Things I do not believe:
“There are no accidents.” Yes. There are. My Daddy losing his leg was an accident. He was where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, and someone who didn’t know he was there turned on a switch, and presto–accident.
“Everything happens for a reason.” No. They don’t. Sometimes things just happen. See above.
“It was God’s will.” Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. It is God’s will for babies to be born. It is not God’s will for babies to die. Actually, it is not God’s will for ANYONE to die. Thus the Garden of Eden (which people screwed up), and then sending Jesus so we NEVER have to die–not really. I do not believe it was God’s will for Daddy to lose his leg. But God let it happen. And Daddy continued to believe in God and serve as a wonderful (if imperfectly human) testament of how to deal with tragic accidents by leaning heavily on the grace of God.
Things I DO believe:
God uses accidents to bring about His purposes.
God uses things that happen to bring about His purposes.
God is with us in accidents and in things that happen for no particular reason other than the fact that we live in a fallen world where death and accidents and “things” happen.
God exerts and exercises His will through earthly happenstance every single day, and we can SEE Him doing that if we take a moment to open our eyes–if we “treasure” and “ponder things” in our hearts as did Mary, the mother of Jesus, so that in the fullness of time, we can look back and see the loveliness of God’s hand taking the ashes we are given by a fallen world, and turning them into beauty.
I say all of that to say, that forty-four years ago, a baby was born in Sweden. Her parents had an unlikely meeting. I think that she, like me, would say that the eventual ending of their marriage–though not surprising–was tragic. But that brought this Swedish lass to the United States–more specifically to the birthplace of her mother in Texas. There, in Texas, she met a boy. They really, really liked each other a lot and got married and had two wonderful sons who have yet to make their final, indelible mark on the world, but are working on it every day.
She followed this boy that she met to a small, Christian university in Arkansas. There was another girl there–one who had been born in a tiny, back-water town in Louisiana. And through some serendipitous happenstance (that both girls believe to this day was God exacting His will) they met.
You see how murky the waters can become.
falling in love and having a beautiful baby girl=good
family splitting up across an ocean=bad
meeting your future husband=good
meeting a friend=good
But if you know that God sees through the murk, and you focus your eye on the light He shines through the dimness and uncertainties of life, then you see Him all over the place.
See the photo below? Click on it.
Chances of Stephanie meeting Roxanne=infinitesimally small (cuz, DUDE, that ocean is very, very large)
The Mighty Google=”We could not calculate directions between Lund Municipality, Sweden and Bastrop, LA.”
God=INCREDIBLY, GIGANTICALLY, MIND-BLOWINGLY HUGE and WAY SMARTER than Google.
Accident. . .happenstance. . .a mere “thing”. It matters not. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.“ So says James, the brother of Jesus, who should know and who was inspired to say so. Therefore, our meeting is classified under “God” as far as I am concerned.
Today is Stephanie Gabrielle’s birthday. But I (and the rest of the world too) am the one who got the gift of her presence.
Thank you, God, for my lovely, lovely friend. She is a blessing and a treasure, and you knew how much, how long, and in how many ways I would need her over the course of my adult life–from the very beginning to now and, hopefully, for much, much longer.
Happy birthday, my unlikely, God-given friend. The Atlantic Ocean turned out not to be so big after all. And I think you rock.