“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
God works in some strange ways sometimes. At least strange by our standards. Take for instance God sending Saul to meet Samuel.
Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.” – 1 Samuel 9:15-16
We see that it is God who sent Saul to Samuel, not an accident or chance, but God who sent him. How did God send Saul? Did a light from heaven come forth and a deep voice say “Saul, go meet Samuel in the land of Zuph” or did he find a burning bush that spoke to him?
Often times this is the way we want, or expect, God to speak to us. We want an angel to appear before us with clear directions or a letter from God to appear in our mailbox. But that is not how God works.
Let’s look at how God called Saul.
Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” So he passed through the mountains of Ephraim and through the land of Shalisha, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.
When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”
And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.” – 1 Samuel 9:3-6
This is how God led Saul to seek after Samuel, by a few donkeys running off and then Saul being told to go find them.
This shows how much different God’s ways are from our own ways, and shows us how God has complete and total control over all of creation. He will use any means at His disposal to lead us in the direction He wants us to go, even missing donkeys.
How many times have you run into a situation you think is a coincidence, but in reality it is God setting up the circumstances.
A coincidental meeting in Columbia
In 2004 I was on a deployment with the Navy to Columbia. After being deployed for several weeks I started craving Christian fellowship. For weeks the only people I spent any time with were other guys in the Navy, which as you can imagine, are not really focused on God. After such a long time without any Christian fellowship and no way to get that Christian fellowship I prayed for God to send me someone. anyone.
My expectation was that someone in the military, maybe a chaplain or a Bible study leader would find me and just randomly start talking about the Bible with me. Instead, the next night around midnight I got a craving for pie. So I went to the hotel’s restaurant, sat outside reading the Bible, and ordered some pie.
After the waiter took my order he asked me if I was a Christian because he saw me sitting at the table reading my Bible. It turns out he was a Christian and had some really cool things to say which to this day I have not forgotten. I went down there every night after that and had an awesome time of fellowship. This only came about because of a strange craving at midnight one night.
God is not limited to the supernatural
Many times we only want to see God work in miraculous, supernatural ways. Then we get disappointed when He decides to work outside of our perception of how he should work. Or worse, we disbelieve it is God at all. If we would just take the time to reflect on the events that happen in our lives we would likely find dozens of ways God has worked things out in every day, coincidental ways.
Next time something bad goes on in your life, your car breaks down or you lose something important, remember that God is in control of every little situation instead of getting mad about it. What happens to us happens for a reason. We likely will not be crowned king while on our way to the mechanic, or told to go free the slaves of Egypt while searching the couch cushions for the tv remote, but God has a reason for it.
Either there is some sort of divine appointment God has for you (Acts 8:26-40, 1 Samuel 9), or He wants to teach you a lesson such as patience (James 1:2-4).
How has God worked in your life that at first glance appeared to be nothing more than a coincidence? Leave a comment with your story!