The longer I walk with God, the less I believe in coincidence.
Merriam-Webster defines a coincidence as “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection”. God has a way of turning accidents into providence.
In my previous post, I Went Missing to Find Joy, I wrote about how God guided me to produce a video podcast to help people find joy in the midst of uncertainty. I promised to use this week’s Mid-Week Miracle to share the “coincidences” God orchestrated to kickstart this new venture.
I birthed my book, Longing to Belong, from an in-depth study of Psalm 139 that I taught four years ago. Back then, I had dreamed of producing videos to walk readers through the material chapter by chapter, but my publishing journey took a different route and my hoped-for video curriculum became a stand-alone book.
Three “coincidences” over a period of three days aligned to reveal how God’s plans for my new video podcast lined up with my four-year-old dream.
First came the call from Christy.
Christy Manning, minister for women and small groups at Northpointe Community Church in Fresno,
had invited me to speak at a women’s event called The Gathering. She asked me to address a certain topic that she knew would minister to her women. I joyfully accepted the invitation and agreed to the topic.
But God had a different plan.
Not about the event. About the topic.
Every time I prayed about Christy’s event, God’s still small voice urged me to call her and ask to change the topic. I squirmed at the persistent thought that I was supposed to speak from my book. I had to admit the large gathering of women offered a wonderful opportunity to finally capture the recording requested by an internationally known radio program. But I didn’t want to prioritize the promotion of my book over the needs of the women at the event. I didn’t want to discount the value of the chosen topic. I didn’t want to rock the boat.
God kept after me to reach out and suggest a change. I resisted. For weeks! Then, Christy called me.
She told me that every time she sought God for direction to plan specifics for the event, all she heard was “Call Shawna.”
Christy is a gifted leader with a pastor’s heart and a professional administrator’s ability to plan and execute unforgettable events. She wanted to have her ducks in a row before calling me. She confessed her reluctance to call, but admitted that she wasn’t getting anywhere.
“It’s because I’m not supposed to talk about what you asked me to talk about.” Now it was my turn to confess. “It’s my fault that you’ve been struggling to plan this event because God told me to call you weeks ago and I wouldn’t do it.”
“Tell me more,” she said, inviting me to pour out my thoughts and reservations.
We hung up the phone with a plan of action that included changing the topic.
I sensed God’s pleasure.
Next came a text from Joni.
Days after speaking with Christy, I met with my women’s pastor, Joni Oquist of Peoples Church in Fresno. She surprised and delighted me with an invitation to teach a 10-week women’s Bible study from my book. The class at my church would begin the Wednesday after the event at Christy’s church. Coincidence?
Merriam-Webster defines providence as “divine guidance or care”.
“Coincidence” number three came when God gave me my Valentine.
I had been wondering what material would kickstart the video podcast my husband and I planned to launch February 14. I never once considered fulfilling my own dream to produce video curriculum to accompany my book. That is, until I sat with the Lord to thank him for these back-to-back opportunities from Christy and Joni. I rejoiced at the momentum caused by flowing from The Gathering into the Bible study. I wept at finally having an opportunity to teach publicly since my book released during the pandemic. Again, I sensed God’s pleasure.
That’s when God revealed his plan for Find Joy.
The Premiere Episode 1
Find Joy • By Shawna Bryant
February 14, 2022
Attendees of the event at Christy’s church who purchased my book and attendees of women’s Bible study at my church who might miss a class could watch the teaching sessions on video. All I had to do was ask my dear husband to set up the camera in our living room and let me teach!
I was talking to myself when I recorded today’s episode of Believe & Speak. The declaration, which I pulled from John 16, is this:
If you listen to that episode, you’ll hear me say that when it comes to God’s plans and activity in our lives, we can trust that we will know what we need to know when we need to know it.
How well I know it! God will reveal his plan in time (and make allowance for when I drag my feet).