Coincidence or Synchronicity

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Albert Einstein

Do you believe in coincidence? How about synchronicity? I didn’t even know what synchronicity meant until it was discussed in a murder mystery I watched a while back. Curious about the term, I decided to look it up.

According to the dictionary, synchronicity is “the simultaneous occurrence of events, which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” Jungian theory calls it “an essentially mysterious connection between the personal psyche and the natural world” [Carl G. Jung (1960), Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 44.].

So, what is the difference between coincidence and synchronicity? Both mean “striking occurrences of two or more events at one time,” but coincidence is seen as only chance or luck while synchronicity implies the presence of a deeper intelligence at work.  I tend to agree Albert Einstein’s idea that it is God at work.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

When I was about to graduate with my master’s degree, I applied to serve as a short-term missionary through the International Service Corp. What followed had to be more than just coincidence.

When I went for the interview, I was to choose my top three positions for service. I had my mind set on Kenya, and I really wasn’t interested in any of the other options. My roommate (who was originally from Korea) insisted that I must go to Korea. I shrugged it off, but she kept insisting until I put it down as my second choice. I randomly wrote down a third choice and returned home to wait for a decision.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

My letter of acceptance was a bit confusing to say the least. It listed both Kenya and Korea in the job offer, so I called to get clarification. They surprised me by saying that they remembered my application in particular because there was a bit of a discussion regarding where I should go, but the final word was Korea.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

After a lot of prayer, I accepted the offer, and it was a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Not long after I reached Korea, there was unrest in one of Kenya’s neighboring countries and the missionaries there were forced to leave. A few of them ended up in Kenya and were able to take the position I had applied for in the first place.

I don’t think it was coincidence that I ended up with a roommate from Korea, or that she was so insistent on my going there. God knew where I needed to be and where other missionaries would need to be.

Recently, I have been praying for guidance and clarity about my writing as a profession and not just hobby. I attended an online conference, and the first speaker seemed to be speaking directly to me. I purchased her book on praying over your writing, and in it she mentioned a book that I purchased in 2012 at another conference. At the same time, I heard about another book on social media and marketing as well as some classes on how to use certain software in social media. I don’t think it was a coincidence.

God put me in the right place at the right time to hear the same themes over and over again from a variety of sources. It was the answer to my prayer complete with resources and training. Not only that, but when I wavered on whether to buy one of the books or pay for a very reasonable course fee, I was given a credit for almost the entire amount of the expense for both.

I believe in synchronicity because there is a deeper intelligence involved: The Holy Spirit. He is at work and moving around us if we will only take a moment to see it. I finished both books from that conference, ordered the other book and signed up for the courses. So, is it coincidence or synchronicity? Either way I think God is trying to speak to us. Are you listening?                                                  

A Little Less, A Little More

“A little more kindness, a little less speed, a little more giving, a little less greed, a little more smile, a little less frown, a little less kicking, a man while he’s down, a little more “we”, a little less “i”, a little more laugh, a little less cry, a little more flowers, on the pathway of life, and fewer on graves, at the end of the strife.”

Mark Twain

As I was driving into work, I noted that the misfiring/coughing sound my car had been making was a little less annoying. It wasn’t gone, but it was a little better. When I poured the golden elixir into my empty gas tank and filled up with fresh gas, I had hoped for an instant cure. No such luck. So, it was day five and over half a tank later, and it was still hesitating, but a little less every day.

I feel the same way about the yoga exercises I have been doing. It’s a 30-day back strengthening set of videos that are 6-16 minutes long, depending on the day. I am on day 26 today. All week my legs have been complaining because there were a lot of squats in the last few videos. The same day I noticed the car was a little better, I noticed my legs were a little less tight and sore.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5:10

There is a song we used to sing in church, especially the children, titled God’s Still Working on Me. However, it is not just for children. God is still working on all of us, and as much as we would like it to be an instant cure, it is not. Our salvation is instant the moment that we accept Christ as Lord, but our salvation is also being worked out in us as we go day to day.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

It’s a process that gets a little better every day. Like the apostle Paul and Mark Twain, I hope to do a little better every day as I aim toward a higher goal. Many days I want to roll over in bed and go back to sleep, but as Proverbs warns us:

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 6:10-11

Not to mention those muscles won’t get any better if I don’t work out the soreness. So, on my day off, I am up and writing this post before my coffee has finished brewing. It’s a testament to God’s grace that He made this one flow quickly this morning when He knows I have to work on my day off. Maybe I will be a little less sore today and my car a little less cranky, and maybe we will all be a little more Christ like today.

Finding Joy in the Moment

 “Happiness makes up for in height what it lacks in length.”

Robert Frost

This week I saw a link posted on social media about a contestant on a talent show. They asked her some questions, and it turned out she was battling cancer. She performed a song she had written titled It’s Okay. When she finished to a standing ovation, they were talking about the way she connected with people and her genuineness that shone through. She said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

There was a lot of truth in that statement. Her joy and happiness came through both in the words she spoke as well as in the lyrics to the song. She was finding joy in the moment of being on stage and singing for an audience, but it doesn’t have to be something that big. Joy can be found in the smallest of moments.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalms 118:24

Earlier this week I was driving to work when I saw an animal scurry across the road ahead of me, but I couldn’t tell what it was until I got closer. The animal had stopped at the edge of the wood and looked back to the road just as I got even with it. It was a fox heading home after a long night. Something that simple brought me a moment of joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

I have been going through The Joy Box Journal by Adria Wilkins, which follows along the same lines of finding joy in everyday events. The saying that you find what you are looking for is very true because if you want to find joy, you will find it. If you are looking to be offended, then you will find something to offend you. If you look for the bad in people, you will find it. But, what kind of life is that?

I challenge you in the coming week to look for at least one moment of joy each day. Write it down. Better yet, post it in the comments and share your joy. In the meantime, check out the video of Nightbirde singing, if you haven’t already, and be inspired.

So, what brings you joy?

Not Alone

Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.

Gandalf – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers J.R.R. Tolkien

In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the battle of Helms Deep looked grim as the enemy surrounded the only entrance and there seemed no hope for victory. It was a long night, but at dawn, Gandalf arrives with reinforcements just as he promised. The Bible is full of God’s promises to His children, but sometimes we have to wait for it to be fulfilled. The waiting time can see like an eternity, but if we keep our eyes focused on God, we will always have hope.

When we are waiting, it is easy to get distracted by the world around us. For example, in 1 Kings we find the story of Elijah who has just prayed down fire from Heaven and wiped out the prophets of Baal. When he hears of Jezebel’s threats, Elijah feels like he is alone in a battle he cannot win and he hides in despair.

14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away…18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

1 Kings 19:14, 18

After some rest and nourishment, God tells Elijah that he has seven thousand who are still loyal to Him and that he is not alone in the fight. From our vantage point, we might wonder how Elijah could go from boldly confronting the prophets of Baal to hiding and whining, but it is often after great victories that the enemy will attack us with doubts. Winning a tough victory takes a lot of energy: physical, spiritual and mental. We need to remember that like Elijah we are not alone.

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

Psalm 68:11

Being a writer is often solitary work, but I am not the only one writing the word God has given. He has many other writers, each with their own message to share. Writing groups allow writers to share and encourage one another so that we know that there other people who have been through some of the same issues and some who have had success. By sharing our stories, we build each other up. The trick is to find the right community for you.

Besides finding a like-minded community to offer support and accountability, we also need to ensure that we also take care of ourselves. First, we need to rest because we are more vulnerable if we are tired. Also, we need to make sure we have proper nourishment because hunger is another point of attack. Finally, or maybe firstly, we need to pray so that we are connected to our true source of energy.

Once you have strengthened yourself, then it is time to get back to work. If we sit idle too long, we are subject to remaining idle, which can lend itself to wallowing. This weekend I battled another round with those pesky fleas, which included wrangling two angry cats into carriers and to the vet followed by a thorough cleaning of the house. I took Friday and Saturday off from writing this blog as a result, but I rested, I ate, and I went to church. Now, I am finishing my assignment. So eat, rest, and pray, but don’t wallow. If you lay down with dogs, or cats, and wallow you just wake up with fleas. So, get up and get back to work. It’ll make you feel better.