“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will…[have] a form of godliness, but [deny] its power. And from such people turn away.”
2 Timothy 3:1-2, 5 (NKJV UK)
I was driving home from our Pentecost services and, for the first time this year, was obliged to turn on the air conditioning. That Sunday was, if you remember, a glorious summer day. Those before and after were gloomy, scudding with rain at times, cool. But not that day. I sometimes wonder if God wants us, if we ever think about it, not only to know that he is in charge of our weather when necessary, but able and willing to give us good weather on days in which we honour his name.
Well, of course, it could all be coincidence. But then, when we look at coincidences in the Bible, many are not coincidences at all—with God claiming to have taken charge and made certain things to happen.
Lots of examples, but let me give you one of my favourite Scriptures, not least because of the unintended humour of the old King James version. In 2 Kings 19:35 is the conclusion of the story, about Assyria invading Judah: “…and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead men.” The all-powerful army of Sennacherib was reduced to abject defeat by sudden death of most of his soldiers. Coincidence? Well, yes, that’s always possible. For instance, the camp could have been infested with rats because the army were not as clean in habits as they should have been. Those rats could have been carrying fleas, and the fleas carrying pasteurella pestis, or better known as The Black Death. A mighty army killed off by a microscopic bacterium perhaps. And all within the eight hours of darkness! But not really a coincidence, God tells us. God’s mighty hand is to be seen in many areas—when we look for it.
Only too often we don’t. Too many Christians wander through life unheeding of the mighty power of God. And we are warned that that seems to be more characteristic for modern Christians (2 Timothy 3:1). There are, on the other hand, those who take God’s intervention to extremes; the TV evangelist, for example, who steps on to the street and expects God to provide him instantly with a taxi.
We need to walk with care, thoughtfully looking to our God to supply our needs, not our wants. But then expecting him at times to act, one way or another. For Christians, coincidences are less likely than we might think.
All-powerful Father, if we look we can see your mighty hand in so many instances. Your care for us, your love for us, we can take for granted; but you, Father, will use your mighty power on our behalf as and when necessary. Help us to appreciate that and to look for the examples rather than to pass them off as coincidence. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford Phone: 01923-241426