It happened again this week. One of those strange, unexpected coincidences, completely out of my control, starting bad, but turning out well in the end.
I had been invited to tell missionary stories at a small group meeting and was ready with a five minute PowerPoint of photos to get the questions started. I had prayed, “God, I have no idea who these people are, or what they need to hear, so please guide this whole evening, and use me to give them what they need.”
Like all authors, I wanted to be ready to sell some of my books, so when I arrived, I reached for the bag of my books that lives in the back of my car. It was not there! No idea where it went or who moved it or why. So, no chance to sell books after the meeting. I was not pleased.
A few hours later, however, I was very pleased indeed. At the end of the evening, one young man urgently wanted to talk with me at length about accountability and other personal issues. When we finished talking, another young man asked if we could go somewhere private. We sat in my car and talked and prayed together about some deeply personal and spiritual concerns. As I finally drove home, I realized that if I had been busy talking to potential book buyers, I would probably have missed those personal ministry opportunities.
Who arranged for those books to be taken out of my car? The same One who wanted me to help those two young men gain a better perspective of God and His work. It was yet another instance of God, who inhabits eternity, working in space and time on planet Earth.
Some Christians call this phenomena, “God’s Sovereignty”, “The Hidden Hand of God”, Providence, Divine Coincidence, or just refer to it as “A God Thing”. Whatever we call it, we can be sure that when we pray to the Eternal One in the heavens, He often reaches down into space and time on earth and arranges situations to answer the prayer.
He has been doing this for a long time. I love the story of the apostle Philip in Acts 8. An angel tells Philip to stop preaching in Samaria and travel down to the road that runs from Jerusalem to the port city of Gaza. So Philip starts to walk south, taking about two days to cover the 65 kilometers to reach that 80 kilometres long, east to west road that links Jerusalem to Gaza. At the very moment he reaches the intersection a chariot comes rattling along with an Ethiopian official who is reading Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus. He leads the man to faith in Jesus, baptizes him, then sends him on his way to evangelize his home country.
What are the chances of Philip arriving at the intersection just at that time? I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time connecting with my own wife in a Safeway store! Even when we are only two aisles apart!
I wonder what God thinks when He arranges situations on earth to advance His Kingdom, or bless His people following prayer or a word from Him, and all He hears is, “Wow, what an amazing coincidence!”
Let’s make sure we are discerning Christians who recognize God’s Hidden Hand and praise Him for organizing the Divine Coincidences in our lives.
Do you have any God-Incidence stories? Are you generating praise to God by passing them on?