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?                                                  

Stretching While You Wait

 “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

I have often heard that God answers prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, and wait. I get the answer “wait”… a lot. There are times that I wish those answers came in an 8-ball so that I could just keep shaking it until I got the answer I wanted. God, however, is not an 8-ball, so when He says wait, it is best to obey.

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him… And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Genesis 21:2, 9

Sarah had to wait 25 years for the promised son. She grew a little impatient, so she took it upon herself to make it happen by giving her handmaid to her husband so that she could gain a child through Hagar. Now that Sarah finally had what God had promised her, she had to deal with the consequences of her actions: Hagar and Ishmael. She should have waited, but it is hard to sit idly by while the world moves on. So,what do you do while you are waiting?

When God says wait on Him, he doesn’t mean to just sit in front of the television binge watching or endlessly scrolling through social media. Maybe what you are waiting on requires a little preparation. So, maybe it’s time to get up off the couch and stretch.

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 3:13-14

I recently bought a copy of The Joy Box Journal by Adria Wilkins. I ordered the book online and it took the scenic route to get to my house, so I was waiting [not so patiently] on it. Then, I was busy dealing with the flea incident [see earlier posts], causing me to wait another week to actually open it. I was excited to finally sit down and open the book. The first entry was about how the author had to wait a while to adopt a child, referencing Luke 1 about Elizabeth and Zechariah waiting for a child. It caught my attention because the Sunday before the pastor preached a sermon on the Genesis 21 text I referenced above. I had been praying about a couple of things, so the book had actually come at the right time to confirm God’s answer to wait.

A couple of days later, an entry referenced Philippians 3 and the idea of stretching yourself. I had been planning to start a 21-day plan to help me focus on discerning God’s will for my writing, and part of that plan is a focus on eating and exercising in a more mindful way. Maybe I needed to stretch my mind, body, and spirit while I wait.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

1 Corinthians 9:24

If you want to finish the race and win the prize, you have to grow. As Christians we grow by renewing our minds in the scriptures, praying, and obeying God’s known will. Take the waiting time to study to show yourself approved. Digging into the Word of God prepares our hearts and minds. Then, pray for guidance, but also purpose to pray for others. It is easy to get caught up in our own little world, but when we focus on the needs of others, it gives us a clearer perspective. Finally, If you want to be considered for bigger jobs, then you should do your current job to the best of your ability. If God tells you to mop the floor, then make that floor shine. None of these things is easy, but stretching isn’t about easy; it’s about growth. Usually growing has its share of pain, but it’s worth the end results. I will keep telling myself that every time I pass the ice cream shop. Maybe I’ll just change my route to work.

A Word Fitly Spoken

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Proverbs 25:11

For the last couple of weeks I have been debating about what to do about transportation. My car hit 300,000 miles, so I was faced with the dilemma of keep it going or get another car. I found a couple of cars that might work, but the price was a little more than I really wanted to pay. I also was just at the point in my budget where I actually could cover my current bills and set up payments to take care of an outstanding bill. A car payment would just put me into the same old mess. When the credit union wouldn’t loan me the money, I decided that I should just keep my old car running by making a few repairs, pay off the bill, and try to start saving for at least a down payment. On Monday the car broke down on the way home, leaving me stranded on the side of the road despite having repairs done. I was beginning to think I had made the wrong decision.

As I contemplated trying to get a loan through the dealership, I was praying for guidance. All day long I kept running into the same idea: Trust God. First, my devotional reading two days in a row were as follows:

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Psalms 112:7

The writer was talking about if we had confidence in God’s provision, then our lives would be so different. When we get bad news, we shouldn’t be afraid if we trust in God to handle the situation. The next day the scripture reading was as follows:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Hebrews 13:5-6

The author wrote about a warning light on her car and a repair that didn’t fit into her budget. She noted that earlier that same week God had turned a mistake into a perfectly timed solution. It was so on point to my situation that it stunned me although we should never be surprised when God answers us so clearly.

Another book I was reading talked about how they had prayed for this piece of equipment for 18 months with no way to pay for it. Then, God had it donated to them, and the person said he had put the item in storage 18 months ago. God had prepared the answer for the perfect time without them having to worry about cost. They just had to be patient and wait on God’s timing.

Then, I saw a Dave Ramsey Instagram post about no car payment being the best thing.

Then, I scrolled through and saw this:

I decided to wait 6 months to a year to save up money for another car and to pay off the other bill. Since then, through a couple of circumstances, a couple of things were taken off my budget and a couple of opportunities for extra work have popped up.  God will provide a way for us, but sometimes we have to be willing to wait and deal with minor inconveniences in order to grow our faith.

Since I made the decision to wait, God sent me some small blessings as a reminder that He has not forgotten me. I was blessed with a replacement for a 2nd monitor that went out, which makes my writing tasks easier. I also had waited to buy some hand lettering supplies that finally came today. He even sent a funny turkey running across a side road to give me a laugh this morning. God will show us the answers to our questions if we are open to receiving it and wait with patience on the answer.

What are you waiting on? Look around because the answer may be closer than you realized, and it may come from unusual sources, possibly a turkey. You just never know.