27. A Thousand Ways

27. A Thousand Ways

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

A Thousand Ways

Challenges make you discover things about yourself
that you never really knew.

~Cicely Tyson

Heavy snow fell outside the home of Dick Osborn’s parents in Boise, Idaho. Dick sat quietly in his room brooding about a dating relationship that had ended. Reaching for his Bible, he read Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

Normally Dick wasn’t the type to give God an ultimatum, but this particular evening, he felt lonely and depressed thinking about his ex-girlfriend, Sandy. He reached in his pocket for a quarter and flipped it up in the air, saying, “Lord, if it lands heads up, I will get back with Sandy and marry her someday. If it doesn’t, I know that isn’t your will.” The coin landed tails up.

“No, Lord,” Dick said, “that’s not the right answer. Let’s go two out of three.” He tossed the coin into the air once more, and it landed tails up again. After the fourth time, Dick groaned, “Well, this is just a bunch of hokey anyway.”

Glancing around the room, Dick’s gaze fell on a magazine lying upside down on the rug. On the back was an advertisement for the book Parables for Young Teens. He pleaded, “Lord, who am I going to marry, then?” Staring at the book’s picture, he read the author’s name and said, “Susan F. Titus?” Again, he flipped his coin up in the air, but this time it landed heads up.

“Well, that just proves that this really is a bunch of hokey. I don’t even know anyone named Susan F. Titus, let alone what state she’s in. How could I possibly marry her?” He soon forgot the incident and tried to move on in his life.

Months later, Dick sat laughing and talking with his church group.

“The thing I miss most from my previous marriage is the baseball tickets to the California Angels,” one young woman said.

“It happens that I’ve got season tickets to a box seat. Maybe we can go sometime,” Dick said.

She whispered discretely, “I’d like to, but I’m dating someone.”

Dick smiled and responded glibly, “Let me know if you ever change your mind.”

Several months later, Dick was disappointed to learn that his old girlfriend, Sandy, was engaged to someone else. The following Sunday he walked with his baseball-fan friend from the church sanctuary to the parking lot. She stopped and said, “Dick, remember what you said about my telling you if I ever changed my mind about going out with you?”


“Well, I’d like to.”

A smile lit his face. “Okay.”

They had lunch the following Wednesday, and soon their romance blossomed. Before long, they were engaged. One day, while Dick was carrying some of her son’s things upstairs, he noticed a framed poster hanging on the hallway wall, which read: Parables for Young Teens by Susan F. Titus.

He stared openmouthed, then turned to his fiancée. “Sue, did you write that book?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Why else would I have it hanging on my wall?”

He didn’t respond, but just stared incredulously.

Later on their honeymoon, one evening Dick squeezed Susan’s hand and said, “I have a story to tell you, and you’re going to find it hard to believe. “ Before he started the story, however, Dick took a coin from his pocket and flipped it. “Heads. I won,” he said, and then he began.


~Susan Titus Osborn
Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul

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