Coincidence Or The Holy Spirit?

May 23, 2016
by Judith Welch

John 14:16-17a – I will ask the Father, and he will give you another to be your Advocate, who will be with you for ever — the Spirit of truth. (NEB)

Last Sunday during the worship service in my local church, our pastor was preaching about the importance of sharing our faith with one another. At one point in his sermon, he stepped down from the pulpit and began to walk slowly down the centre aisle. Then, he asked if people were willing to share how the Holy Spirit was working in their lives. After listening to several stories, I knew that I wanted to share my story, but I dislike speaking in front of a large group, so I decided to share it with you, the readers of PresbyCan Daily.

Prior to that moment, I considered that what had been happening to me was a coincidence. Now, I see it as the work of the Holy Spirit. My story starts in January of this year. I had been writing devotionals every other month for my local church's website. Suddenly, I couldn't get my messages through to the person who posts them, nor could she get any messages back to me. The computer system in the church office had been changed, and there were many glitches that had to be ironed out. By mid-February when my devotional was due, I was still unable to communicate with the office. I became quite frustrated and was on the verge of deciding that I wouldn't write for a while. It was just a matter of days later that I received an e-mail from Robin Ross, the Submissions Editor of the Presbycan Daily. I had had no contact with Daily other than as a reader since the year 2010. Robin's message was asking me if I would consider coming back and writing for the Daily page again.

I explained that I had stopped writing in 2010 because I needed to undergo four eye surgeries for my failing vision, and the necessary healing time between surgeries had made reading and writing nearly impossible for that whole year. After my eyes were healed, there was no reason not to start writing again. I just hadn't done it. So I considered coming back to Daily.

Then I read that PresbyCan Daily was celebrating 20 years of publishing devotional messages online and that the daily readership was now up to 6,200. Wow! That really scared me. I thought that I didn't have anything to say that would merit that large an audience's attention. I tried for several days to press that send button, but each time, I drew back and put my message on hold while I prayed for another day.

Finally in March, I felt able to share my first message. What a blessing it has been! The day my message was published, I received responses from people who remembered me from the early 2000s. People that I had never heard from before sent comments as well. Each message was uplifting and encouraging. Now three of my devotionals have appeared on the PresbyCan Daily page, and I have heard from readers in countries that I have never heard from before. I had no idea how many people in different countries were receiving these daily devotionals. Many of the places were surprising to me. One person even sent a picture of himself and his daughter saying that he read my devotional to her. Another message came in a language that I could not translate. Another requested permission to republish on their website.

Now, I am so pleased to be a part of Daily's new decade of publishing devotionals. My pastor's words couldn't have been truer. It is important for Christians to share their faith with other believers and to have them respond in kind. I truly feel that I have linked my faith with Christians around the world. There is no feeling quite like that anywhere!

Has something happened in your life that made you say to yourself, "Wow! What a coincidence!"? If so, look again, even if it scares you, like it did me, because it just might be the Holy Spirit guiding you in a new direction.

John 16:13 – When he comes who is the Spirit of truth, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on this own authority, but will tell only what he hears; and he will make known to you the things that are coming. (NEB)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for sending the Holy Spirit to guide us as we go through our lives, supporting each other in our faith. Amen.

About the author:

Judith Welch <judithwelch12@gmail.com>
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good job Judith!


    God bless your faithfulness Judith.


    Thank you Judith and welcome home.


    Welcome back Judith! Isn’t God the best ever??


    Excellent.
    There are no co-incidences!
    I haven’t written a devotional in a long time!


    Thank You, Judith. What a beautiful Birthday present for me!
    I also have been blessed by the Holy Spirit, more times than I can count! Please keep on writing!
    (Northern Ontario)


    Dear Judith,
    Thank you for sharing your life in your devotionals!! Your push through the fear of submitting to your church and to Daily is a true testament to your willingness to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. God bless you and your loved ones!


    Judith
    I know the feeling!! The first devotional of mine that went on air drew three responses (one from the US, one from India and one from Africa!! I couldn’t imagine how far we on the Daily were reaching out! God always was a way and yes, He does use us!


    Hello Judith
    I don’t think it’s an either/or. Rather it’s a matter of how we understand a particular event – with our understanding being grounded in how our relationship with God is in the moment. And that can undergo a lot of changes over time.
    (AB, CANADA)


    Hi Judith,
    I understand the situation you have described very well. I haven’t written any devotionals for several months. It seems my brain has closed down in that area though I love writing and sharing on the Presbyterian website.
    No coincidences with God.
    Thanks and bless you as you continue to share.


    Hi Judith,
    I enjoyed reading your devotional this morning. A lot of what you wrote is part of my story and history with the Daily. I started writing devotionals in 2000 and went through some times when I didn’t write but I am still writing from time to time.
    Since I don’t believe in coincidences I feel truly blessed to have been guided by the Holy Spirit over the years to write and share my faith with others. I find it easier to express my thoughts through words than speaking them. The Lord works in mysterious ways!


    Welcome Back Judith. Your name is familiar to me, but you may not remember me. I have been writing for the Daily for about 17 years, although rather sporadically lately. I must receive the inspiration from the Lord before I can write.
    About God and coincidences, I have always felt that with believers there is no such thing as a coincidence but the Holy Spirit guiding us. I thank you for sharing your experiences, I have been enriched by being part of the Daily, and have met such wonderful people far and wide.


    Dear Judith,
    Thank you for your inspirational words‎. I am a Ghanaian living in Ghana in West Africa.
    I have been receiving the Daily devotion for about 6 years now and share it with over 200 other people ‎in and outside of Ghana.
    I can recall my days as a student at university in Montreal. There can a time I had no money no means of making any. I then met a lady who turned me to be praying. We used to pray every evening over the phone.
    Some I call a miracle happened. One of my professors called me one day and offered me ‎a job as a Technical assistant on an ongoing research project.
    To the glory of God this project gave me a regular income ‎and I was allowed to use same for my Masters thesis.
    Make the Lord continue to bless us all.
    Amen
    (Ghana)


    Very good I had a friend who solved every problem with let go and let God Guess what? It really works.


    Dear Judith,
    Thank you for sharing with us in writing.
    May God bless you richly in giving you courage, according to his will.


    Hello Judith!
    Just wanted to say a quick hi…
    Good Bless,
    (British Columbia, Canada)


    Dear Judith,
    Greetings!
    Thank you so much for your devotional from Monday, May 23. I’m glad to hear that you are back writing. Your devotional shows how easy it is to get out of the habit of doing something, and how difficult to pick it back up… when it is a good habit.
    I also wanted to let you know that I no longer believe in “coincidences” – and have picked up another term… things like this that happen are “God-incidences”!
    Thanks again, and keep up the inspiring messages!
    Blessings.
    (Nova Scotia, Canada)


    I loved reading your story. This is what I call a God-instance, not a coincidence!


    Hello Judith,
    Like you, I don’t believe there are coincidences – just God’s grace! Thanks for writing… again!

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