God Has a Plan

peter rigo gods planI was thinking this week as I was studying. I was going back over my life and my history and this thought came back to me about the time that I discovered my wife’s engagement ring.

She wasn’t my wife yet of course. I had been at Bible College about three months. I know they call it “Bridal College” but I wasn’t looking for a wife, I can promise you that. I was like 19 and it was my first time really away from home–I was in the US, a whole different country. And on American Thanksgiving, we had a three-day break and I returned home to see my family and my church friends.

I made an appointment to see a friend who had a job at Jackson Square, but at the time I lived on the mound. I didn’t have a car anymore (I had sold it to go to Bridal College, er, Bible College) but luckily another good friend of mine was heading into town and offered me a ride. He had somewhere to be and couldn’t get me close, but he could at least take me into town.

He dropped me about 20 blocks from Jackson Square so I had a significant walk to make. I started walking and songs drifted into my head, the way your life has its own soundtrack, and there I was: 19 years old, strutting down the sidewalk, singing “Staying Alive” to myself, feeling like I had style and grace. And as I walked, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a sign that said “80% off.”  And as I continued walking and singing to myself, the soundtrack sort of got quieter and a little part of my brain realized it had been a jewelry store. And another little part of my brain said, “Hey, you could go back and get a piece of jewelry for your new girlfriend!”

So I turned right around and walked back in. But when I entered, the place was virtually empty.  And I look around and say, “Where’s all the jewelry?” And this little elderly lady comes out from the back and says, “This is our last day in business. Our family has had this store for 80 years. At six o’clock tonight, we close for good. And all we have left to sell you are these five rings.”

Well as I said, I was not looking for an engagement ring, I promise you. I hadn’t even connected to the thought in my head that I loved my girlfriend. I was a little slow. Maybe too many soundtracks.

But this lady pulls one ring out–I don’t know why she chose this particular one–and she holds it up into the light and it just sparkles. It was like the northern lights twinkling.

And you should know I know absolutely nothing about jewelry, I’m clueless. But I said, “Wow, that’s really nice. How much is that?” And she said, “It’s a thousand dollars.”

“Woah, a thousand dollars,” I said. I had been thinking I could get a chain or something for 80% off, at 25 bucks or something. So I thanked the kind lady for her kindness and generosity and headed out of the store, and the soundtrack came back and I moved on to my lunch appointment.

Later on, the friend who’d given me a ride called me and said he was coming back through and asked if I’d like a ride back. I said sure so he picked me up. As we were driving back I told him the story about the jewelry store and the 80% off and the old lady with the five rings and the six o’clock deadline. And he said, “Wait, really?”

Now understand, he knew a lot about jewelry. He was already married and something of a pro when it came to shopping for women. So he got  really excited about it and said, “Let’s grab my wife from work and go back to the store before it closes.” And I said, “Sure, okay, I’m riding for free, I don’t mind.”

So he grabbed his wife and we get to the store and park in front and we’ve got 30 minutes before it’s closed for good. And we go in and I introduce my friend and his wife. And once again the little lady pulls out that one ring that sparkles like the aurora. And my friend takes it and he looks at it, examining it. He asks her technical questions about the quality of stone and the size and the karat of the gold and she lists off all that it is and it’s a really good ring. But I don’t know that I have no idea. So he turns to me and he says, “Man, you should buy this ring for your girlfriend!” But I wasn’t even sure if she was my girlfriend at that point, and also wasn’t sure if I even had a thousand dollars to spend.

So I was thinking it over and the old lady’s husband must have heard the commotion from the back because he came out and started talking to us. And I didn’t know what one does in these situations so I said, “Will you accept 500 dollars?” thinking that if they’re going out of business, 500 dollars is better than nothing. And he turned beet red, pointed, and said, “Get out! Get out of my store!”

So I had to leave but my friends stayed and explained that I was simple, I didn’t know anything about jewelry and I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. My friend came out and said, “We talked to the man and he’s willing to forgive you, and he’s offering to sell you the ring for a thousand dollars.”

It just so happened that Canada Trust had just come into business and there was one right across the street. This was before cellphones where you could check your balance online, so I ran over and asked the teller if I had that much money. I was pretty sure I didn’t because I’d left a lot of my money at home when I went to school so my parents could use it to pay for things, but the teller informed me that in fact I did still have over a thousand. I took out the money and ran back and, with two minutes to spare, plunked the money on the table and picked up a ring that would change my life forever.

Now it’s interesting because when I started out that day and I started walking to that appointment, I wasn’t focused on where I was going forever, I was simply focused on what I was doing for that day. I was meeting somebody for lunch. The amazing part of that day was God was focused on where I was going for the rest of my life.

I wasn’t looking for a ring and I wasn’t looking to get married but God had plans for me. He had a purpose, he had a story that was going to be written about my life that included my beautiful wife and that beautiful ring and that 80% off sale. And though I was doing something normal, God showed up supernaturally and changed my story forever.