Have you ever experienced a string of events that overlapped so much that they couldn’t be chalked up to coincidences? Certain movies are pretty bad about this: The odds of everything happening in just the right way are ridiculous to the point of unbelievability. We may intentionally exercise “suspension of disbelief” because we want to be entertained; still, if the movie is bad enough, when we think about it later, the combination of events that we watched was clearly contrived.
Other events have an assignable cause. I remember being home from college once, staying at my parents’ house, and a friend showed up at the door. We were having a nice time talking and catching up, when another friend appeared, and this continued throughout the evening. I confess to being a little obtuse, since it took a while for me to realize that my parents had invited them to stop by!
I think that all of us sometimes miss the reason why certain events are related, while elsewhere ascribing relationships where they don’t actually exist.
Whether we notice or not, like a good scriptwriter, God – the creator of the Universe, who remains involved with His creation – brings things together that can only logically occur through His intervention. Unlike a scriptwriter, God does so in real life – actual reality.
A comment on a previous article (“Don’t Make Things Too Difficult“) reminded me of that sort of God’s intervention: That article was posted the same week (despite having been scheduled long in advance) as a fellow writer posted something on a fairly similar topic. Here’s the comment:
I remember reading that article yesterday [A Lesson in Transition], and being forced to stop and think about the implications of “a class that never graduates”. Serving a sovereign God, I’m sure this is no coincidence, of course. (There must be a word for this sort of “holy timing”, when God inspires multiple followers of Jesus to talk about related topics, so that God’s message is multiplied by the combination.) May it always be about Him!
Unlike a scriptwriter (who is often focused on entertainment), God doesn’t just randomly bring things together. Yes, He created a world that is consistent and operates according to a specific set of rules. We reap what we sow (see Galatians 6:7-8). However, as the passage below reminds us, God’s word will accomplish His purpose. There is a purpose and a plan to our world, and God uses both the natural outcome of events, along with His intervention, to accomplish His intent.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:8-11 NASB
The story of humankind – whether situations recorded in the Bible, history documented by others, or the testimony of those who follow Jesus today – confirms that God uses both “good” and “bad” things to reach humanity, as He calls us to a restored family relationship with Him.
Sometimes, God allows us to see Him working to align the right things (people, messages, events, Bible verses, opportunities, thoughts, etc.) at just the right time. For instance:
- When the sermon text matches your devotions from that morning.
- When your friend needs to hear a message of hope from a passage that you just heard or read.
- When the pastor seems to be speaking directly to you (unless you’re supposed to be playing a song after the sermon, in which case, he is speaking directly to you…and you need to hurry up!).
Based on the frequency of how often this happens, as well as my own nearsightedness, I feel pretty safe in extrapolating His intervention to a host of times that I don’t notice. In one case, I had been praying (a lot!) for what I should be doing next for God, but I realized that He had moved some of my responsibilities out of the way, and lined things up so that I would be available to teach – at just the right time – to help out a class going through a couple of transitions. Along the way, I made some good friends, received additional ministry opportunities, and learned to not focus on another opportunity that I had thought would materialize. In fact, that other opportunity didn’t come to fruition when I had expected it to (not that this was a surprise to God, of course), and if I had remained too focused on it, I would have missed the chance to meet some delightful students.
So, if you’re in a great spot, and it seems like everything is falling into place, be sure to take a moment to thank God for His guidance and plan, which brings things together.
And, if you’re fighting what seems to be an uphill battle, where you cry out to God and just don’t see how He is going to make things work out, I hope that you can stand on the many promises that God has fulfilled. In doing so, may your faith be strengthened by facts, and carry you through to the other side of the challenge.