We talked in class two weeks ago about miracles. One of the purposes of the miracles of Jesus was that they were a "sign" -- a way to affirm his authority as one sent from God. Soon after that, I wrote a post about God-incidences -- those "coincidences" sent from God.
It brings to my mind a question -- How do we determine what is a "sign" and what is really just a plain old ordinary coincidence? How do we know that a happening is a way God is communicating with us or is just an ordinary event in an ordinary day -- chance?
I don't know the answer to that question. I do think, however, that at times we are tempted to view a chance meeting of circumstances as a "sign from God," especially if we feel that it is pointing us toward the decision that we want to make anyway. I think we need to be careful that we don't judge ordinary life around us through the eyes of solely our own preferences.
My own experiences with God-incidents -- the "happenings" I believe are sent from God -- are as confirmations, not decision makers. They say to me, "I'm with you. Don't forget that I'm right here." I'm working right now on our church's Lenten devotional. A member of our church sent me a devotion, right out of the blue. She had never written one before, and wasn't sure if she should, but did it. When I got it, I arbitrarily placed it on a date during Lent that was one of three empty spots, then I read the corresponding lectionary reading for the day. It fit right with her devotion -- just by "chance." I emailed her back and shared the "coincidence" with her. Her response -- "Now I know I was supposed to write it." Confirmation of God's presence.
Image from here.