Coincidences are curious things. Mysterious, and yet, still commonplace—like a sneeze. Many don’t notice them. Some people pause for a moment, offering a half-smile. But few ponder whether or not a coincidence means anything beyond chance.
For almost a century, great minds have contemplated coincidences through a theory known as synchronicity. By definition, it means: the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, though they’re unlikely to be causally related. Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, introduced the concept in the 1920s and spent decades developing a fuller description.
He said, “When coincidences pile up…one cannot help being impressed by them – for the greater the number…or the more unusual its character, the more improbable it becomes.”
Arthur Koestler wrote extensively on synchronicity in The Roots of Coincidence. Physicist and Nobel laureate, Wolfgang Pauli, and Albert Einstein noted the patterns as well.
What interests me most is Jung’s statement that life was not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order, wherein a person was both embedded in an orderly framework and was also the focus of that orderly framework(!) Any realization of this he maintained, was more than just an intellectual exercise, but also contained elements of a spiritual awakening. From the religious perspective, Jung said synchronicity is like an “intervention of grace.”
Okay, now back to planet normal where you and I live.
I believe we are part of a much larger story that Creator God has designed. We all have our own small stories. God in His orderly framework merges into our concrete world, as a way to draw us into His larger story. Coincidences can signal a point of contact where the two stories intersect. Not all coincidences, perhaps. But it’s worth thinking about.
As I said last week, God used a palindromic number to speak to me about becoming a writer, and specifically about writing a book. He’d already tried a miraculous healing, a vivid dream, and a pastor’s prophetic words over lunch. I’d started to write and publish a little. But the number, 747, was the turnkey.
I started seeing “747” everywhere, and all the time. On clocks, license plates, TV ads and price tags. It was imbedded in model numbers, credit cards, and telephone numbers. I searched out every 7:47 and 74:7 verse in the Bible. Nothing popped out. I knew that in dream language, airplanes had to do with prophetic gifts—seeing earthly life from God’s perspective. Large airplanes sometimes symbolized prophetic ministry. Still, I couldn’t figure out what God was saying to me.
Then one morning, I walked into my kitchen and the clock read 7:47 a.m. I let out a frustrated sigh. “Oh God! Please tell me what you mean!” Sometimes the most important words from God have to be sought after like silver and gold. God isn’t holding out on us. Rather, He’s watching to see how badly we want something. Will we buy the whole field to have the treasure?
Returning to my room, I plopped down on the bed next to my Bible, my notebook, and a small, blue-cover Webster’s dictionary.
I reached for the dictionary, wondering if page 747 even existed inside. While turning there, I heard the Lord say, “There is a first and last word about your life on that page.” My thoughts ran wild. Adrenaline pumped through my system leaving a tingling chill on my skin. Something was about to happen.
At the top of the page I found the word—suppress. A term understood by most. But what surprised me was the third definition: to prevent or prohibit the publication of a book.
Something inside me was holding back. Intimidated by the enemy? Probably. A lack of confidence? Yes. The world of publishing seemed daunting to me. The word carried a ping of truth.
The last word on the page was—surpassing. It means to go beyond the average or usual, exceeding or unusually excellent. The contrast of the two words stirred me. One described where I was, and the other, where God wanted me to be.
I pictured myself locked in a root cellar, unleashed to sprint in a wide-open field. But it was more than that. It captured the feeling of transcending or going beyond what I was capable of in my human strength—like the time I ran off a beach and parasailed up into the sky over Saranac Lake.
Yes, like a plane taking off.
A desire to search it out.
A point of contact with the living God.
A small story merging into a much larger story.
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Next week, the plot thickens.
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