Recently, I read a book called When God Winks by Squire Rushnell. I love the premise, that life’s happy coincidences are actually God’s perfectly choreographed events (aka God Winks). For someone who believes in God’s ever-present hand in my life, the stories in the book are heartwarming and charming. I could not read them without pausing to reflect on my own “God Winks”. Many times I’ve seen God wink at me in clear and profound ways. Other times, the events that happened during the God Wink were so terrible I couldn’t imagine anything good coming from them at all.
My junior year of high school, I met Kent and fell in love – truly, madly, deeply in love. A few months later, my parents told me that we were moving far away. All I could think was, “I’ll die if I have to be away from Kent.” To top it off, he was about to graduate and start college. With me away, I was certain he’d find a college girl he liked better than me.
I moved right before my senior year began. Practically every waking moment that year was spent agonizing over how far away I was from Kent. I made some friends, but I still felt very lonely and disconnected, like my life was on hold until graduation, until I could be near Kent again. It was the worst year of my life.
Once the year was finally over, I felt relieved. Kent hadn’t fallen in love with another girl and, despite what I continually professed to my parents, I didn’t die from a broken heart. In August, I began college where Kent was. In September, we got engaged. The following May, we were married.
For a long time, I loathed the year that we had spent apart and the time it had stolen between the two of us. Then one day my entire perspective changed. Kent was telling me a story of something that had happened his freshman year of college (the year I was away). It involved sneaking off campus after curfew and doing stunts with fire and a shopping cart. To Kent, it was a glorious, spectacular night. To me, it sounded destructive and dangerous and if I had known about it, I would have put a stop to it immediately. And that’s when it hit me: I had done nothing but focus on the bad of that horrible year, but there was so much good going on in the background that I had missed.
Kent is carefree and adventurous; I’m cautious and sensible. He needed that year away from me to fully enjoy college. While I was worried about him falling for a college girl, he was far more interested in male-bonding than girl-chasing. Those bonds helped him become spiritually independent and develop his own identity in Christ.
Likewise, that year blessed me. My parents let me have more freedom and I responsibly gained their respect and trust. I learned how to be independent, like how to drive in heavy traffic and to explore new places by myself. That independence allowed me to be a leader in my youth group and explore my spiritual beliefs.
I am now convinced had we not spent that year apart, Kent and I would have eventually smothered each other with our continual presence. We both needed that year to grow and God gave us space to do that. It took years to realize that God had used that awful year to bless us both. When I was able to see that, my whole perspective on Who God is and how He works changed.
Take a moment to reflect back on your own God Winks. Did you always notice them immediately or did it take a while to realize God had winked at you? Remembering the times that God has winked at us can help strengthen our confidence in His love for us and His promises to us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God has not forgotten you. He loves you and, whether you can see it right now or not, He’s working everything out for your good. That’s His promise to you.