God or Coincidence?

Ever turn on the radio and hear a song that speaks directly to you? Or may be you pick up a book and the message is just what you needed to hear? Or you hear someone say something and you feel it’s directed towards you even though they are talking to an auditorium or church full of people?  What do you think, coincidence or God?

Many years ago, I was on my way to do one of the hardest things that I have had to do. My children are most important to me next to my faith. On this day, I knew I had to tell them the one thing that I never wanted to have to tell them, something that would affect the rest of their lives. I was on my way that day to see my therapist so that I could tell my children that their dad would not be coming home. As I was driving, the song “Lord I Need You”, by Matt Maher came on. At that moment, I just cried because I did need God. I needed him to not only comfort me and give me the courage and strength for this moment but I needed him to comfort my children. That song gave me a peace that prepared me for this moment of pain that awaited each of us.

This isn’t the only time a song has come on at just the right moment with a message that guided, comforted me or gave me reassurance about a decision.  In fact, just today as I was leaving Mass “Come to the Table” by Sidewalk Prophets came on just as I was thinking about some things in my past that feel my heart with shame and discontent about myself.  As I listened to the lyrics of the song and knew I had just went to the table to receive Jesus, I was comforted knowing that I have been set free and this is no longer a part of who I am.

I also love how books,  devotions or the readings for the day, speak directly to me regarding something that I’m dealing with or discerning.  One evening, my children and I were reading a children’s devotion and as we read it, my daughter looks at me and says “How does he do that?  How does he know what happened today?  Did he just swap the pages?”  I had to chuckle a little as she was questioning God’s method of talking to her through this devotion on an issue she was having with her friend.  It was a very good teachable moment on being open to hear God and how he speaks to us through things we read, things someone says, what we see or even a song.

I believe these moments, when something speaks to our hearts in whatever way it may be, that it can only be attributed to God, not coincidence.  He knows exactly what you need to comfort you or to guide your decision.  If you are open, you will hear him at just the right time and just the right place.  If you need direction, he will guide you.  If you need comfort, he will console you.  If you need peace, he will provide it.  If you need love, he will embrace you.  The form he uses may be different each time.  Be aware.  The next person that approaches you may be someone he sends to help you with something you are struggling with.  The next song you hear, may bring you peace in a situation that has brought you discontentment.  A book you read may guide you to discerning an important decision or direction in your life.

Tune in to everything and everyone around you, he is speaking to you at this moment.  Are you open to receiving the message God is sending you today through your radio, through your friend, through your children or spouse, through the Bible or words in a book?

 

Your Will be Done

Have you ever heard a song that spoke volumes to you?  The lyrics in the song, described your life perfectly at that moment?  Or may be the lyrics helped you to learn something about yourself or your situation, past or present?  Or may be God just has something He wants you to hear and reflect on?

I’ve often heard people say that songs are a form of prayer.  Rightfully true, I think.  We can gain so much wisdom from a song.  Some songs can literally cause us to drop to our knees or open the flood gates of our tear ducts.

Over the last few days, I’ve been wrestling with understanding God’s will and conforming to it.  Trying to understand things of my past and what God has done in me through it.  One of the big questions that I’ve been trying to unpack is God being the author of all things, good and bad.  This morning as I turned on the radio, the song by Hillary Scott, “Thy Will be Done,” was playing.  The story behind this song is a story of loss.  In the song, she finds acceptance of the pain and attributes it to God, knowing that He has good plans for her even in this moment of brokenness and hurt.  She does this by calling out in prayer with “these four words – thy will be done”.

Many people would not like to think that God can be the author of pain and suffering in our lives.  Although He does not take part in our choice to sin or that of others, He does allow circumstances of those sins to affect us.  Also, if we unpack it more, we see that God is a good God and He sees and know all that is best for us and this is His ultimate plan in our lives.  In that plan, there could be pain and suffering that is ultimately better for us.

  • If He knows that something, say money, has become deadly to your soul or your happiness, He may bring hardship up on you or allow a thief to rob you to save your soul and bring a greater joy into your life.
  • Perhaps you find out one day that you have a terminal illness.  Rather than give you a few more years on this earth, He would prefer you come home to Him in a greater glory than what is present here.
  • Perhaps your friend you confided in is no longer there for you.  Rather than confide in a friend, He is wanting you to come to Him with your worries and concerns or He may send another soul to help you bare this burden.
  • Perhaps you have lost a child.  Rather than that child suffer greatly on this earth, God has called him/her home to dance amongst the angels.
  • Even in circumstances of sin, He delivers goodness, if you open your heart and follow His will to receive it.

I ask is it not God that is the author of it all, the painter of His masterpiece?  Lamentations 3:38, “Is it not at the word of the most High that both good and bad take place?”

In Job 1:21, he attributes his misfortune to God when he says “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”.  In Isaiah 45:7, God says “I form the light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.”  In Deuteronomy 32:39, He tells us “I alone, am He, and there is no God besides me.  It is I who bring both death and life.  I who inflict wounds and heal them and from my hand no one can deliver.”

God is in control, the author, of all things in your life, even when you think you are.  The only thing that He is absent of is your choice to sin.

Nothing can exist or happen without Him allowing it.  The final outcome of all things is goodness for you, even when it doesn’t seem so, when it hurts and it’s difficult.  You may be confused, you may not understand all the things you are struggling with, but He does.  He knows the outcome, the best plan for you.  “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,” Romans 8:28.

If you choose to accept all things in your life attributed to an all knowing and all loving God that has the best plans for you in this life and the next, then you will always have a life of peace and happiness, even in the greatest trials of your life.  “Thy will be done.”

In closing – a quote by St. Augustine, “All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if from the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to Divine Providence, show Him respect by accepting it from His hand, believe firmly that He does not send it [to] us without cause.”