I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but  I have to admit that over the past few months, I have noticed a pattern of odd occurrences in my life.  While I was minding my own business during a bike ride on the afternoon of August 4, I was bitten twice in the calf by a mean dog. The rest of my evening until midnight was spent at the emergency room in Jesup which coincidentally was the same night that downtown Jesup was on fire, so I never even got to see a doctor due to all of the other emergencies coming in.

On the morning of September 4, while still nursing the scars on my leg from the dog bites, I had to a  have a colonoscopy due to some other health issues. Sorry, but having a colonoscopy is not one of my favorite things to do when I take the day off from work. (Now you can see a little bit of why I wrote my last blog about my expected blessings being different than I had hoped.) Thankfully, I made it through the procedure, but when I realized that there appeared to be a pattern forming on the fourth of every month, you can imagine my fear when I realized that our golf tournament this year was scheduled for October 4!  I held my breath that the weather would be good and the players would be available. Every imaginable problem went through my mind as the tournament date drew closer and closer.

I am happy to report now, looking back with the tournament one week in the past, that the weather was perfect, the golfers showed up to give us a full house, and the return of our hole sponsors was amazing. The tournament, despite me ripping a huge hole in my jeans, went off without a hitch. Many thank yous to our family, board members, and friends who helped tirelessly throughout the day to make everything run so smoothly. Also, many thanks to our friends who traveled just to help and those who scheduled their Saturday plans just so they could play. Every single person involved made our tournament a huge success once again.

By the time the tournament ended, I had hopes that my pattern of coincidental bad luck on the fourth of every month had ended as well. Unfortunately, by late afternoon, I was keenly aware that the streak continued when my favorite number one ranked college football team, The University of Alabama, was surprisingly beaten by a number ten ranked, Ole Miss. My husband was  happy, along with every Ole Miss fan, but for me, the aggravation on the fourth continued for yet another month.

Coincidence. We could probably have a big debate about whether or not coincidence is real or events happen by design. This past weekend I watched a news segment about this debate. A specialist in probability was interviewed and he explained that coincidence can be explained scientifically based on chance and numbers. When you think about someone and the phone rings with that same person on the other end, it is simply a coincidental encounter that skeptics would say happened by chance. On the other hand, some people believe that there is no such thing as coincidence but a grand designer orchestrates every single event in our lives.

The news segment highlighted a man who calls such orchestrated events, “Godwinks.” Many books have been written about these so-called, “Godwinks” when they happen to people. Followers of this line of thinking take math and science out of the explanation, and they believe that God is in control of these random events that all line up at the same exact moment in time. During the news segment, the man who coined the phrase, “Godwink” said that these events happen to us every single day if we will just look for them. He said, “Once you see one Godwink, you will never stop looking for them and then you will see them all the time.”

I know which side of the fence the Rowland family is on. We believe there is a grand designer who has a map for each person’s life. That plan is designed by God long before any of us are born on this earth, and that mapped out plan includes events in our lives to bring about God’s purpose and good. Not saying that every event that occurs will feel good or make us happy all the time, but those events when woven together with the map of others could be used exponentially to bring about good. We do not believe in coincidence; we believe that this grand designer, God, has a perfect plan.

There are many Bible verses that speak to the plans that God has for each of us. Jeremiah 29:11 is a popular one. “‘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.'” For me, one of the ways I remember that God’s plan is good is to think about the third verse of the old song, “Amazing Grace.” This verse says, “The Lord has promised good to me; His Word, my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”

Over and over I have said and sang those first seven words to myself when I felt as if the events of my life were taking me under. “The Lord has promised good to me…” From the beginning of my life, and even before, God had a plan that included good. Some days have certainly felt better than others, but I have to believe that the overall design includes a lot more good than bad.

I sat at a red light a few weeks ago, I could read the big electronic billboard nearby. The ad for our annual golf tournament ran on this billboard for a few weeks prior to October 4. As I sat there and saw our ad, in big letters, I read “The Holt Rowland Foundation” as the details about the tournament were listed underneath. As I wondered what Holt would think about having his name up in lights, I could not help but think about the people that read that ad every year and how some people may feel sorry for Holt and our family. That thought made me want to cry at first, then it made me want to scream. “The Lord has promised good to me….and to Holt!”

From before I was even born myself, God had already designed a plan for good for Holt. Hard to believe that before his mother was alive, Holt’s plan was already mapped out, but I believe it is true. See, my life’s plan included Holt’s plan; the wonderful years of raising him, the experiences through his death, and the formation of this foundation. None of these events happened by random scientific or mathematical probability; it has been God’s plan all along. And while I sit in wonder and often question the purpose at times, thankfully God has already got everything worked out in the future. All I have to do is look for what he is doing every single day and keep following His direction.

I have realized that it is not just my life’s plan that included Holt, but his life touched so many others too. I have been writing a whole book of stories just so you can see that nothing in Holt’s life happened by chance. I know that all our family has been through was by God’s divine plan, and that plan for good continues on today. Even with Holt living in heaven, God’s good plan for his life on earth still continues. God has been able to bring about exponential good in so many ways that have nothing to do with coincidence. Despite the problems we encounter in life, God has promised good to his children. We just have to be willing to look for it.

I do not know what November 4 will hold, but regardless, please do not ever feel sorry for Holt Rowland. The Lord promised good to Holt, and God continues to  fulfill that promise. Holt is one of the most blessed people that I know. With what God has done through his life already and what He will continue to do through our foundation in the future, there will be many Godwinks for us all to see.

On behalf of Holt Rowland and “The Holt Rowland Foundation,” thank you for reading our blog. Thank you again to our 2014 hole sponsors and players. Thank you to Thomas Pirkle and Bubba Burger, Conecuh sausage, Moon Pie, Pepsi, Stewart’s Candy, Micheal’s Deli, Bridge Community Church, and all the many people and businesses who helped make our golf tournament a success. We look forward to finding out what God has planned next.