In their popular book When God Winks, authors Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt share real-life stories affirming that "godwinks," or divine coincidences, happen to everyone. But are amazing coincidences really proof of divine care? In a recent survey, 49% said they are, while 39% said they are just good luck. Before you decide, consider the coincidences in this true story.
During the Vietnam Era, a sailor began active duty with a 10-week course in office management at a Naval Training School. His class was told to study extra-hard for the exam at the end of the first week. Whoever earned the highest score would have his choice of future duty stations. That meant he could avoid combat if he wished. Everyone studied hard, but our sailor caught a heavy cold Monday night and was exhausted on Tuesday and Wednesday, too tired to study. On Thursday he felt better, but it was too late to study, so he prayed, asking God what to do. He believes God told him to stop worrying and pray for the entire class. He realized the test which claimed power to pull his class away from God's care and into possible danger was made of paper and ink. How could paper and ink be more powerful than God? He knew this was true for his entire class. On Friday morning the classroom atmosphere was electric with tension. Our sailor quickly realized he didn't know ANY of the answers on the test. None! So he prayed again, and listened. The idea came to simply "draw a finished test" without reading the questions. This took courage, but he had no choice. He scattered his pencil marks in various boxes so the test looked complete. The tests were machine graded in 15 minutes, and the highest score was his. Asked where he wanted to serve, he selected Communications Command Headquarters in Washington, DC. When the course ended, he received orders to Washington as expected, and nobody in the class received orders into combat. (The teacher said this never happened before.) Several months later, he and his colleagues were sitting in their office, discussing how they got to DC. One said he was transferred from a carrier. Another was on R&R from Vietnam. Our sailor said he got the highest grade on the test at training school. The Chief Petty Officer laughed. "The school has no power to let you pick your own duty," he said. "I well recall the day the Commander told me we need another man from the training school. I opened the class file and picked you. That's why you're here." Our sailor was confused. Getting the highest grade on the test was a miracle. And now this Chief claimed responsibility for his being in DC? So that night at home he prayed again, asking God "what's going on?" He listened a long time, and finally realized the answer. God is not a team player. God does not work with anyone else to keep His children safe. He's a solo act. "The same mind that guided your hand to mark correct answers on the test guided the Chief's hand to select your name from the file. God is in charge of everybody."
Earning the highest test score was an amazing coincidence. Being chosen by the Chief was another coincidence. I know the story is true because the sailor was me. Was it good luck, or divine care?