By: Nathan Hill
I think that everyone knows what a coincidence is. A technical definition would be that a coincidence occurs when any number of random and unrelated events occur together in such a way that something great and unexpected emerges. Implied in the understanding of a coincidence is that they are ‘accidental’ or ‘arbitrary’.
I am not sure if I believe that coincidences are purely accidental or arbitrary; I tend to believe that there may be a driving force behind some, if not all, instances of coincidence.
Let me go all Sheldon Cooper on you for a moment (if you do not know who he is, don’t worry about it): it is a scientifically accepted fact that when natural processes are left on their own without any outside interference they tend to progress from a state of order to a state of disorder. In plain terms, a three year old boy left alone in his bedroom will always turn the bedroom from a state of ‘order’ into a state of ‘disorder’ unless impacted by an outside force (i.e. his parents). This basic premise forms the basis for the second law of thermodynamics and is known as the concept of entropy. This is why Sheldon Cooper describes Penny’s filthy apartment as a massive demonstration of entropy (again, if you do not know who these people are, it’s ok)
So, if we accept the idea that nature will tend to progress towards greater disorder rather than greater order when left on its own, how then do we explain a series of random events that actually produce something orderly, something productive or something great? How do we explain a coincidence?
I have spoken on prayer to youth on several occasions. I have challenged the students to begin to delve deeper in a life of prayer that pushes beyond simply praying for our meals and into the realm of praying for others and for us. I have challenged the students to expect to see answers to their prayers. To the skeptic an answer to prayer might be called a coincidence; however, when we pray we tend to see coincidences happen more often. Hmm…
Mandy and I experienced a prayerfully initiated ‘coincidence’ during her pregnancy with Spencer. We were given a somewhat bad report at the doctor’s office one Friday; Spencer seemed to be making signs like he was coming early and for that Mandy was placed on more strict bed rest. We prayed all weekend along with many others that this would be a full term birth without complications. At our follow-up appointment the following Wednesday we discovered that the bad report was misread by the nurse and things were much better than we had thought. In fact, Mandy’s order of strict bed rest was lifted and she was put back on reduced activities.
Was this a coincidence? If you have read this far you probably know how I feel about that.
Prayer moves the hand of God. Prayer reverses things in the natural even when it seems logically impossible. Prayer draws us closer to God and answers to prayer build our faith to pray for even greater things.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)