My parents were married 41 years until my mother passed away in 1977. A few years after Mom’s death, Dad came to visit my husband and me in Houston, Texas. My sister also came with him so we could have a mini-reunion. Dad did not feel well when he arrived after that long drive across Texas. Soon after dinner, he retired early for the night.
During dinner, he mentioned how lonely he had become since Mom's passing. But he didn't want to date “some old lady with lots of wrinkles,” disregarding the fact that he had them. Later that evening, around midnight, Sister, John, and I decided to pray for Dad. We sat down cross-legged on the floor (something I wish I could do today). As we were praying for his healing, my sister added a simple request for the Lord to send him a wife.
The next morning all was well with him, no sign of sickness at all. We had a late breakfast and shortly after our meal, the phone rang. It was a woman asking to speak to Desmond Wood. I called Dad to the phone, and his first words to her were, “You were supposed to be my wife.” That call went on for about an hour before they finally hung up. We could hardly wait to hear what he had to say about the woman who had tracked him down at my house (she had obtained my number from one of our relatives in Arizona).
It turns out that this lady was Dad's first love when he was 18 years old. Her name was Maxine, and her family lived in the neighboring town of Gila Bend. Her dad was a minister of one of the churches there. They dated a while, and things began to get serious. However, her dad did not approve of this courtship because Dad's mother also owned a store that sold beer. Her dad put in for a transfer to minister in California and soon moved her out of Dad’s reach.
Dad told me later he was so heartbroken that he went to bed and curled up in a fetal position for several days. When he finally came to grips with the fact that he could not have her for a wife, he got up, washed his face, and went on with his life. His relationship with Maxine had quite an impact on his spiritual life. Even though she was no longer in his life, he enrolled in seminary school. Dad, being a very intellectual man, decided to drop out of seminary after a few months because he believed some of the teachings of this particular denomination were contrary to the bible.
He later fell in love again, married my mother, and the three of us were born out of their union. But now, so many years later, Dad was single again, and the thought of hearing from Maxine was thrilling. We enjoyed a great family visit in my home over the next two weeks, and then Dad returned to Arizona.
He and Maxine talked on the phone every evening. Dad invited her to join him on a trip he was taking with Soil Conservation, and she agreed. She had never flown before, and the thought of it made her quite nervous. Even so, she booked a flight from California to Arizona. Her plane landed in Phoenix, and Dad said he never saw a wrinkle on her face as she walked down the steps of the aircraft; all he saw was the sixteen-year-old girl he fell in love with those many years ago.
During the flight to his meeting, he asked her to marry him. She accepted his proposal, and they began planning their wedding. They were married the following November in California. She settled in well at Dad’s country home in Arizona. It was so much fun watching those two acting like teenagers in love. Their passion and relationship was a beautiful thing to observe, and their intense love never waned throughout their marriage. I realized then never to underestimate the power of a simple one-sentence prayer request.
Many times, we give up on our dreams and desires too soon. We never know when our answer is right around the corner, and we walk into God’s perfect timing without even realizing it.