Coincidence …Really??

by Lester Young

Do you believe in ‘coincidence’? Actually, before you commit yourself to a particular answer it might be helpful to have a clinical definition of just what that word means. According to Dictionary.com, coincidence can be defined as “a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance”. Seems simple enough, even rather harmless, doesn’t it?

Yeah, well… let’s just look at that definition a little closer. You’ll notice it begins with “a striking occurrence of two or more events…”. So these ‘concurrent’ events are things you’d take definite note of – in other words, they’re clearly conspicuous and you will be aware of them. Now hold that thought because it’s an important one – we’ll come back to it.

The second part of the definition might be even more remarkable: “apparently by mere chance”. According to that phrase, we can ‘see’ no traceable influencers that could have caused the events to happen or appear at the same time, so they seem to simply be random acts of unrelated happenstance.

Now let’s just think about this for a minute. If you’re born again, you believe in a God Who can plan and orchestrate billions of events and circumstances so that you – His dearly beloved child (Ephesians 1:6) – are in just the right place at just the right time to receive grace and favor, don’t you? Furthermore, if you’re born again, you believe in a God Who’s also already done that, don’t you? After all, His Word says that He created a good path and good things for us before the foundation of the world… and then swore to give them to us (1 Corinthians 2:9, 12; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; Hebrews 6:13-20). If you’re born again in Christ Jesus, you do really believe that, right?

If so, then where does ‘coincidence’ really fit in? Glad you asked – and hang onto your hat. Go with me to Isaiah 65:11, which declares:

“But you are they that forsake the LORD, that forget My Holy Mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.”

Now this very revealing passage of Scripture is obviously aimed at two particular groups of people that have turned away from following God: those who’ve prepared a table for a certain “troop” and those who’ve provided a drink offering for a certain “number”. But what does that mean – who are this “troop” and “number” referring to? And here’s where it gets interesting: the Hebrew term that’s translated into the English word troop actually means “fortune” (that is, ‘luck’ or ‘chance’), which is also the name of an ancient Babylonian diety. So Fortune – luck, chance – is identified in Scripture as an idol. Still seem harmless? More like quietly insidious, wouldn’t you say? (And while we’re at it, we might as well kick the other one in the shin, too: the Hebrew word that we translate into number is actually defined as another idol named “the Apportioner”; i.e., “Fate”.)

If you’re a Christian, I probably don’t need to tell you that you shouldn’t be giving credence to anything at all the Bible itself considers to be idolatry (Acts 15:29). Fate and Chance (that is, Coincidence) both fall into that category. We can choose to believe our heavenly Father is orchestrating things for our benefit, or you can choose to believe the cool thing that happened to you last week was all just some wonderful coincidence. (…Seriously?)

If you want my suggestion (and even if you don’t), give God His due. When you notice things that seem clearly “coincidental,” remember that they’re clearly not. Remember that the Lord is behind the scenes, working things out on your behalf… simply because He loves you.

 

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