What are the chances?
2Kings 8: This is the woman! And this is her son whom Elisha brought back to life!
Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, is chatting with the king about Elisha. When the king asks to hear some of the stories of this spiritual giant’s life Gehazi begins recounting some of the high points of Elisha’s ministry. One of the stories he tells is that of a woman whose son died. When Elisha arrived, he prayed and the son came back to life. Even as the king considers such an amazing thing a woman and her son are brought in for an audience with the king. Her concern is property rights and such matters are a big deal for these descendants of Abraham. Gehazi can hardly believe his eyes. It’s the very woman and son that he’s just been talking about! Because of that, the king is quick to give the woman justice and maybe even a bit more. Is it happenstance that the servant of Elisha just happens to be visiting the king that day? Is it mere chance that when the king asked for some “Elisha stories” that Gehazi decides to talk about the resurrection of a certain woman’s son? Is it just coincidence that she shows up just as Gehazi finishes his story? I don’t think so. This has “God at work” written all over it. I don’t live out on the mystic edge of life about stuff like this. I do think that simple coincidences do happen. However, as I’ve heard somewhere, I’ve noticed that when I pray coincidences seem to happen more often. As I read this story today it’s nice to be reminded of that.
Take Away: The Lord has a way of creating happy coincidences for his people.
Sometimes a book is not just a book
Esther 6: That night the king couldn’t sleep.
Even as Haman dreams of power and revenge king Xerxes is having a sleepless night. He decides a cure for his insomnia might be a bit of light reading so he has the daily journal brought to him and as he reads it he’s reminded of Mordecai’s heroism in foiling the plot against his own life. What an interesting set of coincidences! The king can’t sleep, Haman is planning to take Mordecai’s life in the morning, the king asks for some journals to read and some unnamed servant just happens to pick the journal that includes Mordecai’s heroism. We know there’s more going on here than circumstance. In all this we see the hand of God. Does this teach me that every time I can’t sleep God has something to tell me or that everything I happen to read is supposed to remind me of something important? Of course not! Sometimes I can’t sleep because I’m simply too wound up from my day. Sometimes I read stuff that’s just a plain waste of time. But not always. As a worshipper of God I believe that God is active in this world and that he’s a communicating God. Sometimes, therefore, a book is just a book. Other times, though, it’s a message from God. The important thing for me is to be aware of that and to remain open, to paraphrase J.B. Phillips, on the “God-ward” side of life.
Take Away: Don’t be surprised when the Lord shows up in surprising ways!