One woman shared about how God confirmed that she should move her family from California to Michigan. It had to do with a truck bearing a Michigan license plate vacating a great parking spot at a Wal-Mart.
That did it – the Michigan license plate. That was her sign from God. How does that one grab you?
I recall an expression shared among friends early in my faith walk. A few of us had discovered around the same time that God could be known personally. Giddy with that realization, we excitedly shared “God sightings” with each other, coining the question, “Christ or coincidence?”
For us, it was rhetorical question. This new reality was dawning with us that there are no coincidences. Christ was in everything.
This idea is everywhere in the Bible.
“For in him we live and move and have our being…He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Acts 17:28a, Colossians 1:17, NIV)
I recall having a conversation with a friend who was doubtful about God and frustrated by how we Christians seem to give God all the credit for good while not attributing any blame to God for bad things that happen like indiscriminate violence and natural disasters. I’m sure my friend would argue that the Michigan license plate sighting was a convenient coincidence influenced by this woman desiring a sign.
Once I would have tried to make a stronger case for God versus coincidence. But I don’t feel that need anymore. The Bible itself doesn’t even offer this defense. Look at how many of the stories in the Bible could be explained as coincidences, albeit astounding ones.
Increasingly, I realize that the walk of faith requires…. Faith! Like a recent tweet, “Faith is seeing life God’s way.”
Faith doesn’t cause the world to be different. Rather, faith causes the faithful to see differently.
Take the story of Nehemiah in the Bible. He was an exiled Israelite working for the king of Babylon who was allowed to return to Jerusalem to lead an effort to rebuild the temple there. The story attributes certain developments as God-caused while recording no direct words from God anywhere.
The same could be said of the books of Esther and Daniel. God got the credit for stuff that happened that could also be attributed to coincidence – like the lion NOT eating Daniel (in the lion’s den) because he just wasn’t hungry that night!
The point is, we live out faith now the same way as faith was lived in the days when the Bible itself came to be. Following God wasn’t any easier or harder in the old days as it is today. The stories of the Bible often regarded people following God without any direct communique from God recorded.
In the Bible, God does indeed get credit for all goodness but unlike my doubtful friend’s claim, he’s sort of behind the bad stuff too. He’s the author of good but also of choice – to choose other than good.
If he is indeed in complete control as the verses I noted earlier indicate, then nothing can happen that he doesn’t at least permit.
Kind of turns the whole argument back onto itself, doesn’t it?
Faith photo source: http://4wewalkbyfaith.blogspot.com/