Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
The story is told of a grieving daughter at the funeral of her dearest friend - her mother. Mom had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; she found it hard to breathe at times.
"What now, Lord?" she prayed sitting in church. Her life stretched out before her as an empty abyss. Her brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife's hand. Her sister sat slumped against her husband's shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed that the grieving daughter sat all alone.
Her place had been with her mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now mom was with the Lord. Her work was finished, and she was all alone.
Just seconds before the church service was beginning a side door opened and slammed shut. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpet. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and sat next to her just as the music started to play. His eyes were brimming with tears.
He began to sniffle. "I'm late," he explained. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, "Why do they keep calling Mary by 'Margaret'?"
"Oh" "Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary! No one called her 'Mary,'" she whispered back to the man. She wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church! He interrupted her grieving. Who was this stranger anyway?
"No, that isn't correct," he insisted, as several people glanced over at the two whispering as the service continued unabated, "Her name is Mary, Mary Humphreys." "That isn't who this is, she replied."
"Isn't this the Lutheran church?" "No, the Lutheran church is across the street." "Oh." "I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir, she noted."
The solemn occasion mixed with the realization of the man's mistake bubbled up inside her and came out as laughter. She cupped her hands over her face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave her away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious.
She peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside her. He was laughing too --- she imagined her mother joining in the laughter. At the final "Amen," everyone darted out a door. Then she heard a voice from behind her, "I do believe we'll be the talk of the town," he smiled. He said his name was Chuck and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, he asked her out for a cup of coffee.
That afternoon began a lifelong journey for this woman with this man named Chuck who attended the wrong funeral, but came at the right time and the right place. A year after their meeting, they were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time they both arrived at the right time and the right place at the right church.
In her time of sorrow, God gave her laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave her love. Whenever anyone asks them how they met, Chuck tells 'em, "Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us at the right time and place, and it's truly a match made in heaven."
Corrie ten Boom may have said it best: "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." And with the Lord as the engineer HE has a knack of always showing up at the right time in the right place.
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