There Is No Such Thing As Coincidence
A friend of mine lost her little girl this week. I won’t share the details out of respect for their family, but the events of this week have been on my mind and heart almost constantly. Even when I went to go to sleep last night, I couldn’t, because I was so consumed with thoughts of my friends who are walking through this tragedy. Do you ever wake up in the night hours, burdened for someone? That was me, all night long, last night. I know that whenever that happens, God is giving me that name for a reason: to wake up and to pray. I don’t usually get out of bed when I do this, but sometimes I do. I share that, because it’s so important to follow through with that thought when we’re suddenly thinking about someone we know.
The righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
I don’t believe in coincidence. Do you? I suppose it’s not important, but I know that the Lord makes divine appointments. It’s never coincidental that we read a certain passage at a certain time when we most need it, it’s not coincidental when we hear a song on our playlist that talks about praise being our weapon when we’re feeling a little down. (If you haven’t heard it already, stop here, and find the lyric video on YouTube for Raise A Hallelujah. It’s so good, and has been my anthem lately.) The Holy Spirit is ever present in our day-to-day lives. I have always known this, but every once in a while, the Lord will really show up for me in an instance in my life, and will blow my mind. I’ll share one such story to encourage you, and so that I will never get over Him amazing me.
Last December, for my birthday, my best friend and I had planned to drive to a nearby town an hour away and spend the day there. We would eat, shop, and then go to the Christmas concert at a church where one of our favorite worship leaders leads worship. My sister Debi called me two weeks before all this, though, and found out what we were doing, and offered us a free night with her hotel points that she had accumulated. I honestly was so excited, that I didn’t think of much else before we left on our little one night getaway, but how sweet was that of my sister to do that for us? We made the drive there, spent the day driving around and having the best time, and then we checked into our hotel in time to change and get ready for the Christmas concert that night.
We went to the concert, that wasn’t really a concert, but a Christmas themed worship service. It was the sweetest night of singing, praising our sweet Savior, and just relishing in His presence that we could tangibly feel around us.
For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.
When it was over, we almost couldn’t even speak, it was such a reverent time of worship. We ate dinner afterward, went back to our hotel, turned on a cheesy Christmas movie, and fell asleep. The next morning we were up pretty early, but rather than get up to get breakfast, we decided to lounge around in bed and spend time with the Lord, each of us on our own. (Neither of us ever travel without our Bibles and a small bag full of Bible studies and resources.) We did just that, each in our own bed, doing our own thing, not even saying a word. How sweet is that kind of friendship? When you never have to utter a word, and it’s not awkward? I remember reading a chapter out of the book of John that morning, and the Lord showing me how he was working in the life of my oldest son.
You see, while we had been away, my oldest son and his girlfriend of a year and a half had broken up. The Lord knew that I didn’t need to be around when that happened, and He literally plucked me up and out of my home and town, and took me away for this little spiritual retreat we ended up having. I thought we were going for fun, but really, the Lord was protecting me. And my friend shared with me, that she had been struggling. We had reached a point in our lives that we were no longer serving in any ministry area together, and we had grown a little bit apart in the months before this weekend. We rarely saw each other, and rarely even spoke on the phone. We were struck with the same thought throughout the events of that weekend:The Lord knows what we need more than we know what we need for our own selves.
Oh LORD you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
He knew that I needed to get away that weekend so that I wouldn’t be so emotional with my son when he told me they were breaking up. (Breaking up is hard on a mom! I get so attached to every person the Lord puts in the lives of all my sons.) He knew that my friend was struggling and that she needed some affirmation in our friendship. He knew all of this! None of that was a surprise to Him, He knew far in advance all that would take place, and He took us away on this spiritual retreat, of sorts. I love this passage from Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The good Lord is sovereign, my friends, and He is trustworthy. When He is leading you in something, don’t fight Him. Give in to His ways and His plans, and He will make all the details fall right into place. If you have a thought that you want to do something, pray about it, and let Him lead you. He will, I promise. Just don’t fight Him, because even if you do, you will not win the battle, I assure you. Sometimes I think we’re so stubborn and set in our own ways that He likes to step in and shake things up a little.
I write all of that to say this one thing: let the Holy Spirit lead you and be your guide. He is ever present in our lives, in every single moment we are here on this earth. If He is leading you to pray for someone in the midnight hours, then pray. He gave you their name for a reason, or He woke you up out of a sleep for a reason. If you want to have closer friendships in your life, pray about it! He knows the desires of our hearts, His word says in the Psalms, so we might as well tell it all to Him when we pray. If you’re considering a move, a new job, or taking someone up on an opportunity that seems to have come out of nowhere, pray and ask Him to guide you in your decisions. He will do that for you, every single time.
He may not answer in the way we’re hoping or expecting, but He will answer according to His will for our lives. That’s where that word “sovereign” comes in… when I don’t understand things, like why my friend’s little girl went to be with Jesus at a mere four and a half years old, I know that He is sovereign and He had a reason for taking her. I like to think that maybe she accomplished in those four and a half years, exactly what He had purposed for her to do on this earth while she was here. And when she had done that last thing, He took her home to be with Him. We can trust Him, friends. Let yourself trust Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, Your word says that You lavish grace upon us who believe, and You do that through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for that grace, Lord. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You, that no matter what happens, You are trustworthy. Even when I don’t understand, I praise You for Your sovereignty. Thank You for always reminding me to let go and to let You lead. I love You, Lord. I ask You to help me in this, and I ask that You would help any woman of God who reads these words with this, as well. Show us how to trust You wholly and completely. Grow our faith, Lord. I ask this in Your strong, beautiful name. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Goodwin is a wife, and mom to four (almost) grown sons. The Lord has called her to serving in several different ministries within her church home, some of which are bible study and leading younger women, and helping in the leading of worship on Sundays. During the week you can find her writing on her blog, Overflowing With Thanksgiving and encouraging others through her favorite social media outlet: Instagram. Follow along with her and be encouraged @jenlloydgoodwin.