Wednesday, January 2, 2008

the arrangement

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11

Twenty-three years ago this week, I was home – on break from my 4th year at UVa – when my cousin called and asked if I wanted to go out with his girlfriend’s sister. A blind date.

I already had plans for the night, and so declined. A few hours later he called back. “Find someone else,” I told him. Later that afternoon he called me for a third time. Why, I am not sure. But as I thought about the night ahead, driving to New Jersey to play cards (my original plan) seemed less appealing – so I said yes.

Eileen and I met that night at a bowling alley. The next day, we spend four hours on the phone. On Tuesday that week, we went out on our first official date. And by the end of that night we had named our three children: Brian, Meaghan and Robert. And besides the fact the Robert turned out to be Erin, the rest of the story has played out as scripted, and this year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as husband and wife.

Long before I started getting serious about my walk with Christ, I knew that God was involved. There is no way I could be married to anyone else.

Ray made a comment on another blog recently, writing: Personally, I think he "manages" much less than many think, but I also think he "arranges" more than most people think.

And in my mind, a place where there is no contradiction between destiny and choice, that seems to explain a lot. I was thinking about this topic recently as I came to the final pages of Today at the Mission, a book that was given to me as a gift by a person whom I’ve never met. I was thinking about things I want to do – and do differently – in 2008. Some of the items on my list were definitely influenced by reading this book. So how did that come to pass?

The string of events probably goes back decades, but one came to mind this past month as we watched my 5th grade daughter (Erin, not Robert) at her winter concert. My wife remarked how funny it was that six years earlier, at my son Brian’s winter concert, we happened to sit behind two people who also had a son in Brian’s class, Donna and Perry. Now we could have sat anywhere (as could they) but this “random” choice of seats led to a passing conversation that ultimately led to us joining a church, and my eventual baptism in Christ.

Fast forward. My entry into the blogosphere is an outcome of a choice I made last November to attend a conference with some folks from that church, a strengths-finder test that I took there, and a subsequent desire to develop certain talents with a focus on God.

A link on my friend TK’s blog led me to biscotti brain, and in September, wilsonian added a line “don’t forget that you have until the 23rd” to the end of a non-related post. As a direct marketer, that intrigued me – and ultimately led me to her original post about the book give-away. Without that reminded, I would have missed it.

And this year, someone I have yet to meet will hopefully be touched by the hand of God in a way that would never have happened if all of the above (and a lot more) did not fall into place.

Does God manage or arrange? Is it destiny or choice? What say you?


Anonymous said...

i really have been enjoying your posts, all of them actually, and the ones lately of the thoughts that come to you from reading rwk's book.

what say me?
well, i do not know how God handles things...however, i do believe He knows what He is doing.
after reading this post, it makes me want to place my complete trust in Him.

thank you, brother

wilsonian said...

My life has been filled with these surprising twists and turns (which I've started noticing more since the my world expanded via blogs).

Not sure how He does it, but it makes me see more potential in situations that I ever did before... it's amazingly exciting to think of the Lord co-creating with us. A little mind blowing actually :)


TK said...

I say here's to blind dates,kids named Brian, Meghan and Erin, winter concerts, the blogosphere and to our Gracious Father in heaven who gave us this amazing gift called Life.

peace and prayers my friend.

Ed G. said...

nancy - not knowing, but still trusting. that says so much about your faith.

wilsonian - mind blowing indeed. and i agree that you notice more by blogging.

tk - thanks. for everything.