Coincidence or Providence?

by Joe Plemon on January 27, 2012

Although I am NOT a “name it and claim it” Christian, I believe God is actively at work in my life.  I also believe that Jesus’ words, “… give and it will be given to you” are still applicable today.  Where am I going with this?  I recently experienced an amazing convergence of two seemingly unrelated events:  a mission trip sponsorship request and a negotiation with an advertiser for my blog.  Were they coincidence of providence?  Read on.

First the mission trip request.

A friend recently sent me a letter asking me to consider helping sponsor her for an upcoming inner city mission trip.  As I read the request, I immediately knew that I wanted to help, but (as is my penchant) I procrastinated.  The letter laid on my desk for at least a week, but I always seemed to have something more pressing to do.

Secondly, the advertiser.

My negotiations with a potential advertiser had come to a halt: after my most recent counter offer, I had heard nothing from him…for weeks.  I therefore assumed it was a dead deal.

Now: the event. 

After shuffling the mission request letter on my desk for the nth time, I decided to act on it.  I re-read the request, opened my checkbook, and gave an amount that I felt that I should give.  I stuck the check into the included envelope, stood up, walked to our front hallway, put a stamp on it and posted it in our mailbox.  I then walked back into my office to notice that while I was posting the letter, I had received a new email …from my advertiser…agreeing to my last counter offer, which happened to be ten times the amount I sent for the mission trip.

I immediately knew that this was one of those “God things”.  No, I am not getting weird, but I do believe that God was showing me that He wants to bless me, especially when I bless others.  Do I believe that I discovered a magic formula to untold riches?  Of course not.  Will I expect such amazing timing with future gifts?  Not necessarily.

All I know is this: on that day, at that moment in time, I gave and I received.  It may never happen like that again, but this remarkable event has caused me to realize that, over the years, God has given and given and given to me.  I have a family who loves and respects me in spite of myself, a gracious church family who continually supports and encourages me, and a few close friends who will stick with me through good times and bad.

A few unexpected bucks only punctuates what God has already been doing.

Providence?  Absolutely!  Coincidence?  No way.

Readers:  When unexpected and unorchestrated events occur in your life, do you tend to attribute them to providence or coincidence?

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Cabler (@DrCabler) January 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

Definitely some providence there. We all have to remember to act on what is put on our heart to do and we’ll always be blessed for it. Giving money might be returned with money, but it also might be returned back to you in other ways that have nothing to do with money. And it may be an immediate return, or a return that happens years down the road.

There is always a return. God’s ROI never fails.

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Joe Plemon January 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

Agreed. I think, because we oftentimes don’t have our eyes on the Lord, we can receive that return without even realizing it. In the case of this post, I appreciate God making it very clear to me.

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Peter January 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

I’ve had similar experiences Joe. At one time we felt that small still voice urging us to give more to our church for a capital campaign for our new church building. While we weren’t sure if we had the money to do it, we went ahead and committed to doing it. Within a few months my blog income had gone up substantially and making the extra gift wasn’t a hardship at all. Gotta love how God works sometimes – although I’m sure it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes God allows us to have leaner times as well I believe – in order to help enforce in us our need for Him.

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Joe Plemon January 30, 2012 at 10:39 am

Peter — My wife and I have recently had that very same experience. After listening to that small still voice, we bumped up our giving substantially, only to discover that our income jumped up soon after. I agree that it certainly doesn’t always work that way, but experiencing God’s providence in that black and white way definitely builds one’s faith.

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Jon -- Free Money Wisdom January 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

This is so true. I completely agree with you. I think God wants us to give hilariously from our heart….and not out of obligation. I don’t think our giving will somehow increase our wealth, but it does increase our faith in the One who owns the cattle on a 1,000 hills. Awesome article!

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Joe Plemon January 30, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thanks Jon. I hadn’t used that particular adverb, but I love it — I want to give hilariously!

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Jenny February 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I had one of those odd happenings recently…It’s rather spooky.

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