Saturday, June 21, 2014

can't be coincidence

Looking back on all the important relationships in my life, it’s impossible for me to believe in coincidences. My Bible study girls and I are studying the book of Ruth, and I am being continually reminded that God is in control and all things work together to accomplish His purposes.

Just look at the life of Ruth and think about all the things that had to happen to make her an important figure in the lineage of Jesus. She married a foreigner. That foreigner died. She chose to stay with his mother instead of return to her family. They decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth went to a field to collect stray barley. That field happened to belong to Boaz. Boaz happened to be there and notice her. And they just happened to get married, have a baby and live happily ever after.

God used the big and the little, the good and the bad to maneuver Ruth in the perfect position to further His plan.

And I have no doubt He does the same in my life.

Example #1: Freshman Year of College

I didn’t know one person going to John Brown University when I decided to attend, so I was too busy scoping out potential friendships at Early Registration to notice that the assistant registered me for the wrong Gateway class. When I got my book list two weeks before school, I was a little disappointed to find I wouldn’t be watching movies for college credit, but immersing myself into the local Native American culture.

Thankfully, a couple of emails later, I was able to switch to the class I wanted. However, they had already divided up Orientation groups based on Gateway classes, so I was in a group with my would-have-been classmates instead of my would-be ones. God definitely knew what He was doing. He knew I would need Becca and Amber, handprints on my face and Rabbit Trail ice cream. He knew I would need these friendships to help me transition into college life. And that was made possible because someone I didn’t even know checked the wrong box.

Example #2: First Year in Memphis

I knew one person my age in Memphis when we moved here last June. For months I prayed for lasting friendships, stretched out of my comfort zone to find them, and repeatedly retreated back home lonely as ever. After several months of attending our current church home, we decided to stay after the service for an “About Us” meeting.

At that meeting, we just happened to sit by Carissa, and during typical get-to-know you conversations, we discovered that we had a mutual John Brown University friend. That day Carissa happened to have lunch with Ken and Nancy, and during typical get-to-know you conversation with them, discovered Ken was also a JBU alum. So she told him about us, and Ken made a point to contact me to share our Eagle pride.

It was about a month later before I was actually able to meet Ken in person, and it was then that he introduced us to Matt and Sarah and invited us to Downtown Parish. We almost didn’t go that Thursday, but I’m glad we did. Because it was there that I met some of the strongest, most beautiful women I’ve ever known - and now, I get to call them friends. And all because I happened to mention to a stranger that I graduated from JBU.

These are only two of many, many examples where God has orchestrated the master and mundane details of my life for something greater than I could have asked or imagined. Thinking of all the ways simply changing my mind would have significantly altered the world I know today overwhelms me.

How can I chalk that up to a coincidence?

And even more, how can I not trust Him to daily do what’s best for me?

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

What is your “can’t be coincidence” story?

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