For this 15 minutes, I want to tell you a story or two. If I’m lucky, and the Baby stays down for her nap (I believe the singing has stopped), I may even be able to finish the stories. If not, there is always tomorrow.
I was talking to someone (or someones) about miracles that God used to perform. They said that God doesn’t perform miracles anymore and I really started wondering about that. We’ve become so technologically savvy that I wonder if we are replacing science for miracles. Things that would have been miraculous–someone being healed–are now passed off as medical intervention. It really takes a HUGE medical event for people to say, “yes, that really was miraculous.” but even still, some simply claim the original diagnosis was incorrect. But I think miracles can happen every day, to all of us.
Several years ago, I was driving home from work and had stopped at a red light. The light turned green and I stepped on the gas. The car DID NOT move. The engine was on, it didn’t rev or anything. It just didn’t move. At first, I assumed I was doing something wrong–like not in gear–and I looked down to see if I was somehow in “park.” Nope, definitely in “drive.” I stepped on the gas again and, again, the car didn’t move. Just then, a car with an OBVIOUS RED LIGHT flew through the intersection. I mean flew. Now I hadn’t been sitting there long…it wasn’t like anyone was honking or anything, but the light had been green for me for a moment. If I had pulled out when I first had the green light, I would have been hit. Hard. And seconds later–my foot was still on the gas, my car pulled out into the intersection as though nothing had been wrong with it. When I told my mom the story, she just claimed it was a coincidence. “You were hitting the break. Or your parking brake was still on.” But no, I think God is in the coincidence.
Again, several years ago, just after my husband and I got married we started house hunting. We found two houses that we loved that the offers fell through. All the while, I kept seeing our current house in the real estate listings. At first, it was WAY overpriced. Then, it was offering the house and the lot next to it for WAY too much money. Then the price started dropping. All the while we are looking at other houses and firmly thinking that we can’t afford the house we now live in. Finally we looked at this house and another one in Abington. The Abington house was less expensive but this house had charm. When the agent ran the actual numbers, for a 20 year mortgage, our current house was 15.00 more a month. But that isn’t the coincidence. The coincidence happened earlier:
At the time, my husband was working for basic slave wages at a former retail store in Philadelphia. I was making decent money at an evil company that was full of petty, evil people. But I hadn’t been there that long. I have a long history of short jobs. I just can’t seem to swallow the kool-aid that everyone else manages to drink. I can totally freelance at a place for years without a problem, but give me a W2 and my days at the place are suddenly numbered. I tend to get fired…or let go…or downsized/rightsized/leftsized. For a while there, the unemployment compensation office was on my speed dial. So here is me–with job that pays, but I haven’t been there that long. And here is dear husband, with a job that doesn’t pay, but he’s been there for a nice long time. And here is the house we want.
Stay with me, I’m getting to the God coincidence. So one day I’m at the advertising agency for my company. I’m talking to some of the staff with whom I’m friendly and I casually mention that my husband is looking for a new job. The account rep asks what my husband does and I’m actually secretly HOPING that the ad agency will suggest he come in for an interview. Suddenly, this guy walks past the door of the conference room and sees the account rep. We make introductions and the AR comments that I was just saying how my husband was looking for a job in traffic production. The guy says, “Hey, I know this women who works at company X in the ‘burbs. Here’s her card. Tell her ‘Steve’ gave it to you.” Now “Steve” didn’t have any idea who I was and certainly not my husband. But I thanked him for the lead and gave the card to my husband. The woman immediately interviewed my husband and offered him the job. When I went back to the agency to thank “Steve” my account rep said, “Oh, he doesn’t work here anymore. He’s one of those guys who just works long enough to makes some pocket money and then he moves on. He left like the week after he spoke to you.”
Wow, what a coincidence. This totally random person was instrumental in getting my husband a job. Okay. That’s fine. But it’s just a coincidence. Back to the house that we wanted. The owner was giving us some grief about actually being able to afford the house (even though we’d been approved for the mortgage amount) and wanted a note from our companies that our jobs were secure (this was over 15 years ago–I cannot believe they’d do that now). He wanted to know that I would be with my company for a while, since I made more money than my husband, but wanted to know my husband’s job was secure because he’d been there for so long. So both our companies wrote notes. At the time, my husband hadn’t been offered the other job, it was still in the works. Finally, the guy accepted our offer and we went to settlement. The day before settlement, my husband accepted the new job offer. He was now making what I was making so we were really happy about that (ah, the salad days of the newly married. They are much more romantic than the salad days with three kids and a mortgage.) At settlement, we both had to sign a document stating that we were still employed at the same jobs. I was worried about my husband signing it, but he said, “it says, as of today, you are currently working at Company X. As of today I am. In two weeks, after we own the new house, I won’t be.” So we both signed. And have the house we have today.
When we went to map where our new house was in relation to my husband’s new job (back before google maps) we were delighted to find it was 2.8 miles away. What a coincidence.
Two weeks later, right after my husband started his new job, I was fired from the evil company. And my unemployment compensation–$10 MORE than my husband’s previous salary.
So could all of this–the stranger giving me a lead on a job for my husband, a house that was out of reach until we had the right amount of salary to afford it, the fact that my husband’s job was right around the corner from the new house, that I didn’t get fired until AFTER we owned the house, and that our “salaries” basically swapped places–could all of this just be a bunch of random coincidences? Maybe. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that God isn’t in the coincidence.
Tomorrow I might tell you another coincidence that, coincidentally enough, also involves me getting fired. Huh.