then left for a cafe where we had our first meal together. For the very first time, I confessed my love for her and desire to marry her if she accepted me. We decided to begin praying over our relationship before engagement and exchanged contacts just to make sure we were not going to lose one another again. Later in the day, she escorted me to the train station where we tearfully bid each other goodbye.
Remember the man who walked to me at the school gate in Nyeri with his daughter and joked, “Here, I bring you a girl?” Well, on Dec. 6, 1986, he and his wife walked their daughter Joy down the aisle to marry me. She has been my beloved wife ever since.
Often times, we worry about everything, from whom we will marry, to whether we will have children and how many, to whether we will have a lot of money, etc. These experiences I have just shared have taught me that we ought to not worry about anything. Instead, we need to learn how to rest in God.
Remember Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?
Matthew devoted nine verses covering Christ’s admonition for His followers to not worry about life (Matthew 6:25-34), but instead to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness” saying that all other things would be provided by the Father. Jesus used the words “worry/worrying” five times in those nine verses and urged His listeners to consider the birds of the air, that “they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (v. 26). He reminded those of us who believe in God that we are much more valuable than the birds.
This was not mere talk from Jesus. As with Jeremiah, God knew you and me even before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs, and He will take care of us. However, God often works behind the scenes and not on our timetable or schedule. Behold that even when I did not harbor the least thoughts about my marriage partner, God was lining up everything for it. Pretty amazing!
(Excerpted from Stephen Muhota, Trials into Triumph, 2017, p. 7-12. Used with Permission.)