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I went to a funeral on Saturday.
It was the funeral of a man I have known since a I was a baby. He was a dear friend of my parents, from their college days. He was a kind man, quiet, but brilliant, with a delightful sense of humor. If ever a man lived with a twinkle in his eye, this was that man. His thoughtfulness and attention to detail manifested itself in the giving of gifts tailor-made for the recipient: once he found out you liked something, he looked for ways to surprise you with that special something. He lived a long and extremely fruitful, productive life. His children and his grandchildren actually did rise up and call him blessed. They told stories that did honor to the memory of their father, grandfather, and friend.
I can honestly say that this man, because of his love for the Lord and the beautiful way that he parented, had a huge impact on my life, although I bet he never knew it.
I’ve spent the last few days really thinking about that influence, literally charting out the path of my life in a diagram, realizing that strangely enough, this man had a lot to do with me being where I am today: sitting in front of my computer in the Boonies, a homeschool mom, typing this blog, working on becoming a writer. You’d have to be really interested in me in a stalkerish kind of way for me to take the time to map it out for you.
And neither one of us wants that. 😀
But I will say that I have a renewed sense of destiny this morning. And looking closely, I think I might be tracing out a bit of the providential hand of God on my life.
This good man’s daughter told this story about her father at the funeral, and I think it kind alludes to what I’m driving at:
When he was a very young man, near the beginning of World War II, he attended a pro-baseball game, and as he was entering the stadium, he silently whispered a prayer that he might be able to catch a ball at some point during the game. And then, he waited to see how God might answer that prayer.
Near the end of the game, a player hit the ball, and it was headed straight for him, almost as if his name was on it. He stood up and reached for the ball, but it bounced off his hand, and fell on the floor next to him. The uniformed serviceman he was with reached down and recovered it.
Now, the practice back then was for the team to send a boy up to recover any lost balls, but when the ball retriever saw that a U.S. serviceman had recovered the ball, he smiled, and told him to keep it. And then the serviceman turned and handed the ball back to the young hero of our story.
And the point was, that sometimes, we experience great disappointment in our lives. The young boy saw his dream of catching a ball quite literally bounce off his fingertips and be dashed to the ground. But God had heard his prayer, and cared enough about building this young man’s faith, that He allowed him to receive his dream in a bigger and better way, albeit a different way than the young man had imagined it. He got to KEEP the ball, which never would have happened had he caught it.
How does this apply to me? And maybe to you?
As circumstances arise in your life that aren’t according to “the plan” that you’ve imagined, (and maybe you’ve got some of those going on right now?), could you be open enough to the providential hand of God working something different, but maybe potentially better for you? Could you have that mustard seed of faith in the love of your Father in heaven to imagine that He really is interested in the good of His children? In YOUR good? Could you be open to the possibility that He is still active on your behalf, although at present, you cannot see it?
I know: sometimes the “good” that He is working in us is just that we are being conformed to the image of Christ, and sometimes that means suffering, and that is a place that few of us welcome with open hands. I tend to take that road kicking and screaming, in fact.
But I will say that the simple trusting faith of this good man has shaped my life in quite subtle but profound ways, and in examining the effects, I have a renewed sense of the providential Hand of the One who loves me, and who loves you, guiding our destiny.
So, what about you? Do you sense destiny or design in your life?