What Have You Lost?

Have you ever been sure of something, but then, it didn’t happen like you thought?

You were just sure he’d ask you to the prom. He didn’t. You were sure your team would beat your rival school from across town. They won. You were sure you’d get that key promotion. It went to the new guy. You were sure he was the man of your dreams. The marriage ended in divorce.


In high school ROTC, we had inspection every Friday during class. Best-Dressed competition was voluntary.

You arrived an hour before school started for an intense inspection. Uniforms were checked down to the minutest detail. Creases had to be perfect, and shirts wrinkle free. Ribbons were attached and patches sown the exact regulation distance from pockets or seams. Shoes shone like mirrors. Brass was polished to a perfect shine – no smudges, and no left over traces of Brasso Polish. The smallest “cable” (loose thread) was a demerit. You had to be able to answer any question over anything you had been taught regarding military science from chain of command, to weapons, to first aid…. I won.

On awards day, I even received the Brigade’s highest honors, Senior Army Instructor’s Ribbon, the Military Excellence ribbon, and the District Army Instructor’s ribbon. Whoever won Best-Dressed their junior year, was a shoo-in for Lieutenant Colonel, Battalion Commander, as a senior. The winner of the Military Excellence award sometimes even made full Colonel, Brigade Commander, over all the schools in the district.

Senior year came and promotions were announced. Battalion commander went to someone else. He hadn’t even placed 3rd in Best-dressed. Everyone was shocked. I was promoted to Major, S-2, third in command of the battalion. After class, I asked the instructor why. He said it went to the guy with the highest overall GPA. No one had ever said anything about that to us before. We thought it went to the guy who was the best in ROTC. I was disappointed.

I didn’t let it bother me too much, though. ROTC was something for high school, but as a youth, Africa seemed to be in my future. I was going to be a missionary. But, that’s a whole ‘nother plan. Over the next few posts, I’ll share some other unexpected turns in my life and look at how we can deal with those events in the light of God’s Word (if everything works according to plan).

Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we expect. It may be something simple. Or it may be something that seems to alter the course of our entire life.

Can you relate? What plans have you had that didn’t work out the way you expected? Small or large, can you share a time when it seemed your best plans and dreams were ship-wrecked?