51 years, a brief look back

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

51 years ago, I never really thought of this above verse. It didn’t matter to me and because of that, I gave it no thought.

In hindsight, though, I think of all that was involved in bringing things to a point 51 years ago.

First a music director from our high school needed things moved to his cottage several miles away from our city. He hired two young men from the school to help him move those things. The two young men worked hard all day long and at the end of the day, he paid them for their work.

One of the young men went home and spent the night in with his parents and siblings. The other asked to use his mother’s car for a date. He then called a young girl who actually had other plans for the night.

The young girl’s sister insisted that the girl should accept the invitation to the date.

The two high school kids went to the bowling alley, bowled three games and drank a cola.

He drove her home, kissed her and they watched the 11:00 news together. He drove home.

All of these things worked together. The night went off without a hitch and that was that.

Now, I can look back and see the hand of God in all of this. Had Dale not worked for his music director, he wouldn’t have had the money to ask me out. Had my sister not insisted I accept the offer of a date, I would have gone to another fire-hall dance with my friend and gone home. I have no idea what would have been the alternate of that evening fifty one years ago today.

At the time I had no idea that it would be my last first date. I had no idea it would be my last first kiss. I had no idea that one date would be the beginning of my future. It’s funny how moments can pass innocently and we never think it was really a momentous moment.

Yet, God knew the plans He had for me. Plans for a future and a hope. Plans for good even when we goofed up and went on another path that could lead to disaster. God had a plan. I have often questioned this plan. When on my own with two young children and a deployment being extended several times over, when times were lean and months were long, when sickness or broken bones occurred and the Navy had my support system on the other side of the world.

Yet, today, I see that all of these plans were right for us. We have grown up together. We have stretched each other many times. We have challenged one another, each holding our ground firmly.

Through it all, God has seen us through. 51 years ago was our first date, thank you Mr. Runzo for that $40 you paid the guys. Thank you Mom for letting Dale use your car. Thank you Dottie for suggesting bowling instead of the fire-hall dance. Little did we know you were all part of a bigger plan.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NLT)