Coincidence or a “God thing”?

You know what I did for the first time this week?

I finally watched the Wizard of OZ while listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Many years ago somebody figured out that the movie and the album – produced decades apart – were somehow in sync with each other. And there’s some truth to it!

When the wicked witch first appears (in human form) there’s a big crashing sound. When Dorothy walks on a wooden beam the song talks about balance. A few songs seem to start at the perfect moment. Weird, and definitely surreal!

Is it just a coincidence, or some strange form of divine connection? Is this, somehow, a “God thing”?

Well, I wouldn’t think so. But then again, I do apply that label to lots of strange occurrences.

  • I was short on cash and an unexpected check came in the mail. GOD THING!
  • I was thinking about a friend and they called me that day. GOD THING!
  • I threw open the Bible to a random page and the perfect verse was right there. (John Wesley did this all the time) Clearly a GOD THING!

Right? Well…

Have you heard about the condition called “apophenia”? Here’s the definition (according to Wikipedia):

Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data

  • …like in a providential piece of mail amidst a whole week’s worth of junk mail.
  • …or in a well-timed phone call out of a thousand phone calls.
  • …or even in a random page in a book already full of God’s truths.

So, if a film and a movie made 40 years apart seem to sync up, it’s because when we go looking for those connections, we’re bound to find them. Even when they don’t have any real meaning behind them.

Which brings me back to “God things”. Atheists will sometimes use the notion of apophenia to explain away religion and religious occurrences. To them, belief in God is simply our desire to find order in a universe that’s really just chaos.

Hmm. There really are a lot of little coincidences that I ascribe to God, even when I know they may have been just random.

I call lots of things “God things,” and I wonder, what if they aren’t?

And then I get nervous. Am I kidding myself about this whole “God thing”?

Am I living in a fantasy land, somewhere over the rainbow? (Or on the dark side of the moon?)

But then it occurs to me:

Some folks want to look at this amazing world and see evidence of apophenia.But that’s not me.

I look at the world and I see evidence of God. And you know what?

That has made my life meaningful, rewarding, and hopeful.

In my book, friends…

that’s no coincidence.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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