When we help someone without expecting anything in return, we often forget both the recipient and the gift. But God does not forget, and fulfils—at just the right time—the promise found in the verse that provides the title of this article. He did the same in my case.
After graduating from college, in 1968, and choosing a scientific career in the Romanian Academy, I had to move from my home city of Ploiești and live in the capital, Bucharest. For a poor graduate such as myself, the problem of finding housing was difficult given my minimal trainee’s salary. To supplement my income, I began tutoring children for college admission. I was quite successful and eventually hundreds of children passed through my house over the decades, because I never made this business a business. I tutored the children of friends, colleagues, who then recommended me to others, who appreciated the much lower rate compared to other tutors and the fact that I worked individually with each student. When I met poor children who wanted to learn, I tutored them for free and I was happy to help them in other ways. I was a very poor child myself and I knew what it meant not to have clothes, school supplies or money for books.
About 40 years ago I met a family at the beach, a mother with two children. While chatting with them, it emerged that her son, a well-mannered and delicate child, had finished high school somewhere in the province and wanted to be admitted to a good college at the Academy for Economic Studies in Bucharest. At that time, admission was extremely difficult, conditioned by a thorough examination where competition was quite high. His mother, a simple woman but a fighter for her children’s future, regretted that her son had no money for tutoring classes and that it would be difficult for him to be admitted to college.
It made me remember that I, too, used to be a child without material resources, struggling to maintain my scholarship, without which I could not have continued to stay in college. I decided to help him for free. It was a great joy for both him and his mother.
It was such a great pleasure to work with this intelligent, serious, conscientious, obedient young man and I treated him like my own child. It made me happy when he got into college. We kept in touch, but our catching up faded in frequency until the last time we met by chance in Bucharest in 1993.
In the fall of 2018, due to my degenerative rheumatic disease, I ended up on crutches and even in a wheelchair. It was very difficult for me to manage on my own, because with my only able hand I had to hold the crutch, and I couldn’t even lift a glass of water with my other hand. I urgently needed help. My sister, a wonderful girl woman has a family in our home city, offered to help me and lived with me for a few months.
One day, while working on the computer, my sister saw in a TV news bulletin a government meeting attended by a gentleman whose name was the same as the young man I had tutored. He was Secretary General of the Ministry of Education. She had known him, too, from our first meeting at the beach. I thought it probably was a mere coincidence and initially refused her advice to look for him. At my sister’s insistence, I agreed.
I found his mobile phone number on the ministry’s website, called and just said, “Hello, this is Steliana Sandu.” There was an explosion of joy at the other end of the line, after so many years in which we hadn’t heard from each other.
Hearing that my health was not good, he visited me the same evening and we talked for hours. He was concerned about my health and, through his relationship with the manager of a rehabilitation hospital in Bucharest, which is also a research centre subordinated to the Ministry of Education, he managed to have me hospitalized, despite hospitalizations needing to be scheduled due to limited places. After two weeks of treatment, I went home without crutches.
For an even better recovery, I was recommended to go to the Techirghiol Sanatorium over the summer. There were no places available for booking, but his interventions with the manager of that sanatorium helped me to benefit from the advantages of high quality services and to regain the mobility of my right knee. Since then, we have been in constant contact, because the young man of yesteryear, even if he is now a senior civil servant, considers me a kind of mother (his good mother has passed away).
The apostle Paul tells us “not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). It would be good to make this exhortation a feature our lives, because God does not grow tired of giving us His blessings at the right time, through people who once benefited from our help.