We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Thanks, Dad…for the heart attack. It was back in 1976, June 26th to be specific, that I married Judy Allen. She was a Georgia peach that was quite the catch. I met her when I walked into a strange, new church on a Wednesday night. I entered the side door and boom—there she was. Standing in a circle of ordinary young ladies, this young lady was anything but. Then, there was a phone call, a date and well, here we are forty-six years…she is still quite the catch, we are still in love, and we are still grateful for a God who has a plan.
I was talking with Judy the other day and said, “What if we had never met?” I honestly cannot fathom my life without her…but what if? It was really a strange set of circumstances that got us together. I was in the Air Force and my Daddy had a pretty major heart attack while I was home on leave. It sure changed our Christmas plans, but it also changed my life. My Momma, and don’t ask me how since this was way before the internet and smart phones, found out through the Red Cross that the Air Force would sometimes grant a “humanitarian reassignment” to airmen to the base nearest their home. The conditions were strict, and the odds were long, but we (Momma and I) decided we should give it a shot.
It required all kinds of statements from the doctors and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t even remember. At the time I was stationed at Minot AFB in North Dakota and trust me that is a long way from home. Anyway, we applied and then one day I received a call from Base Personnel letting me know that my request had been approved and I was being reassigned to Moody AFB in Valdosta, Georgia. Soon, it was so long Minot and hello Moody. I arrived at my new base in April of 1973. I would drive home every weekend (about two hours) to see family and friends and come back Sunday evening.
Gratefully, God allowed my Daddy to live till midsummer of the next year when He decided heaven was better than here. Of course, his leaving changed everything. I think my Momma went to stay with one of my brothers or sisters for a while and suddenly there wasn’t as much reason to go home. I was a regular church goer, but it really wasn’t my desire to go to church that Wednesday night as much as it was…boredom. Valdosta wasn’t a big town and Moody wasn’t a big airbase, so I just needed something to do. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Which leads to my opening line…Daddy’s heart attack. If it hadn’t had been for that and my Momma’s persistence, well, I would have stayed in Minot and probably froze to death. Smile. I would have never met Judy, there would not have been our three precious daughters and hence no eight grandchildren. And, honestly, I probably wouldn’t be pastoring and wouldn’t be writing this today. But God is a God of infinite details and design. He tells us in the Bible that every day of our lives is planned before a single one of them is lived. I like that…a lot.
He also teaches us that for those who love Him and are called by Him, He can take anything and everything and bring good out of it. No, not everything is good…not even close and that isn’t what He said. He said He can bring good and in the case of my Daddy’s heart attack, my life path is part of that good. Have you ever thought of life that way? Can you think of a situation where God did that for you? I bet you can. You see, God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted.
One day I will see my Daddy again…in heaven. I’ll probably chat with him and ask if he ever thought about the good that God brought about because of his heart attack. And then, well, I’ll tell him all about Judy (if she isn’t there yet) and his great grandkids. It’s gonna be a great reunion. Till then, I hope I remember to trust my heavenly Dearest Daddy each day, and know that no matter what, no matter how big…He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne