Who am I that You would be mindful of me?
Who am I that You would know my name?
Even here, as I stand in the lowest of the valleys,
I’m struck down by the wonders of Your grace.
I’m not worthy of being made Your spokesman,
I’m to weak to be Your brightest light,
Yet God, You’ve made from me a leader,
Why should I run? I won’t hide from Your sight.
Though I'm guilty, You place me with the righteous,
Though I’m blinded, You love me like I see,
Though I’m broken, You heal me so I’m mended,
Though I run, You always call me back to Thee.
Your wonders are in the world that You’ve provided,
Your existence in the fact that I do breathe,
Your love in that we will one day be united,
Your grace in those angels here with me.
Give me wisdom, God, that I may be Your fortress,
Don’t have me stray as I have done in past,
Show me, Lord, the plan You have developed,
Then take my hand and lead me down the path.
I’m oft ungrateful for all that You’ve provided
Yet in small ways, Your providence is clear,
So let me take heart to all the wonders that You’ve given,
And open my ears that I may truly hear.
I fall prostrate in life-forsaking service,
Let my oath be written on my heart:
“In Your grace, my God, I’ve seen and I come running,
So once we meet again, please let us never part.”
* * * * *
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had that wake-up call experience from God. Whether you are a religious person or not, I can positively say that you’ve experienced it multiple times in your life (for the latter group, I’d argue that you just don’t realize that you’ve had it, but that’s another argument for another day). The truth lies in the fact that we’ve all had that wake-up call moment, where we are just going about our daily lives doing our day-to-day tasks when BAM!, out of nowhere, you find yourself blind-sighted by the grace of God and the love He sheds down on us. Often these occurrences take place in the form of what we would call “coincidences”—or “miracles” for the more spectacular ones—but either way, it’s God working in our lives, whether we realize it or not. Sometimes these wake-up calls might not even fall into the coincidence or miracle category, but a totally separate category all to themselves, an instance where something explicable albeit not very realistic happens to you, something that can be attributed to no skill or attribute of your own merit, but only to some unseen Artist working behind the scenes to make some beautiful piece of art for all to see. Often, we would call instances such as this “luck.”
Our world is quick to use terms such as these, with people telling their friends that they have “good luck” or “back luck” in regards to certain aspects of their life, saying “What a coincidence!” when a concurrence of events without any seeming connection suddenly connects, or attributing some inexplicable deus ex machina-like happening to miracle-like standards when there is no other explanation for how it may have occurred. For a world that tries to emphasize the validity of the physical, natural, earthly elements of every single thing, we sure seem to bring up spiritual, supernatural, otherworldly elements such as “coincidence,” “miracles,” and “luck” quite a bit. Why is this?
To me, this is what I believe serves as the aforementioned “Wake-up call” of God. You see, as guilty as I may be for attributing things to “luck” or “chance” or “coincidence” or “phenomenon,” the truth lies in the fact that often, I stumble into the same blindness that we all seem to fall into every now and then. It just takes that one “stroke of luck” or “mind-bending miracle” to all of a sudden call us to attention to the fact that these are not chance occurrences after all, but instead evidence of God’s direct involvement in our everyday lives. Allow me to explain a bit more:
The Bible, in Ecclesiastes 3:1, tells us that “There is a time for everything” or, in other translations, “To everything there is a season,” which essentially means that throughout our lives, there is a time for every single thing you could possibly think of, if given the right circumstances and conditions. The same chapter goes on to list a few, with birth, death, laughing, mourning, dancing, and even casting stones being among the mix. But my point is this: For every single thing, there is a time. And I don’t know about you, but if a psychiatrist were to ask me the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the word “time,” my response would most likely be “day,” just because they fit hand in hand. So, going along with the context of the verse, there is also a time for both day and night, correct? Day and night were literally created on the first day of Creation (Gen. 1:3-5), so I would argue that yes, there is a time and place for them.
But let’s put a spiritual twist on this, and let’s make the nighttime represent the low points in our lives while the daylight represents the high points in our lives. According to that verse in Ecclesiastes, that means that for each of us, we are also entitled to these constant back-and-forths of highs and lows. Night gives birth to day and day gives birth to night; in the same way, we constantly go back and forth in life, going from happy to sad to happy again, from sleepy to awake to sleepy again, to feeling super active to super lazy to super active again. The same is true for our spiritual lives, where we are on a constant cycle of highs and lows, moments of God-inspired passion—the daytime—followed by our natural, sinful pursuit of the ways of the world—the night. C.S. Lewis calls this cycle the Law of Undulation, which he describes as “the repeated return to a level from which [humans] repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.” We all succumb to this cycle, experiencing the beauty that lies in the day that then gives birth to the dreaded night, where fear and burden and grievance abounds.
But then comes the wake-up call.
To me, these instances of “luck” or “coincidence” always seem to occur during one of those spiritual lows; it’s as if God, seeing me there abandoning the promises I have made to Him, comes down to me to knock on the door to my brain and says, “Hey David, it’s time to wake up. The sun is up and it’s time to shine.” In these moments, I suddenly realize that the night has given birth to the day once again, and I’m once again sent on a frenzy of spiritual excitement and hunger—which can often only be appeased by writing, as you might notice. He just does one seemingly small thing in my life—something that most people would call a coincidence or a good stroke of luck—and it makes me realize, “Wow, God is mindful of me. He knows my name. The guy who literally created Day and Night came down to give me my own personal wake-up call.”
How cool is that?
Now this is where the naysayers could step in and ask, “David, how do you know that all of these coincidences and whatnot are a direct work of God and not as we see them, mere chance, inexplicable phenomenon of nature?” and the truth is, if you don’t place any validity within the Bible, then I can’t really provide you with an answer (the Bible’s validity is yet another topic for yet another day). But, what I can do is provide you with quotes from the Bible that might remind you—the next time you experience “good luck” or some crazy coincidence—that perhaps it was no coincidence at all, and perhaps it was a work of God from the very beginning.
In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus draws an analogy for his disciples: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (v.29). Just think about that. Not a single bird can fall from the sky without God knowing it! Jesus then proceeds to diverge even further: “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (v.29-31). Jesus is reminding us that God—the Father, Son, and Spirit all at once—knows everything, a trait that we have dubbed omniscience (coming from the Latin omni, which means “all,” and scientia, which means “knowledge”). God knows the number of hairs on your head, something that you yourself will never know! So of course He knows the day-to-day things that happens in your everyday life.
It is my belief that in all things that happen in this world, God either causes them to happen or permits them to happen. He does what He pleases (Psalm 135:6) and He does what is according to His will (Dan. 4:35), and even now, in this very instant, He has a predetermined plan that will unfold over the course of time (Acts 2:23). We don’t even know what the next hour brings, yet God knows it all! So for us to attribute anything that happens to us as a chance occurrence or some sort of stroke of luck in which we had no hand in deserving, I would argue that this is pure foolishness, a foolishness that I succumb to just as much as the next person. The truth lies in the fact that God is all-knowing (Psalm 147:4-5), all-powerful (Job 42:2), and all-present (Prov. 15:3, Isa. 57:15)—omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent—so not only does He know what is going on at all times, but He has the ability to change those events according to His will. To top it off, He is always there with you, so whenever you receive that wake-up call, perhaps it really is Him just tapping you on the head, trying to get your attention.
So next time you see that stranger walking down the street and their smile brightens up your day, remember that God put them in that place at that moment for you to see them. Or maybe for them to see you, who knows?
Next time you inexplicably run into some friend at the most unexpected place you could have possibly encountered them, think about how you can use that instance to glorify God.
Next time you’re at a restaurant and some Good Samaritan pays your bill, remember that it wasn’t just good luck or a chance occurrence that something like that happened. Give thanks to God, for He is good.
So I say this: forget luck or chance or unexpected phenomenon. You have the Creator of heaven and earth and everything that lies within them walking along with you every moment of every day, working in the most unexpected ways. It doesn’t get much better than that. Embrace it.