Sleepless Nights That Were Beneficial
EVEN kings have sleepless nights. A powerful Persian ruler in the fifth century B.C.E., Ahasuerus, experienced one of them. Perhaps feeling that he had neglected some duty, he had the royal records read to him. He learned that a faithful servant, Mordecai, had thwarted an assassination plot but had not been rewarded. Ahasuerus determined to correct this oversight immediately. The beneficial effects of his actions on God’s people indicate that the king’s insomnia was divinely induced.—Esther 6:1-10.
The congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the South African coastal town of Hermanus has reason to remember this section of the Bible. They used to meet in a rented hall. For many years they had tried to purchase property to build their own Kingdom Hall. Eventually, in 1991, a prime site was offered by the Town Council.
However, some opposed the sale of this site to Jehovah’s Witnesses. After a delay of several months, the congregation was informed that a three-year moratorium had been placed on the sale of property to churches, and the offer of land was withdrawn. In May 1993 the congregation wrote again, asking the council to reconsider their decision. They received a one-sentence letter in reply, stating that the moratorium was still binding.
In October of that year, one of the town councillors had a sleepless night. She passed the time paging through old council minutes to see if any matters needed attention. The letter written by the Witnesses asking the council to reconsider its decision caught her attention. Thus she decided to place the matter on the agenda for their next meeting. She wanted to point out that Jehovah’s Witnesses had applied for land before the moratorium was placed on property for churches.
In due course the congregation was allocated the same property that had originally been offered to them in 1991! It is on the main road, easily accessible to congregation members and interested ones. They have built a fine Kingdom Hall, which was dedicated to Jehovah on October 5, 1996.
While the congregation regrets the councillor’s inconvenience of a sleepless night, she may be consoled by the fact that even King Ahasuerus had one. And the outcome in both cases was beneficial. The congregation at Hermanus is certainly most grateful to have their own Kingdom Hall, a center for pure worship and theocratic training in this popular coastal town.—Hebrews 10:24, 25.