What Coincidences Teach Us about God

I love to share the story of my wife Elaine’s father’s journey to the USA from his native country of Sweden. When he arrived at the port in England to board the ship he was notified that a mistake had occurred in his paperwork. The confusion resulted in his coming to America on the Franconia rather than the Titanic!
Had my father-in-law’s original plans worked out I would never have had the opportunity of marrying Elaine, my wife of more than 60 years, since his ticket to the USA would have put him in steerage—a part of the ship where virtually no one survived the sinking.Recently, I experienced a far less dramatic coincidence. I was attempting to help some Christian leaders in Indiana who had a ministry in a relatively small city in Mexico.  My network of contacts included the name of a person in the US that I thought might be able to point me in the right direction. To my amazement, when I dialed his number, he answered his phone and informed me that at that very moment he was in that very city in Mexico. Furthermore, he was very familiar with the ministry the church in Indiana was involved with!



These and other stories I could share illustrate the reality of God’s presence and the extent to which He participates in human affairs. This reality differs greatly from the common notion of God as a distant, impersonal observer whose primary role is to find fault with human behavior. The truth is, God is an active participant in every aspect of His creation. Notice how Jesus described this reality in the words of Matthew:


Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.  But even the hairs of your head have all been counted.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).


God’s sovereignty tells us that He is ultimately in charge of everything.  In a more personal sense, it is also about the constancy of His awareness and care for us—a reflection of the reality of His active participation and control. Notice how I frame this truth in Principle #23 in Acts in my Life Essentials Study Bible:


When events happen that are difficult to accept and understand, we must remember that God is sovereign and ultimately in control of our lives.


As God reminds us of His loving presence—sometimes through unexpected, seemingly coincidental circumstances—let’s remember to thank Him for the way He keeps watch over our lives.