Monday, August 16, 2004

Coincidence? I think not!

Some people call it a coincidence; some people call it serendipity, which roughly translates to a happy accident, others just call it dumb luck. What all of these people have in common is a distinct lack of faith in a loving God who has counted every hair on our heads, and has so carefully ordered our steps so as to keep us on the right path.

I no longer believe in accidents, nothing is outside of God’s careful plan. When things seem to work out despite our best efforts to thwart them, what other explanation could there be?

One time I was rushing home from work, thinking about what I was going to cook my family for dinner. Just before I reached my turn off of the highway I decided I wanted something else for dinner, so I drove to the store instead of home. As I was walking through the store I ran into someone that I had been trying to get in touch with for days. Coincidence? No way.

The day our youngest daughter almost drown in our pool, I was trying to reach a priest to come to the hospital. Our pastor, who had a special place in his heart for our daughter was on vacation in Canada. In desperation a friend of ours left a message on his rectory answering machine hoping someone was screening his calls for emergencies. An hour after she left the message, who should walk into the hospital but our Pastor. He had in fact left for Canada three days prior, but not 100 miles from home his nephew’s car had horrible transmission trouble and the trip had to be scratched. He had just gotten back into town that afternoon and had gone out to dinner with a friend and returned home just as the message was being left. Would you call this a coincidence? I would call it God’s tender care. Fr. was with us when our daughter opened her eyes a few hours after he got to the hospital and prayed with us. She looked right up at him and said hi.

I have seen too many happy accidents to think of them as anything but God’s tender care. I know He orders my steps carefully, and He makes allowances for my short comings. I am always in awe, but seldom amazed at what God can do in this world.

God can even use totally unwilling messengers. My one brother professes not to believe in God. In fact he has said before that he stopped believing in God when he was 6 years old. Yet, there have been many times when I have read something he wrote which has answered a prayer in my heart, or has helped me to see something more clearly. My thought at those times is my brother may not believe in God, but God believes in my brother; thank God!

I dare you to go through an entire day keeping track of every happy accident, or coincidence, or piece of dumb luck that you experience. Perhaps you will begin to feel a sense of awe at how carefully God takes care of you.



Lynn said...

I am somewhat skeptical about your anecdotes proving that there is no such thing as chance. For instance, your story about meeting an acquaintance at the grocery store does not seem all that extraordinary. That is, unless they just happened to be passing through the area from way out of town and decided to stop at the store while they were waiting for the next plane. Is it possible that your acquaintence shops at the same grocery as you do quite frequently because they live in the same area?

I do have a bias toward statistics and probability though, at least as far as explaining some chance events. I don't claim any sort of elegant counter argument, but you might want to think about certain kinds of explanation for chance events that may still fit well with your religious beliefs.

Unknown said...

I did forget to mention in my blog entry that I work in a town that is 30 minutes from the town in which I live, so just "bumping into" someone in a store in a town 30 miles from where they live is indeed not an every day occurrance.

If you want to be a skeptic I will allow that. But you should allow me my faith then as well.

Suzanne said...

Oh, you go, Maggie O! I know this doesn't sound really intellectual or even highly philosophical,or particularly theological, however, sometimes you just know what you know what you is that some of us alot of the time just seem bent on doubting. Instead of enjoying the intriguing parts of mystery
and giving faith a little room to grow, a person may instead
rather enjoy just believing everything is just coincidence or
chance and never take the "chance" of stepping out and trusting
with faith. You do, Maggie! Don't let anyone or anything ever
take that from you! :)