February 21, 2009

Coincidental Grace

Acts 10:1-24

Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Acts 10:43


God gives Cornelius the Gentile a vision to send for Peter the Jew. As Cornelius’s men arrive at Peter’s lodging, God gives Peter a vision to urge him to go with them. Peter joins them on the return trip to Cornelius’s house and preaches forgiveness for all who believe. Jews and Gentiles are joined by the grace of God into the family of God.

Some may say, “What a coincidence that Cornelius and Peter in separate cities each had a vision that soon brought them together.” But these two visions were not mere coincidence. They were examples of God’s coincidental grace. God arranged the visions to coincide.

My dictionary lists harmonious as a synonym of coincidental. Many seeming coincidences in our lives are indeed harmonious, because God is at work before the events, in the events, through the events, and after the events.

Do we always see the harmony? No. Do we always feel the harmony? No. Do we always believe there is harmony? No. But our seeing, feeling, and believing do not create the harmony. It’s more the other way around. The harmony God occasionally allows us to see helps us to believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Those “things” are God’s coincidental grace in action.

God of all grace, give us today the faith to see signs of your coincidental and abounding grace. Help us to see you working behind the scenes in our lives, and to trust you. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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