This is the timeline leading to a result which shocked and delighted me. See what you make of it.
October 28, 2008: Picture it. 6 months ago. October 28, 2008. Justin Buzzard, a pastor in San Francisco posts on his Blog about a plan for reading through the Bible in a year. In Oxford, England, I was changing what I was doing in my personal bible reading at the time and decide to follow his plan, which gives certain readings for each day, and if you miss a day, you just skip them, you don't "catch up". I can't remember why I was even reading his blog.
December 14, 2008: I start going out with a lovely girl called Cat. Now I should explain something to those of my friends who aren't Christian. If a Christian starts "going out" it should always mean they are coonsidering marriage - it is a time to get to know each other better, and considering if marriage is right.
May 13, 2009: Justin Taylor, another American blogger posts about a book called "The Water of the Word" about praying for your wife (even if you don't have one). I think it looks interesting so order a copy, but it is only available from Amazon in the US, so order it (and forget about it - shipping takes a long time).
June 24th 2009 10.00: I start working on my to do list for the day. I'm expecting a courier delivery, and the buzzer to my flat is broken, so I leave a note on my letter box asking the courier to call my phone if he gets no response from the buzzer.
June 24th 2009 11.00: The aforementioned lovely Cat sends me a txt message asking how my quiet time is going. Again, let me explain the jargon. It is common for Christians to spend some time each day on their own reading the Bible, and praying, in response to Jesus in Matt 6:6. This is often called a "quiet time" as it is quicker to say than "personal time of bible reading and prayer".
All strands join together
June 24th 2009 11.00: I had been slow in getting started so start reading. The verses for the day from the Bible in a Year plan are 1 Corinthians 7:1-19 and Psalms 116, 117, and 118.
I start reading the 1 Corinthians sections and it is a passage all about marriage.
Just then the phone goes and it is the postman (not the courier, who I'm still waiting for). He has a parcel which won't fit in the letter box. I go down and get it, and it is the book I had ordered 6 weeks before, about praying for a wife (which you may or may not have).
I decide to read a bit. I read the Preface, which is all about praying as you read through the Bible.
I read the first prayer which is based on Psalms 116, 118, and 121, two of which are the very Psalms I was going to be reading that day.
Coincidences (in the sense of the word meaning things which happened together):
- The book on prayer for a wife arrived on exactly the same day nas I was reading a bible passage about marriage.
- In fact it happened at the same time, on the same day.
- Which happened after Cat reminded me to spend time reading the bible and praying
- And the first prayer was based on 2 of the three Psalms I was looking at, also on exactly the same day
- And I was actually at home that day rather than out at work
- And because I was expecting a courier, I had left a note out, so the book actually got delivered rather than going back to the sorting office
- And I was expecting a courier because I was expecting a wedding gift for another couple to be delivered
- And I hadn't chosen the passages, they were from going through the whole Bible linearly (Old Testament and New Testament) in a year, form a scheme starting 6 months before.
I know a lot of my atheist friends will argue convincingly that I should look at all the coincidences that didn't happen, and it was nothing special. Now, I've got a degree in Mathematics and Computation from Oxford, and work in proprietary trading in investment banking, using Mathematical and Statistical market models. I'm fairly happy with statistics. And I know it could be a coincidence, I won't claim otherwise - but my response to it all? It has to be the Psalm that wasn't in the prayer, Psalm 117:
Psalm 117 (in it's entirety)
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.