November 13, 2013
God is not in the Coincidence Business
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I’ve already mentioned this week how much I love the book of Ruth. Divine providence is behind every twist and turn in the story of Ruth—the famine that led the family to Moab, the marriages to Moabite women, the deaths of Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, the lifting of the famine in Bethlehem, Naomi’s return to her homeland, Ruth’s gleaning in Boaz’s field, Boaz’s notice of Ruth, the refusal of the next in line to be Ruth’s kinsmen-redeemer, and Boaz and Ruth’s subsequent marriage. The string of events are strung like pearls on the thread of God’s providence and secured in place with the knot of His love.
Have you ever noticed such a stringing of events in your own life? My friend, Gayle, experienced one particular series of events that were most definitely orchestrated by God. She started having trouble with her knees in her early thirties. Chronic pain in her right knee sent her to the doctor’s office on a regular basis for cortisone injections. Because Gayle’s mother had joint pain in her knees for most of her adult life, Gayle resolved herself to the same fate—arthritis. The doctors never X-rayed or performed an MRI to diagnose the problem but prescribed treatment according to symptoms and a family history of joint pain.
One night, after five years of cortisone injections, Gayle, her husband Joe, and another couple attended their college alma mater basketball game. On the way home, Gayle twisted around in her front seat to face the couple in the back. As they chatted, she noticed an 18-wheel semi-trailer truck’s headlights rapidly approaching their car. Surely he’s going to stop, she thought. But before she could even warn the other passengers, the truck plowed into the back of their car at 55 miles per hour. Because of Gayle’s position, her knees were smashed into the dashboard.
The driver of the truck had fallen asleep at the wheel and never even applied the brakes before impact. Gayle and Joe’s car, a heavy Lincoln Continental, was totaled, but no one in the car was hurt except Gayle. Her knees were black, blue, and swollen within a couple of hours.
When Gayle went to the doctor the next day, he decided to take an x-ray to make sure there were no broken bones. “Gayle,” he said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a slow growing tumor in your right knee.”
“A tumor? How long has it been there?” she asked.
“Well, this is a very slow growing type of tumor which has probably been there for several years. The pain that you’ve been experiencing in the past has most likely not been due to arthritis, but due to the tumor causing the bone to expand as it grows. We’re going to have to remove it right away.”
“I can’t do it right away,” she answered. “I have a two-week counseling course that I’m going to next week. I’ve been on the waiting list for two years, so this tumor is going to have to wait. You did say it was slow-growing, correct?”
“Yes,” he answered, “but I wouldn’t wait a day longer than necessary. You are a very lucky, young lady. If you had not been in that car accident, we may have not found the tumor until it was too late.”
Gayle smiled. Luck had nothing to do with it. God was in control.
Gayle did go on the counseling seminar. On the last night, 750 committed Christians gathered around her and prayed for her knee. The next day, when the doctor went in to remove the tumor, he was amazed to find that this slow-growing tumor had rapidly begun to shrink.
“Once again,” the doctor said as he showed Gayle the new pre-op X-ray of a much smaller tumor, “you are a lucky girl. The tumor was smaller today than it was two weeks ago.”
Once again, Gayle knew luck had nothing to do with it. She then shared with the doctor about the 750 people who had prayed for her the night before.
Many times when something seemingly bad happens in our lives, we need to remember that God is the director of the drama.
We may not understand the “whys” or the “what-fors” but we can trust in the God who controls it all.
Kathy Collard Miller said it so well: “Nothing that happens to the child of God is a coincidence, and when we look at every situation and encounter as God-directed, we will more easily fulfill His plan. This knowledge should also make each of us feel needed, valuable, and important: We are fulfilling God’s purposes for His kingdom.”
Just when it looks life has spun out of control, God stops the spin, picks up the broken pieces, and creates a beautiful mosaic—a work of art which He had planned all along.
Lord, I am so thankful that there are no coincidences in my life, but only God-incidences. Open my eyes to see You at work. Don’t let me miss Your fingerprints on the pages of my days.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Scan Ruth chapter 2 and see how many God-incidences you can find.
Can you think of a time when what seemed like a coincidence turned out to be God working in your life?
Can you think of a time when something that seemed bad at the time turned out to be something good?
I’d love to hear your answers to either one of those questions. Let’s talk. Click over to my Facebookpage and share your answer.
More from the Girlfriends
It is easy to miss God’s fingerprints on the pages of your days. We have to be expecting them, looking for them, and have our senses trained to detect them. In my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, I show you how to recognize God’s presence right smack dab in the middle of your busy days. You can download a free sample chapter and watch videos on my Sudden Glory page. Check it out!
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