I was struggling the other day to advance this essay toward completion. I found myself rumbling through my mind and the house at the same time, delaying any disciplined attempt to sit down and write. Knowing I was a bit stumped, I reached for a book on the shelf in hopes one of my favorite authors could energize my thinking. Opening the book, this random page presented me with a fine quote fitting nicely with my column’s subject. Serendipity surprises me always.
Coincidence appears in the most mundane situations, delighting me with its “aha.” Nonplussed in my younger years over any fortuitous event, my more advanced years recognize the curiosity in each happenstance offered me with a sense of God’s hand in the matter. Answered prayers come in many forms but none more captivating than God winking at me through coincidence. When it happens, a sigh and a wistful smile accompany my, “Thank you, Lord.”
In a sense, I’m always in prayer which means mostly I’m open to God’s provision. Prayer can be mistaken for a wish list, but I think a better frame for its purpose is placing our self in a position to hear God. I believe this suggests we should understand His answer when it comes.
My rumbling the other day was a form of asking and reaching for my book opened me to hear Him. Some folks might not attribute coincidence to God but neither is it provable that rumbling and reaching do not invoke His attention. Happenstance has crossed my path enough for me to understand God provides whether I’m rumbling, reaching or not. And I’ve learned His provisions are enough.
Implied in His provisions is He knows better than I. The corollary is I should accept with grace what He provides. My inability to do so is my affirmation of a great human failing. Stubbornness not only runs in my family; it persists past its expiration date.
The great tragedy of our time and culture, of all times and cultures, is an inability to see beyond our existence, to live beyond the immediate desire to sate our thirst with whatever life offers. Do not allow me to say we should choose the spartan life unless we are called. We should enjoy God’s gifts. Anesthetized by pleasures and diversions, must we at all times and places seek gratification beyond what God provides? Is not God enough?
Of all spiritual lessons, learning to accept God’s provisions was hardest to learn. Once learned, it was enough.
What does He provide but more than preoccupation, more than serendipity? True life resides in Him and emanates from Him. On the other side of our will is a life in spirit shared in community. Love, joy, peace, happiness are its hallmarks, hints and signs of things to come beyond today. These fruits we are given, the ability to see beyond our existence. It’s enough.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).