Serendipity or God? Acts 8.26-40
2/19/2017 10:31:36 PM
Just coincidence? I don't think so.
Serendipity or God? Yes. Acts 8.26-40
To read: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%208.26-40&version=NIV&interface=print
Serendipity is a God thing.
Since God takes great delight in causing things to happen for we who love him, then so many of the things that happen in our lives—
things that lighten our load,
things that make us smile,
things that warm our hearts
like a person who ‘happens’ along at just the right time, or rings us up
just when we need it,
just when we are looking for God,
needing to know he is there,
needing to know he is involved. . .
He sees us,
sees our need,
lets us know we are not alone,
and sends a little love.
How and when things just ‘happen’, and whether or not it was God caused may depend on our perspective.
Take the Ethiopian official who is traveling back home after going to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, recorded here in Acts chapter eight. Right as he ‘happens’ to be reading a passage from the prophet Isaiah with no understanding of it, it just so ‘happens’ that a man of God comes near his chariot and just ‘happens’ to see the question on his face, and ‘happens’ to be available and willing to explain the passage to him. ‘Wow!’ thinks the Ethiopian, ‘what are the chances of that? What a coincidence! How serendipitous!’
But then, let’s think of Philip who is actively engaged and being mightily used of God in Samaria . . . telling people the good news of Jesus, performing the miraculous, and spreading joy among all the people. An angel of the Lord tells him, ‘Go down to the desert road that leads to Gaza.’ That’s all—‘just stop what you’re doing and head out.’
Note: Philip was not asking God for direction, God just spoke into his existence.
Also, God did not tell him what he was going to do on the desert road,
he just told him to go.
So Philip listened.
See that is usually how God guides us—one step at a time.
Once we obey, then he tells us the next move to make.
So while the Ethiopian might have initially thought that his encounter with Philip was just a ‘chance’ meeting, there was nothing coincidental about it. Philip was guided by God, one step at a time, so as to be just where God wanted him, just when the man needed him to answer spiritual questions, because it was God’s plan to radically change that man’s life.
O, I do so believe God thoroughly enjoys moving people into our paths at just the right time. If you and I were to stop and think for a few minutes, we would realize that God orchestrates just such ‘coincidences’ in our lives.
For instance, the other morning, just before I drove out of Flagstaff, I stopped for coffee. As I paid, I commented to the man behind me about the long drive I had ahead. ‘You on holiday?’ he asked, a kindly looking bearded man of about 70 or so. ‘No, I’ve been in town giving my son a hand…’ ‘He okay?’ he pressed in a little further. ‘He has had one too many concussions,’ I commented simply. ‘Oh, PCS,’ (post-concussion syndrome) he said, ‘I was a nurse for 30 years.’ ‘Yeah—it is pretty bad,’ I quietly replied.
Now get this--He touched my arm, and asked ‘Would you be a praying person perhaps?’ With a little smile I said, ‘Oh, yes—very much.’ Then just like that, in the middle of the Flagstaff Coffee Collective, in front of the cash register, he grabbed both of my black-gloved hands in his big mitts and prayed a faith-filled prayer for God to touch, heal and protect my Dylan, and he was in no hurry. I thanked him and as I turned to leave he said, ‘Pray for me as you go—I am meeting a wiccan for another discussion this morning.’ Wow.
Chance? Coincidence? No. God-orchestrated serendipity.
Philip’s meeting with the Ethiopian treasury official … chance? Nope. Since Philip obeyed God’s prompting, one step at a time, the Ethiopian man came to know his Messiah, was baptized, and along with his prestigious government position, took Christianity to Africa. Reminds me once again of Acts 1.8 . . . to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth—even Africa.
Witnesses—you and me—to tell what we have seen and experienced of God~
~to listen and follow God’s voice as he leads and guides.
Serendipity … God’s delightful way.