Coincidental, Synchronistic, or Providential?

Posted by Rick Bates on

The way we view the events that happen in our lives can impact us significantly. I have always been fascinated by the interplay of seemingly unrelated events and attempts to explain them. Are they purely coincidental, meaning that they happen by chance? Or, do they have the quality that psychologist Carl Jung first termed synchronistic, that is, they are meaningfully related even though there is no causal relationship? Or, could events and their explanations actually be providential and involve divine foresight? Today this interplay surfaced in a very real way. My wife, Jane, recently had successful surgery on her right knee to remove painful bone spurs. She has been steadily recovering but has had to be very careful while walking around the house and outside. She was feeling very confident and healthy while walking around our flat when it happened that she inadvertently slipped on some water that had spilt on our tile floor. She made the most graceful sliding fall you could imagine and was fine, but we were shaken by this.

Jane has recently been reading through the book of Hebrews in the Bible during her morning devotional times, reading a chapter each day until she senses some personal application from God. Today she was reading in Hebrews chapter 12. As she read along, she came to verses 12-13, which stood out to her:

"Therefore, lift up your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

Was her reading this verse following her knee problems coincidental and only by chance? Was it synchronistic and meaningfully related? Or, actually, was her reading providential, involving divine foresight?

As believers, we know that God cares deeply about us and guides our lives. God can place special verses in front of us as reminders that we should pay careful attention to.

Jane and I shed a tear as we read and re-read the passage and had a brief prayer, and our perspective today brought thankfulness and joy to our lives, especially as she continues to heal.

Think about your own life and consider: Has there ever been something you viewed as coincidental or synchronistic when in fact it was providential?


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