Devotion: Sunday, February 11, 2018
Those Inexplicable Coincidences
I recall still another personal experience during my early Christian life as an unsettled young man. Actually, I was doing some "bumming around," as we used to say. I was away from home, away from the church and away from everything that was right. I would spend weekends "riding the rods." I had little money, and I would hitch free rides on the freight trains, riding the rods under the boxcars.
The Lord chose a particular Sunday to teach me the lesson I had to learn. I do not remember now which town was involved, but I was involved and so was the Lord. The freight train slowed down, then braked to a stop. The car that I was riding halted directly alongside a church yard. The train had hardly stopped when the church bells began to ring. They rang more loudly and more insistently than any bells I have heard before or since!
I have sat under strong preaching, but never has a preacher laid conviction on my soul like those church bells did that Sunday morning. I do not know if they were Methodist or Presbyterian or Anglican church bells. But they reminded me that I should not be riding freight trains. Rather, I should be back where I belonged. And, believe me, very soon I was back where I belonged—and straightened out spiritually, too!
How was all of that arranged? The right day, the right hour, the right place. If I had walked up to the engineer to inquire if he was an angel, he probably would have smiled, spit some tobacco juice over the cab window sill and replied, "Not that I know of!" But this I am sure of: when that engineer put on those brakes, it was by the providence of God that I would be halted practically in a church yard, with the bells pleading, "Go back, young man! Go back, young man."
My point is that God knows us so well that He does a number of little providential things at the very moment of our need. We think we have planned and executed everything all by ourselves. We are not aware that it has been God's plan and that He has been out there ahead of us the whole time.
It was some years later, as I read Psalm 71 in the familiar King James Version, that I noticed for the first time the words, "Thou hast given commandment to save me" (71:3). My heart has been warm ever since with that thought. God has sent His Word throughout all of the earth to save me. You may be critical if you wish. Do with that text as you will. You may even have some theological problem with it. But God has "given commandment," and these words are for me!
God saw me, a lonely, lost boy in rural western Pennsylvania and His commandment went throughout His creation. I am convinced every angel in heaven heard it. And I believed on the Son of God and turned myself over to Him for salvation!
Nothing can compare with this knowledge. God and His Word are on my side. The living Word of God has charged Himself with the responsibility to forgive me, to cleanse me, to perfect that which concerns me and to keep me in the way everlasting.
We are living in a world full of God's created beings—many of them not seen by us or those around us. We ought to thank God for the angels and for God's providential circumstances everyday. As one of the old saints long ago remarked, "If you will thank God for your providences, you will never lack a providence to thank God for!"