I no longer believe in coincidence. It is a term reserved for those who choose not to believe that a supreme God has a hand in all that we do, and that happens to us. I am also not a Calvinist, so I believe we have the free will to decide how we react to the situations that we find ourselves in. That being said – rewind to last week.
I had an appointment last Thursday to have some medical tests performed in the city. The tests were to check for a potentially serious illness that I was apparently exhibiting symtoms for. When I got there (30 minutes early, like a good boy) I found that the order for the tests had never been sent from the doctors office, and I was never given a copy. Moreover, the receptionist at the office was impolite, at best, to the very kind woman who was trying to get me checked in. She explained that the doctor was busy and it would be several hours before we received the order. I decided to wait for a little while just to see what happened.
After 45 minutes, I was just getting ready to call the doctor myself, and then leave for the day, when I was informed that the order had arrived and I could go in for my test. Two very interresting things happened after that. First, the woman conducting my test is the wife of a student attending the seminary with me. I had been reading a book on New Testament interpretation as I went into her office, and she apparently recognized it 🙂 I don’t know her or her husband, but we had a nice conversation about school and ministry as the test was being performed. This put me at total ease, and made the fact that I was at a hospital not so horrible. As I left the office, she escorted me to the door and wished me well in my studies. This is when the second interresting thing happened.
As I walked to my car, I noticed a man standing next to it looking a bit downcast. As I approached, he asked if I had jumper cables available. I said sure and we proceded to hook up the cars and charge his battery. His response, when it started took me off guard. He said, “I am so glad you came along. I had no idea what to do, and was praying that God would provide someone to help me. Right then, you walked around the corner.”
I smiled at this and said that it was funny he mentioned God playing a role in this, because I am a seminary student. He smiled, thanked me for the help and we went to our cars. Just as I was about to pull out, his car stalled, for no apparent reason. I got back out, and we hooked the jumper cables up again. As we waited a bit longer this time, for the battery to charge, he began to ask me about seminary, where I was attending, and what I was studying. Then he confessed how he had just rededicated his life to the Lord, after a long period spent running from Him.
I won’t go into the details, but in that short time, we had a very nice conversation, and I was able to encourage him in his walk. Like I said, I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. That morning, if I had not had to wait the exact amount of time that I did for my test order, I would have been gone before this man needed help. If I had not met with the specific medical staff that I did, my mind might not have been on seminary, and ministry. Most importantly, if the car hadn’t stalled a second time, I would not have had the oportunity to listen to this man – and I believe he needed someone who understands who Christ is to be there for him to share with.
I am just glad that I made the choices that I did that day – to wait, to converse, to help someone in need, and to listen. How often do we miss these opportunities, or ignore them, chalking them up to coincidence.
Incidentally, the tests came out negative, even though I had been exhibiting signs of something being wrong. Praise God for his healing touch. I would say it was, all in all, a pretty nice way to spend the morning.