Monday, June 25, 2012

Changed Plans: Pivot Points of Destiny -- Peter Black

Large trunks and packing crates appeared in the house, and over time clothes that were not in season were packed away in them.

The kids in this large family bounced through the door each day after school to find it barer and less like home. A table-lamp that sat over here had disappeared, and the boxed silver cutlery set and Mom’s best china were no longer on the sideboard over there – these and much more were now packed in blankets, hidden from
sight in those crates.

The location – an industrial town, about 20 miles from Glasgow, Scotland. The destination – Australia. How exciting for the kids! What an adventure. They’d soon
be embarking on their long voyage to the other side of the world in a huge ocean liner. That family was my wife’s. The time – the early 1950s.

Alan, my wife’s youngest brother, became ill, requiring hospitalization and surgery. The sailing date passed and the whole Australia venture was called off. The family had already given notice on their house, so had to find another home. She and I met over 10 years later at a church near the home they’d moved to.

Elsewhere, in the mid-1960s, a young couple living in Glasgow had pursued emigration to New Zealand. They had two little girls – a toddler and a baby, just months old. They didn’t have a lot of stuff, so they wouldn’t have very much to pack. That was my sister and husband and family.

My brother-in-law was an officer in Glasgow’s fire department, but learned that it may be some time before being accepted for emigration to New Zealand, since he had no one to sponsor him. The immigration officer suggested that with his firefighter’s experience and his former trade he could obtain entrance to Canada, and urged that the family get their medicals and start the process. They did and were accepted.

Bill flew out several months ahead of Marg and the girls in order to find employment and a home. He initially boarded with a Canadian military veteran in Windsor, Ontario. This man had boarded with Bill’s grandparents in Glasgow during WWII. Bill's family joined him in early 1966.

We were married later that year, and eventually came to Canada to serve in ministry with them eight years after that, with two little boys and a third on the way. The rest is history, with much water under many bridges; and now you’re reading about it.

If those two families’ plans had not changed it’s highly unlikely that you would be reading this article today. It’s unlikely that my wife and I would have met and that she would’ve been the girl I married. Unlikely that I would have the same kids and grandkids. Unlikely that we would have immigrated to Canada.

So much in life seems to turn on small decisions, as well as large. Like a well-timed watch, the cogwheels of life have a way of pivoting according to a plan that’s not quite what we would have chosen. A master watchmaker understands perfectly how the timepiece he has designed and created works inside, but most of us only see the numbers on the watch-face and the hour, minute and second hands going round. The Almighty has His plan, too.

Hmm, what if Alan hadn’t been sick, and the family had gone to Australia? What if Bill and Marg had gone to New Zealand . . .? What if . . . ?

The Master Designer has plans and our times are in His hands.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).


Peter A. Black writes a weekly inspirational column in The Watford Guide-Advocate, and is author of the children's / family book "Parables from the Pond" (Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X)


Dorene Meyer said...

Nice story! Yes, we can trust God that He has everything worked out -and that His plans are best!
Were you at Write! Canada this year, Peter and did I just miss seeing you? There were a lot of people there and it's such a busy time for everyone.
Dorene Meyer

Peter Black said...

Thanks Dorene.
No, I was was missing there, alright, and very much missing being there! My wife and I have aging relatives with health concerns in the UK, and are planning a trip over in the fall. We've also numerous commitments this side of the Pond and between now and then.
The conference and our many friends were very much in my thoughts and prayers.

Diana said...

Peter, I'm posting this comment late, but I'm so struck by your story I just had to write. It was 1963; I was 8, living in my homeland of New Zealand, when my father said he was going to America. He then "disappeared" out of our lives for more than two years. Although Mom and Dad were officially still married I learned later that their marriage was in very rocky treacherous waters. Over and over we kids heard, "Soon we'll go to America to join Daddy." And "Soon" never came. I learned not to hope or trust, a lesson I had to unlearn many years later. Eventually, just before my 11th birthday, we did in fact, board an ocean liner and come to Canada.
A few years earlier a boy of 6 had immigrated with his family to Canada from Norway. Fast forward. I was 18, he was 20. We started dating. Married in 1975. We will celebrate our 37th anniversary in a month.
Two people who had no control over their lives, and for me anyway, living through traumatic events (my parents' marriage eventually crashed and burned). But God brought wonderful good out of those changed and rearranged and sometimes wrecked plans.
And how funny that our stories have some connecting points. I love connections like that.

Peter Black said...

Diana, thank you for sharing ... great story, despite its tragic aspects!
The wonder and splendour of grace can be seen in the rear view mirror of life -- especially of those who have become assuredly reconciled to God through His grace demonstrated in Jesus and His redeeming love. It continues to shine, doesn't it?
My wife's sister and husband emigrated to New Zealand -- probably within months of your father's coming to America (that sister died close to 10 years ago).
The girls only got to meet once from the time the couple left for N.Z. We are in touch with her family (hmm, we've never been able to make it over for a visit, unfortunately).

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