Monday, February 15, 2010

A Testimony 53 Years in the Making

Ran into an example this morning about how God works all the time, whether we see it or know about it or approve of it:




The pictures above are envelope I used to mail a letter, and page one of the letter itself. I sent it to Mom & Dad, while they were vacationing in Colorado and it tells a tale which ultimately proved funny, and extremely providential.

I did a lot of math in high school, and also did quite well at physics. I didn't have any idea what I wanted to do as a career, though, so when my friend Mickey Meese suggested he was going to study Electrical Engineering .. with a major in Electronics .. I said that sounded neat, and registered at Purdue University.

When Mom and Dad took me up there mid-summer for entrance exams, I had a free hour "hole" in the middle of the schedule, so on a lark, I took the chemistry entrance exam. I had a blast doing it, more as a joke than anything, and just guessed at most of the answers.

I had never studied that first minute of chemistry in my LIFE.

Well, it backfired. I scored well enough on it, and very well on mathematics, that they put me in Advanced Chemistry. The first week in class, they were talking about Ionic and Covalent Bonds (something to do with molecules, I think). I was hopelessly, and helplessly, lost.

I appealed to the Dean of Men, personally. He said the equivalent of "man up and do it".

I appealed again, completely clueless, after 6 weeks. He repeated the message.

I was so demoralized that I lost interest in even trying. I had lousy study habits anyway .. I'd not had to study a lot in High School to make honors .. and my helplessness in Chemistry took all the attractiveness out of even pursuing engineering. And when the next set of grades rolled around, the Dean called ME in and asked what was wrong. I reminded him of our prior conversations and he said the equivalent of "If that's the problem, we'll fix it." And he put me in Beginning Chemistry.

They were, by that time, talking about Ionic and Covalent Bonds.

My first year at Purdue was a disaster, and although they said I was welcome back, I wouldn't be welcome in the Engineering School.

That set in motion a chain of events culminating on my giving up on college altogether the following Spring, and going to a Job Agency seeking "any kind of job I could turn into a career". And the following week, I started as a Mailboy's helper at an insurance company.

49 years and 10 months later, I retired from that industry, which I loved. I wouldn't trade that career for anything. It had me eventually traveling all over the country, speaking to groups from 25 to 1,000 people, making several trips to London on business, and even to meetings in Hong Kong and Monaco.

I wrote that letter to Mom and Dad right after I'd found out about the Chemistry thing. And when I read it again, I realized that I'd known, down inside, something was wrong. I really should have called off the enrollment at Purdue and gone to a local school .. Butler. But if I had, I might have found a more conventional career in a more purposeful manner, but I wouldn't have been a Mailboy at Wabash Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.

Where I met, dated, and married, Peggy. The love of my life.

Who shamed me into following through on a promise to go to Sunday School with a neighbor.

Which got me interested in church.

Which led into Van Veld's Bible Study.

Which made me realize God had something in mind for me, which led me to decide that's what I wanted.

If it hadn't happened as it did (humanly speaking) we'd not be in Alabama, at FBC Pelham.

I cannot thank God enough for tending to His business, when that was the furthest thing from my mind.

God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways. I could think that He just tagged along, cleaning up my mess as I stumbled along, but I'd prefer to think God knew all along, what He had in mind for me. I couldn't have planned a more wonderful life than I've had, and I'm sure not up to having ordered all this, myself.

SO ... thanks, God. I owe you.

Do I EVER......

ps ... Oh yeah ... Dotty was our dog, who lived in the garage.

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2 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, February 17, 2010, Blogger Alan Paul said...

Great story of God's working in your life Bob. I also appreciated your no-nonsense comment on Wade's blog regarding Ken Starr

 
At 7:15 AM, February 23, 2010, Blogger Rex Ray said...

Bob,
In one way, you wrote the story of my life about CHEMISTRY.

I was planning on being an engineer and was told my freshman year in college I had to take chemistry. I had none in high school and couldn’t even spell the word.

The first day of class, the prof said, “I assume you’ve read the first capture. Next class will be the second capture.” (I stayed one capture behind the whole semester and never grasped the concept.)

I was told I had to take another course. I fooled them by switching to Industrial Arts.

But that wasn’t the end of CHEMISTRY. No – I was the ‘new’ math and science teacher in a three teacher high school in Fairplay, Colorado. The principal told me I was to teach chemistry. I said no that I wasn’t qualified and knew nothing. He said, “Your transcript says you made a “B”. I said I just memorized for the test and forgot everything after the test. I understand now if I didn’t teach it he had to.

The teacher before me was a chemistry majory and the second year students knew more than I did. Oh what a year. A dead skunk was put in the air vent, firecrackers were dropped out of the second story windows, and a note on the floor read: “What else can you think of to make Mr. Ray mad?

That was the only way I had control of the class by being on the edge of exploding. One day, I walked out in the middle of the class and went home. My five years of teaching was in these locations: Alaska, Colorado, Midland TX, and Duncanville, TX.

I liked your poem of “Two Brothers”.

 

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