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?                                                  

Message from God


I often hear people say that they want a word from God. The problem is not that God isn’t speaking; the problem is a failure to communicate. The communication process requires two parts: send and receive. The website Skills You Need gives the following diagram to explain the communication process:

In 1 Samuel 3:10 we have an example of communication:

 “And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth” (KJV).

The sender (God) sent a message to Samuel by calling his name out loud. Samuel heard his name being called and responded by saying “Speak; for they servant heareth.” Then God gave a message to Samuel. It seems pretty straightforward, but a lot of things can happen in between sending and receiving.

God Speaks Speak

God chooses to speak in a variety of ways. In the example, He spoke to Samuel in an audible voice. While God doesn’t necessarily speak audibly to us today, He does make himself known through a variety of channels: The Word of God (Bible), The Holy Spirit, and other Christians. For example, last week I was trying to decide what my next step should be in a financial situation when I pulled out my Sunday school lesson to prepare to teach. The lesson was on remembering what God has done in the past and continuing to trust God in situations instead of depending on men. It answered my question, not in as much detail as I would like, but it was a response: Trust Him. God also uses modern media. Just this week I was praying about the same issue and I received an email with a blog post that encouraged me that God was still working on the problem for me.

Barriers Road Closed

Remember the “Can you hear me now?” commercial from Verizon? It was all about getting a signal, which is a key to communication. There is an endless supply of things that can attempt to block a message from God. The enemy will try to use distractions, such as a child two rows up fidgeting or making noise through a sermon until you realize that you have no idea what the pastor just said. Another barrier is sin in our lives. Sin hardens our heart and the message can’t penetrate the barrier that we have put up. When we fail to confess sin, it builds a wall that makes communication difficult.

We Listen…or notListen

If the message makes it through the barrier but our receiver is turned off, then we will miss the message. How many times have you had someone say they tried to call you only to realize your phone battery was dead so you missed the call? Like Samuel, we have to be actively listening for God to speak to us. Otherwise, we might miss the message.

Busy Signal?

No Answer

If all of that goes well, what about those times when you are looking for a response and it doesn’t come. It feels like God is ignoring you. Have you ever been waiting for a response to a text only to find out that you had received the answer already in an earlier text but didn’t realize it? Sometimes God does not speak because He is waiting on you to respond to an earlier message. If God has told you to do something, He will not move forward until you are obedient in what He has already told you to do. If a parent says a child can play video games after he cleans his room, then there will be no video games until it is done no matter how much complaining the child does. Is there something God has told you to do that you have refused to be obedient about?

Just like my internet provider always says, before you blame the Provider make sure that all the equipment is turned on and connected properly. God wants to commune with us, but we have to be actively listening and working to keep the lines open on our end. When we do that, the message is sure to come through, often in ways we never imagined. So, keep your eyes and ears (and heart) open for what God has to say.