Devotion – June 6 – “Coincidence? I Think Not”
The aged Apostle John, finds himself in Patmos. He is serving a life sentence for his faith on this prison Island. He is the last living original disciple. It is during this time that he has a series of incredible visions given to him by the Lord. We know the collection of these visions as “The Book of Revelation,” the last book in the New Testament. Through these visions John is given reassurance that God’s kingdom has come to him and the world, and likewise will come to its completion on the last day.
Let me share a part of one of John’s visions with you: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 21:1-6)
Isn’t that a wonderful vision! Dwelling with God in perfection: no more tears, no more death, no more mourning, no more crying or pain.
But we have to note something important from the teachings of Jesus and the disciples. No one ever said, “Life is terrible here on earth, just hold on, and you’ll be given a great life in the next world.” In fact, quite the opposite is true. Jesus proclaimed during his ministry that the “kingdom of God” was and is, “at hand.” In Jesus, God’s kingdom entered this world, our space, our lives. It is not something to dream about, but to live in today.
I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said that one of the reasons he came to believe in God was because there were just too many coincidences in his life that pointed him to God. He said that from a purely observational perspective, one has to conclude that that many coincidences could no longer be coincidences.
I believe this with all my heart. So often a “coincidence” points me to Jesus. Furthermore, there are so many of these coincidences in my life, that I can no longer believe these are all random coincidences.
Let me share one of these “coincidences” with you. Back in October of 2019, I led the funeral service for Wilma Johnson, a woman I never knew. When I got to the funeral home on the day of the funeral, I took some time to look at all the pictures that the family had on display. On a table beside this picture board, I found eight or so sculptures she had done. She had become adept on taking clay, sculpt it, and then putting a special paint on the clay. By the end of the process the images looked like metal sculptures. They were beautiful.
One of the Sculptures on display caught my eye immediately. It was a boy on his knees petting a dog that looked like a Golden Retriever. The boy is facing the viewer and has a huge smile on his face. For me it was a picture of innocent love blanketing an area. A boy is sharing his love with his dog. The dog is sharing his love for the boy, and by the smile on the boy’s face, you can see he knew he was safe and loved.
As I stood looking at that sculpture, I said to Justin Erickson, the funeral home director. “I love that sculpture.” He agreed it was beautiful and told me that the family members were each supposed to take one of the sculptures home. After the funeral I looked at the sculpture one more time and decided to go home and see if there were copies of that sculpture that I could buy from her website.
Later that afternoon as I was working at my desk, Justin pulled into the driveway. He was carrying a bouquet of flowers. The family had given it to the church, and he asked if I would take it out on Sunday. Then, much to my surprise, he pulled out that sculpture of the dog and boy and said, “They also wanted you to have this.”
He shared that some of the family members didn’t want to take a sculpture home and when they asked Justin if he knew anyone who would like one, Justin shared my comments about the boy and dog sculpture.
I have the sculpture positioned in the room so when I do my prayer time each morning I can see it. It reminds me that Jesus has surrounded me, and all of us, with “the kingdom of God.”
Was my getting this sculpture by virtue of random coincidences: a coincidence that it struck me so, a coincidence that I mentioned my love for that sculpture to Justin, a coincidence that a some of the family members didn’t want to take that sculpture home? – No, that is far too many coincidences for me. I believe it was God giving me a visual object to remind me of his large hands of love that hold us all.
Yes, the kingdom of God is at hand! It is all around us! Look for it, especially when a “coincidence” happens.
~ Blessings, Dan