Major was a successful man in most regards. He had a loving, trusting wife. Their union was blessed with children. Gainfully employed, he was able to provide them with a comfortable home and most of the desires of their hearts.
As Major considered his life one day he pondered that though he was blessed to have more than many others, many others had more than he did. He became dissatisfied and considered ways to increase his income.
Being a moral man, Major ruled out illegal and unscrupulous means to acquire more money. Being a lazy man he ruled out a second job. Being an impatient man he ruled out improving himself and entering a more lucrative career.
But, he thought, what if I take a chance on instant riches. Opportunities presented themselves to him every day. He could invest in a wildcat stock. Or he could buy lottery tickets. Or he could visit the card tables and slot machines of a casino.
Being a man with unwarranted faith in his card playing abilities, Major entered a large Texas Hold’Em tournament that weekend. Saying it was a business trip and feigning remorse he left his family for two days. He was convinced that on Sunday evening he would return to them with great news and riches that would justify his lie.
Alas, that was not what happened. Major’s experiment in lucrative gambling failed to produce the desired win and reward. He’d spent budget money on the tournament entry fee. Now it had to be replaced or his wife would wonder what happened to it.
Withdrawing wager money from a convenient ATM he began his ill-fated campaign of cover up. After a fruitless evening and two more withdrawals he went to bed horrified at what he had done.
Early the next morning, after a restless night, Major returned to the casino floor. He breathed a desperate prayer of repentance and petitioned for divine assistance. Almost immediately, as though in merciful answer from on high, he won a slot machine progressive jackpot that instantly restored what he had lost the previous day. Relieved and thankful, Major collected the winnings and drove home.
His wife was none the wiser until she saw the gambling income Major reported on the tax form. His explanation did little to defuse her anger over the true nature of his ‘business trip’. It especially bothered her that he had continued the lie for so many months.
She brushed aside all of his reasons and explanations when he stressed his intentions had been good. She assumed there must have been other secret trips to the casino and other sordid indiscretions committed during those jaunts. In a matter of weeks she became so convinces of her suspicions that she filed for divorce. She took away Major’s family and eventually was awarded most of his substance.
His resulting gloomy mood was the primary reason for his dismissal from his job. Before long he was destitute, living in his car. The day came when he had only enough gas in the tank to drive the car over Suicide Bluff. As he pondered the possibility he reflected on how his calamity had precipitated from his gambling experiment. He also remembered his muttered cry for divine help just before he won the weekend saving jackpot. Had God cared enough to allow the reels to align or was it happenstance? He decided there was one way to find out…another experiment.
“Lord,” he prayed earnestly. Someone passing by could have heard him, but he didn’t care. “I really messed up didn’t I? Well, no more doing things my way. You say I can prove your promises are true by trying them and trusting you. Well, I’m taking you up on that. Forgive me for pretty much ignoring you up to now. From here on out, show me what to do and I will do it with your help. Amen.”
A tap on his window announced that someone was outside. It was his wife. She was crying.
Major rolled down his window.
“Major, I need to talk to you.”
“Did you mean what I just heard? I need to know because I think I messed up too and I’ve missed you so much. Do you think there’s a chance we could get back together?”
Major got out of the car and faced her. After a tentative pause they joined into a forgiving, restoring embrace.
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