Things Happen for a Reason

Hoosier Perspectives

Temporary disappointment can melt into a bigger victory.

Published on: August 3, 2011

If you believe that there is a higher power in charge, which I do, than it's only a short leap of faith to believe that sometimes things happen for a reason, even if they're not what you thought you wanted to happen at the time. You just have to be willing to remember that the sun comes up in the morning, hold your head high, and focus on what you do best. If something is supposed to come your way, it will.

Earlier this summer I helped a young FFA person prepare to run for state FFA office. First the student had to decide if they wanted to make the commitment to a year of service or not. Being a state FFA officer in Indiana requires a year out of college. The rewards can be great. My son was a state FFA officer two years ago, and it was a life-changing experience that pushed him further out of the cocoon of shyness he inherited from yours truly than even he thought possible.

The sacrifice can also be great, including time away from family and friends, long hours working on projects, and lots of travel, and if you're not careful, a speeding ticket sprinkled in here or there. So you have to think long and hard before you decide to run for an office. I won't help someone unless they go through that thought process and decide to give it their all.

The young person I helped this year spent a long time in that process. But in the end, the person decided it was worth it, and if it was worth it, it was worth giving it the best shot possible. Already accepted into Purdue University, there was a fall back plan, but in mid-June, the goal was to become an Indiana FFA state officer.

The process of picking officers has never been perfect, and never will be. It's almost an impossible task that has boiled down these days to asking nine people to interview 15 to 20 young people, all qualified, for two days, and suggest a slate of seven people to be officers. For some 15 years, the slate has been accepted, so the committee is in effect selecting the officers.

On Tuesday night before the final day of convention, candidates go to a lonely room, get an envelope, and then take whomever they want to wherever they want to open it. I truly thought this person had an excellent chance- talented, personable, capable, dependable- all the right stuff. I was there when the student opened the envelope and calmly read the list- their name wasn't on it. There were a few tears, but the person knew the reality of the process going in, and was happy for the seven other people who were elected.

Life moved on, sort of. That very next Saturday the FFA member was in a major wreck that was someone else's fault. Fortunately, the member wasn't injured. Life moved on again. Every morning the sun cane up and the student began to get ready for Purdue.

The only problem was that the parents were going to have to give a big assist to pay college bills. This student came in third in a county of 125,000 people for a full-ride Lilly Scholarship Grant. Unfortunately, they only give two per county. I've been told the odds of someone backing out once they get it are somewhere around 1 in 25.

Failure is not getting knocked down, it's failing to get up- I didn't say that, but I'll attribute it to my minister, because he used the quote just last week. Two days later, while the parents were preparing to transfer money, they received a call, out of the blue. One of the county Lilly winners was declining the scholarship to go to a missionary program out of state. Since their child was next in line, the scholarship was theirs, if they wanted it.

That was a pretty quick decision. Had this person been serving FFA, would the scholarship have been held, or would the selection committee have moved to the next alternate? I can't answer that question. And this is in no way a knock to the current FFA officers, they're off to a flying start. But I firmly believe this summer unfolded for this young person as God intended it to unfold. There were tests, disappointments, life-changing moments, and in the end, an earthly reward.

Yes, things happen for a reason. It may not help much when you tell it to someone who just suffered a major disappointment or loss. But it is certainly sweet to say when the One greater than us unveils the plan that was meant to happen all along.