On Monday my daughter, Jaime, started scanning some old pics into her computer…and sharing a few on Facebook. I haven’t been able to get the picture of this little guy out of my mind. Someone commented that he looked like Opey. But he’s my Benny. I see glimpses of our Joey, Josh and his son, JJ, in that darling face. But mostly I see the cute little blonde and freckled boy that would become my husband.
He lived in Alabama. I was in Maryland. When our parents decided to move to Alexandria, Virginia neither us were happy about moving away from everything familiar. But God had a plan.
God didn’t consult us or ask our permission. If He had, both of us would have declined. He would have remained in Alabama with his cousin so they could continue getting in trouble and pulling pranks on poor ‘ol Mrs. Batts next door. (Like the time they called every taxi company in town and had them all show up at her house at the same time.) I would have stayed in Maryland where I had just one more month to anticipate the fun of high school and finding a cute boyfriend.
God knew what I didn’t: that boy was in Virginia and I needed to get over there to meet him. I whined; then begged my parents to let me live with my like-mother married sister. After all, it would only be a 45-minute drive to spend weekends with them in Virginia until I graduated high school. When they said no I was confused, angry and resentful. I just knew I would hate our new home.
I didn’t really get to know “that boy” until over a year after the move. But in March of 1971 a mutual teacher of ours took the class on a camping/spelunking (caving) trip to West Virginia. That day I had two memorable “firsts.” I encountered bats hanging from the ceiling of the caves…and I also encountered the flame on Benny’s camping hat when he leaned to kiss me. I left the cave with a singed nose and a new boyfriend.
If I was in control I would have never made that move. My once-bitter heart is now full of awe at God’s wisdom and kindness. And 7 children and 11 grandchildren are here because God had His way.
While I living in Maryland as a school girl, playing tetherball and feeling jealous of girlfriends who had more stuff than me and worrying about whether I would get the solo in my 6th grade performance, young Benny was moping about having to move to Virginia. Aw. He didn’t know that he had to get up there because some years later a quick (and painful!) kiss in a cave in West Virginia would have to happen.
Are you facing something that is tempting you to be confused, angry or resentful? Have circumstances in your life forced an unwelcome change or loss? I pray my little story reminds you that there’s a God who is wisely and lovingly superintending every single thing that happens. Even the hard and hurtful things “all work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Confusing and hard situations get us where we need to be to encounter the good He has in store.
Just look at this little guy (who I think looks alot like his Papa!) 30-some years after my unwanted move he was born to my firstborn son. The good just keeps on coming.