“Once you believe in God there is no such thing as coincidence,” a wise woman once said to me.
I have been feeling betrayed since the beginning of this week. I’ve experienced anger, sadness, loneliness, and disgust. Airing my dirty laundry and the circumstances that brought on these feelings are not the reason for this writing; instead, it is to be an example of what that wise woman said about God and coincidence.
Struggling to make sense of what I was experiencing, my wife sent me a picture from our children’s nightly devotional book. Before tucking them into bed, my wife reads with our children a Bible devotion from Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids. Unlike most evenings, I was not present for this one which read, in part: “Sooner or later, someone in your life – someone you really counted on – will let you down. You can end up feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed. You may feel like you are falling, with no one to catch you or help you up. So who do you count on? Count on Me (God).I will never let you down.”
As you continue to the bottom of the page, the devotional includes a “read on your own” Bible text; the one listed for this day was Psalm 73:23-26. As soon as I read it, I knew it was familiar. I opened my YouVersion Bible App and clicked on my current reading plan: Psalms. I began this reading plan, which takes 31 days to complete, a little over two weeks ago. “Coincidentally,” the first psalm listed for that day’s reading, which I had already finished, was Psalm 73. I scrolled to the suggested verses, and wouldn’t you know it, I had previously highlighted verse 26: “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever” (NLT).
I could have begun that reading plan any other day of the year (or not have chosen it at all), and Psalm 73 would not have been the reading for that exact day. On top of it, as it coincided with our evening devotional from Jesus Calling, it wasn’t a random devotional that we just happened upon by flipping through the pages. As you can see from the photo of the page, this particular devotional is dated February 18, the same date as my Psalm reading plan that included the 73rd Psalm!
I am not saying that God ordained Sara Young, the author of Jesus Calling, to publish that particular devotion, for that exact calendar day, written exclusively for me. I’m also not saying that God made me begin reading through the Book of Psalms on a structured reading plan on YouVersion fifteen days prior so it would precisely align with a children’s devotional book.
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NLT)
What I am saying is that this incident is not a coincidence… it’s God. I believe this shows that when we move away from our own volitions and self-dependencies, we allow God to speak into our lives. In fact, God is always speaking to us, we just need to listen. When we take the time to not only pray or read Scripture, but to pay attention to those around us, we may actually hear the message that God is saying to us. For me, amongst my negative feelings that have consumed my mind this week, with a little help from my wife, God’s message finally became clear: “my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart.”
So when all those seemingly random things in our lives occur and oddly line up, it might just be that there is no such thing as “coincidence,” only God-incidence.