Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hayride

Sometime during the school year, I will have my students read the following post from March of 2006 and we discussed the role of God in our everyday lives. (Believe it or not, I had to define the term hayride to a number of our city dwelling youngsters!) The students will answer two essay questions, having to defend their positions: To what extent do you think the Lord intervenes in our day-to-day existence? And, do you think Coach Hawley would have married the young lady if it had not rained? I always get some fascinating answers!
 I work with a program called Friendspeak through my congregation in Houston. Friendspeak uses a simplified version of the Gospel of Luke to teach conversational English to adults trying to improve their language skills in a new country. The overwhelming majority of our students have been Chinese. Theirs is such a different language from English. I attempted to learn Mandarin by listening to tapes- my venture died after several hours when I had zero comprehension of what I had heard. Our Friendspeak students have spanned generations. One current student is about eighty while another is in her mid-twenties. The younger lady is also enrolled in an English course at a local community college and has come several times to our Chinese language worship service with a friend. Hopefully, she'll continue to spend time with our Chinese congregation and perhaps bring her husband. Have you ever met somebody and had a subconscious idea they reminded you of someone else? It hit me this morning who this Chinese lady resembles. The funny thing is that the other person is Anglo and not Asian. There is just something about the shape of their faces, maybe their mannerisms, maybe something indefinable that links the two in my mind. Of course, there is a story involved that will make the comparison between two women, who will never meet, relevant.

Once upon a time, I was a college student. One great thing about college from guys' perspective is that sometimes girls have to ask boys for dates; club functions, dorm parties, etc. What a humbling experience! A young lady, the one who reminds me of our Friendspeak student, asked me to go on a hayride. The unnamed coed was in my sister club and very cute. I accepted. Right before the hayride, it was postponed. I am 99.99% sure the delay was weather related. Right after the postponement, a friend of mine asked her out. They went out again and by the time the hayride was rescheduled, they were dating and she took the other guy. They ended up as husband and wife. Did you ever see Back To The Future? The premise is that changing one event in the past messes up, or saves, the future. What if Mother Nature had not intervened and the hayride had occurred as scheduled? Would I have fallen for her? Would she have fallen for me? Or did it turn out just the way God intended all along? I have never quite figured out the day-to-day role God plays in the development of my life. I have the utmost faith in free will and I don't believe the minutia of my existence is always micromanaged from heaven. On the other hand, I believe the Lord puts me in circumstances that allow me to serve him better if I so choose. We are told to pray and that prayer influences our lives and the lives of others. Proverbs 16:33 tells us that, "The lot is cast in the lap but its every decision is from the Lord." On the other hand, Ecclesiastes 9:11 teaches that time and chance happen to everyone. So what is the conclusion of the matter of the hayride and the storm? No way to know on this side of eternity but there is one happily married couple that probably doesn't remember a postponed weekend outing. It could not have worked out any better.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The stories that you tell about your past shape your future."
Eric Ransdell

God bless,
Luke 18:1


E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


JKC said...

You may never know what "might have been", but I do know that Romans 8:28 is what keeps me going when things don't happen the way I think they should. That is the verse that has helped me through so many situations that I simply could not understand. I try never to ask God "why?", but have faith that He is in control.

Tricia said...

Some of your questions in this post are identical to those of the prince in Ever After.
I think God has a plan for every intimate detail of our lives. I think we all have choices and God allows us to sometimes choose things that are not in line with what is best for us. Of course, He knows ahead of time that we will do this and has made an alternate plan, but the choice is ours.
I do not believe my current life situation, being a single mom, was in God's original plan. My messed up choices landed me where I am now. However, I also do not believe that God abandoned me when I made those choices. He has given me ample opportunity to chose His way since then and I am blessed because of it. :)