What about Coincidences?

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
Albert Einstein

I love this quote by Mr. Einstein. How true it is! When we think of the word, “coincidence,” we tend to think along the standard definition’s description:

    “a chance happening: something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way; happening without planning.”

Ever had one of those experiences like that definition? You know, those weird, in sync, “hmm” kinds of moments which just seem to be too timely/helpful to be believed? If you call yourself a human being, more than likely, at one time or another, you probably have had a few. Meet God, being anonymous.

I myself have had a number of those weird in sync moments. Back at the height of my anorexia when I was nineteen, I had come across a girl who went to my high school, post high school. In the cliché line of thought, “it takes one to know one,” she, a recovering anorexic herself, had first approached me in a college history class we shared during the spring quarter of my freshman year, calling me out on my already too thin frame. Of course, I lied and denied, spooked by her allegation, desperately believing I could talk myself out of the uncomfortable encounter. At that point and time, she left it at that. Whew! Dodged a bullet there! I thought I was home free. After all, beyond sharing the same high school, the two of us had no real contact with one another. We weren’t in the same circle of friends. So, I thought I was in the clear. Not so fast, Sheryle!

Just three months later, during my summer break, I ran into her, yet again, seemingly “out of nowhere.” I was at the mall, nothing earth shattering. But the store, of all stores, to run into her, was a bid odd. Because of my already intense eating disorder behaviors, I was trying to occupy my mind with anything I could think of. One of my latest “answers” was crafting. Yes, that’s right. I said crafting. I guess I believed pipe cleaners and cross stitch kits could save me. So, I was a regular at the mall’s hobby store. How many college kids honestly frequent that place, right? I remember I was close to my lowest weight, attempting to keep from passing out, while looking at a dollhouse miniature section (really?), just trying to occupy my highly disturbed mind when, low and behold, once again, out of seemingly nowhere, appeared this same girl. Talk about feeling busted! We had the initial nervous chitchat, but, c’mon, we both knew the score. She was gentle as she could be, but eventually, came the moment of getting real. She again, brought up the dreaded curse words of “eating disorder” to my attention. And I had no where I had to be. I had no class I needed to escape to, nothing pressing I had to do. I just had to stand there in front of the dollhouse miniatures and converse with her.

The coincidence of this situation was that I was at a point in which I fully believed and argued with God that I was the only one who was grappling with my struggle, especially in this relatively small town rural area. No one else would get it; no one else would understand. It’s such a cunning and cliché lie, isn’t it? So, that was an awakening to the reality that no, I was not the only one. There were others. I was nowhere near healthy or in recovery mode, but this “coincidence” was a timely event which was relevantly needed by me. It was God.

And then there was the time when, after missing my bus, I was privy to a conversation between two strangers about a recent change to the bus schedule starting the next week. There would have been no other way I could have found out that information, other than to miss my connection at that time. Really? God’s involved in a bus schedule? Isn’t that too unimportant for God’s attention? No, God tells us about His thoughts for us…

I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Job 42:2

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalms 40:5

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.Psalms 139:2

And that leads me to a third coincidence. A few years ago, which attending a church Christmas raffle, one of the winning prizes was mentioned: two tickets to a ballet performance of “The Nutcracker.” Being a theatre fan (heck, I was a theatre graduate from college), I have always loved the arts: drawing, painting, film, stage productions and dance. So, this was right up there in my “heart’s desire” alley. I remember quietly talking to God in my mind, saying, “It sure would be great to win something like that.”

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time…
Psalm 69:13

So, do I need to tell you what happened next? Uh-huh. Guess who’s name was called for that particular prize? Coincidence? Not noteworthy? Not important enough? Or God at work?

I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. Psalms 119:59

It’s a question worth pondering in the circumstances of our lives, whatever they may be, don’t you think? God is a relevant God, not just a loving God. Scripture, in fact, tells us…

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek); for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”Matthew 6:31-32

But God encourages us to start with Him, by being in connection with Him first, in prioritizing Him…

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

And part of that means recognizing and respecting that God is not just a thing or an irrelevant coincidence. He is a very loving involved God and Father to each one of us.

Which way do we choose to see Him though? Is God timely with you? I’m sure you’ve heard the famous passage from Ecclesiastes. It’s often used at funerals:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Indeed, seasons, “coincidences” and time impact every single one of us…

…time and chance happeneth to them all.Ecclesiastes 9:11

But what’s more important than that is that God happens to each of us, in myriads of ways every day, whether or not we recognize or accept it. So, what will we do with the reality of both coincidence and God? Are they the same thing or is it, indeed, all God? Ancient Hebrew teachings reveals there is no such word for “coincidence” in their vocabulary. Does coincidence exist for you? Or is it all God, working intricately and relevantly on your behalf? Are you focused on God whenever something in your life syncs up? What if God is touching your life and connecting with you right now? What will you do with that?

A loving, connected and involved Heavenly Father to us all?

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:6

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.1 Corinthians 8:6

Hmmm… I think so! Coincidence? I think not!