coincidence

recently i shared an incredible story i heard in church of God being able to take a story that looked like it contained contradictory elements [people being told their adopted children were going to be two different sets of ages] and making them both happen, which you can read about here.

my own recent story contains more coincidence than miracle and so is a lot easier to explain away perhaps, but not to me.

a few weeks ago i attended the CCDA Christian Communities Development conference in New Orleans and after one session where i heard some incredible stories from this man Father Boyle who has worked with gang members for the last thirty years i was broken. i sat in the meeting hall [of i would say 2000 people capacity] as people filed out and they even started putting up dividers to close my edge section off from the main hall section where they were about to have an open mic session.

i was sitting and calling out to God with a sense of ‘what am i doing?’ in response to this message of this man who had dedicated his life to these young people and was seeing incredible results. i know God uses me through online stuff and speaking and writing opportunities when i get those, but in terms of face to face difference making i was just feeling completely low and useless. so really just a cry of ‘what difference is my life making?’

the room had mostly emptied when this older [than me] mom type lady comes up to me with a ‘Brett?’ kind of question and i say ‘Yes’ and she introduces herself. She is a South African who is currently doing a year of study in the States and she goes on to tell me how i had a huge influence in the lives of her two daughters [who are now i think 23 and 21] when they were at school and possibly her son as well.

like really? i am sitting crying out to God about my effectiveness as a God-following person in the middle of Americaland at a conference full of Americaneses and He sends a South African woman to come and look for me to tell me that i had some influence in her family.

coincidence? possibly. God-incident? it just seemed to be so well timed and perfect to be otherwise.

i’m not a big fan of the God-finds-me-parking-places theology because of all the times i’ve asked and He hasn’t and because some people tend to attribute things that were clearly not specifically God to God which to me tends to reduce the times somewhat when it actually is God. i also can’t get my brain around how God was able to bring that lady to come find me and how i completely believe that she operated in her free will both at the same time and yet somehow it just works – maybe God is more largely into the prompting and suggesting business than the picking-people-up-and-marching-them-like-a-robot-into-the-next-room business…

what i do know is that i was feeling low and broken and just really needing some encouragement from God and it came. in quite a dramatic fashion. i think i would have taken encouragement from an American right then, but God sent a South African. and it was a direct answer to the specific cry. so call ‘coincidence’ all you like, but i think i am going to hold onto ‘God-incident’ on this one.

# in a completely different and maybe way more random [to you] note, when i was involved in youth leading a bunch of us from Claremont Baptist were on this youth leader’s committee camp once and we ‘discovered’ this constellation we called ‘the horse’ which is very probably some other constellation or part thereof but it is the one constellation [well, apart from Orion and the Southern Cross] that i can actually pick out in the sky and it’s been a huge source of encouragement for me over the years [feels like a private constellation that belongs to a select few of us and i love sharing it with friends of mine when the opportunity arises] [actually i think Mark Chapman was the one who came up with ‘Barman’s vomit’ which didn’t really count as much cos it referred to the Milky Way which is already kinda named, but that one still gives me a smile every time i see it]

anyways, the point being that when i was flying back from New Orleans i had a window seat and ‘the horse’ was directly outside my window pretty much all the way home which felt like God putting the seal on a very special trip. that one is more likely to be shelved into the corner of coincidence but once again it was just there at the right place and right time [i don’t know that i’ve particularly noticed it in our two years of being in americaland] and confirmation that God has me and to just keep on, because He is faithful.

it is possibly a travesty of the highest order to take something that God has directly put in front of you and to minimalise it or discount it as coincidence and so i am going to use these happenings as opportunity to bring Him praise and glory and attention.

# actually one other quick memory i have from the conference was sitting on the other side of the room from this native american guy who i have seen around for three conferences but never really had much interaction with. during worship i felt like God had a message for him and so i went and shared it with him not knowing that what i was speaking about made any sense at all and thinking he was looking at me kinda weirdly as in ‘what the flip?’, But when i finished he took some time to share with me why he felt that what i had shared with him was from God and how it was really encouraging to him. Those kind of risk moments are great [especially when they work out which they generally tend to] because they are just completely encouraging and life giving to both parties and i look forward to hearing how the words i shared with him come to fruition.

so miracles and God-incidentses and words of knowledge/encouragement… it’s going to take me a lot more faith right now to believe that God doesn’t exist, than to believe and know that He does. how about you? any moments in your life recently where He confirmed His presence and involvement?