“Faith is not the power of positive thinking; it is believing in God and trusting that His will is always best even when you cannot understand why.”
~Shari Howerton, Breaking the Chains
Once upon a time, a boy was born. He was a very loved little boy who was curious about everything that surrounded him. Everything in his path was something to be studied, tasted, touched and experienced. When he began to crawl his doting parents made sure the house was child-proofed so that he would be safe. They never let him out of their sight and delighted in his zest for life.
One day while his mother got up to answer the telephone, the boy crawled over to the dining room table where he noticed a long black cord hanging down. He was curious. “What was that thing?” So he pulled himself up to a standing position (his new skill) and batted the cord back and forth. This thing was funny. It made him chuckle out loud. Next, he then gave it a hard tug and as he did he noticed the crock pot attached to it teetering above his head. Feeling no fear whatsoever, he tugged on the cord once again, this time even harder. Just then Molly, the family cat, raced by distracting the boy. He fell onto his bottom and crawled toward the cat just as the crock pot came crashing down where he just stood moments before.
And God smiled.
Much to his parents surprise, the boy grew fast. It wasn’t long before he was walking everywhere. His parents grew weary just trying to keep up with him! One day he was toddling around the house while his mother and father worked on the leaky kitchen faucet and noticed a crack in the front screen door. He pushed on it and much to his glee, it opened. He stepped outside cautiously at first then slowly made his down the neighborhood sidewalk. He picked up treasures along the way. He found a stick, an orange fall leaf and a candy wrapper. He was mesmerized by them all. The boy noticed an open gate in the neighbors yard. He trampled through the grass unsteadily and walked into the backyard. A pool! The water sparkled like fireworks in the hot sun and he wanted desperately to touch the light. He bent over the side to touch the cool water. When he did, he lost his balance. The boy could feel himself falling and the dog barking on the porch. He closed his eyes tightly. He was scared. Unexpectedly, he was met with a soft thud. When he opened his eyes, he was floating on a large raft in the middle of the water. His mothers friend had already jumped into the pool and was frantically swimming toward him. He held his arms out to her and she hugged him very tightly.
And God smiled.
It was the boys thirteenth birthday. His parents had a huge party with all of his friends. They had a contest to see who could eat the most pizza. The boy won. It was a great day, about to get even better. He had been begging his folks for a Razor skateboard. And there it was, sitting in the corner of the room with a large red bow on it. The boy could barely contain his excitement. As soon as he got it, he ran to the front driveway to give it a whirl. To his surprise, he seemed pretty natural on it. He mimicked the pros and showed off in front of his friends trying small jumps and fancy turns on it. They all clapped and cheered. The boy was so happy. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was to be the first one in his group to get a skateboard! He decided to try something even more daring. He would start at the garage, get going very fast and jump the curb. To the best of his determination, he might be even able to go so fast that he could jump the street and make it to the other side… in the air. The boys cheered his new idea even louder. With his back to the garage wall, he gave a shove to start his speed. Pumping faster and faster, he made his way down the driveway with his eyes laser focused on the curb. Almost there. Almost famous. They would be talking about this stunt at school for weeks. He bent down just a bit to be more aerodynamic. Suddenly, the skateboard came to an abrupt, jolting halt. The boy went flying through the air and landed on his elbow. It hurt like crazy. He heard his father say, “I think it’s broken.” The party was over. The friends had to go home. The boy cried all the way to the doctors office. He didn’t understand how he could be this unlucky. But what none of them noticed was the speeding car with the distracted teenage driver looking for his phone on the floorboard that passed by just as the boy hit the rock in the driveway that stopped his skateboard.
And God smiled.
The boy grew and grew. He could visibly see the pride in his parents eyes as he walked across the stage to accept his college diploma. His mother was sobbing and his father blotted his eyes inconspicuously with his handkerchief. The only way to describe the feeling in his gut was pure euphoria. No more finals. No more late night cramming. No more small dorm room. He was ready to start his life. The first job offer was perfect. He accepted immediately and dreamed about buying his first new car. A sports car for sure. The company had everything. Benefits, great salary, bonus opportunities, nice office. Smooth sailing. The young man bought new clothes, opened a credit card account and went car shopping. He was supposed to start the following Monday. He told his friends all about his new job. He didn’t mean to brag but he was just so excited to start his new life. Then out of the blue, a phone call. They had decided to go with someone else. “A different direction.” How could this be?? How could he be THIS unlucky? Why did he get ALL the bad breaks? While the boy sunk into a funk on his couch, across town a secretary with a different company was opening his resume and cover letter. They planned to give this young man a call and interview him immediately. He would be perfect for their organization. And this company even offered a full car allowance with better opportunities. The young man would work for this company happily until he retired, some forty three years later.
And God smiled.
The young man saw her sitting in the corner of the coffee shop immersed in her book. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He mustered up the nerve to go over to her table. “I’m so sorry to interrupt you but I just had to say how pretty you look over here reading your book.” She smiled back to him. “Oh really?” From that moment on and into the next year, it was fireworks. He had never known love like this. He thought about her night and day. Her name was Alexa and when she walked into the room, people gasped at how stunning she was. It made the young man very proud. He began looking at rings while she studied for the final exam for her masters degree at night online. He wanted to give her something very special when he asked her to marry him the following weekend. Finally, the night came. He lined up a fancy restaurant, picked out white roses (her favorite) and tucked the ring in his pocket. Over a candlelit table with violins playing in the background, he asked her to marry him. But her reaction was not what he expected. There was no excitement, no screams of “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as he had envisioned. Instead, a single tear made its way down her cheek. Apparently, she had accepted a job with a company in London and was leaving the following week. She had not known how to tell him. The young man was devastated. He was sure she was the love of his life. When she left he felt hollow inside, sure he would never love again. Six months later, he was sitting on an airplane waiting for the rest of the passengers to board when he heard, “Excuse me, I think that’s my seat.” He looked up to meet her bright blue eyes and dimples. “I have the window seat I believe, but it’s okay I don’t mind the middle seat if you would rather stay there!” She had blonde, soft curls that danced when she giggled. Six months later, he was staring into Annie’s blue eyes vowing to love her forever in front of his parents and the judge. He had never been happier in his whole life.
And God smiled.
The old man rocked on his front porch looking out at the beautiful sunset. With his Annie gone, he had nothing left but his memories of their life together. Three sons, two daughters and eleven grandchildren and one great-grand child on the way. It had been a blessed life. As he rocked, he relived memories as though they were playing on a movie screen in front of him. Sure there had been bumps along the way, but nothing to outweigh the many good times he had experienced. The old man looked down upon his arthritic hands and took notice of his withering body. He thought about the times he thought he knew it all, but God knew better. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to imagine how many times God had saved him. Too many to even fathom he was sure of that. It was late in his life that the old man actually began to realize that God had a plan for him all along. It was his plan, it was Gods. God had been by his side all along, behind the scenes lining up the right people, the right opportunities,… keeping him safe. After all, it was God who had given him Annie. He owed all of his memories of happiness ultimately to Him. The old man tried to stand up but his knees buckled and it sent him back into his rocking chair. But the old man did not resist. “You want me to sit a little longer to watch the full sunset I see, eh?” Said the old man out loud and toward the heavens. “Then I shall sit.” For he had learned long ago that God knew best. Faith.
And the old man smiled.