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Was a coincidence a message from God?


A young Iranian man living in Australia became a Christian after a strange coincidence. According to Lee Grady, a popular US Christian writer, in 2016 the young man had decided to watch the film Hacksaw Ridge that told the story of Pfc. Desmond Doss, who volunteered to be a medic during World War II.

However, because of his Christian faith, Desmond refused to carry a weapon, but after nearly being kicked out of the army, he was allowed to stay and became the only conscientious objector during World War II to win a Medal of Honor after saving 75 men during the battle for Okinawa.

However, during the early part of the movie, the young Iranian man was struck by the words of the Lord’s prayer that were displayed in a picture frame beside Doss. The well-known prayer starts with:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Luke 11:2 KJV

Being a Muslim from Iran, the young man had never heard of the Lord’s prayer before and after the movie actually searched the internet to find out more about the prayer.

But then a strange thing happened. A few days later, two pieces of paper were blown on to the doorstep of his home. When he picked them up, he noticed that they were two pages from the Bible, specifically Luke 11, containing the Lord’s prayer.

Believing the Christian God was speaking to him, the young man decided to believe on Jesus becoming a Christian and according to Grady still has those two pages stored in his Iranian Bible.

Was it a coincidence or sign from God?

I have no doubt it happened, because there is a huge cost when Muslim people become Christians, because at the very least they are ostracized by their family, friends and community. Such decisions are not made lightly and often require divine interventions for Muslims to make the decision.

And perhaps it’s also just a coincidence, but in Luke 10, the chapter just before the Lord’s prayer, the word coincidence pops up in the Bible in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Luke 10:31 NASV

The Greek word for “chance” also translated coincidence by some versions is the compound Greek word synkyria that means coincidence or by chance. The first part “sun” means ‘together with’ or ‘union’ and curiously, the second part comes from the Greek word kurios which translated Lord used to describe Jesus several times in the New Testament. Literally interpreted “with the Lord,” it suggests a divine element in coincidences.

In Acts 8:25-40, we read the story of a Eunuch from Ethiopia who was sitting in his carriage reading from the Isaiah 53:7-8 where it says in part:

“He was led as a sheep to slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.

Acts 8:32 NASV

From the Eunuch’s perspective, it was a coincidence that Philip showed up at the exact moment to explain this passage in Isaiah was referring to Jesus. This resulted in the Eunuch being saved and getting baptized.

But as we read the verses leading up to this coincidence, we are told about a divine intervention in that chance encounter:

26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)

Acts 8:26 NASV

Coincidence from the Eunuch’s perspective, divine intervention from God’s, like two pages of a Bible mysteriously showing up at the front of your home

Now this was not just any Ethiopian eunuch, it seems he was a senior manager for Candace which was the name used to describe the mother of the Ethiopian King.

Sources:

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