Life’s Connections: Stranger Than Fiction?

Tree roots

Roots by Rostislav Kralik

Recently, I had one of those odd life-connections-I-can’t-explain events happen to me, starting on Saturday. Does this ever happen to you? You get one of those jolting reminders that God is very much in control?

Disaster about to Happen

While passing through our basement, I realized a good section of the southeast corner was submerged. The floor drain—or something below the floor drain—had decided to go on strike, and all the water from my daughters’ baths had pooled all over the floor instead of going down the drain like it was supposed to.

The soapy water was slithering its way toward my very un-basement-like home office (which had required a good bit of money and man hours to build), and I could see disaster about to happen. I grabbed buckets and filled them, sprinted up the stairs, and emptied the buckets in our yard . . . as quickly as I could. Back and forth I sped, repeating the process probably three or four times.

An hour or so later, after the flood was gone and the cocktail of adrenaline and endorphins dried up, pain began shooting from my right hip down my leg. Within a few hours, I could barely climb the stairs, never mind walk around the house without a painful limp. In my frenzy to save the home office, I’d somehow hurt myself during my mad dash up and down the stairs with those heavy pails of water.

Then It Happened

That night I barely slept—I just couldn’t get comfortable. The pain was intense, even with Advil and an ice pack. I limped around church the next morning, doing my best to hide my injury. And then in the afternoon, while chatting with friends at a graduation party, it happened.

Someone mentioned inversion tables—you know, those contraptions that hang you upside down so all the blood rushes to your head. Actually, there are a number of cited health benefits, including reversing the stress of gravity on the spine.

Wonder what one of those contraptions has to do with anything? Well, on Monday morning, I went to see my chiropractor. What a blessing from God! I didn’t need an amputation after all. 🙂 Guess what we talked about (among other things)? The benefits of inversion tables.

The Double Take

A few hours later, the guy from Richard’s Sewer and Drain showed up and used a smelly, loud contraption to yank up a bucketful of tree roots, some as fine as baby’s hair. He saw me limping around and asked what had happened. When I told him, he praised his inversion table and talked about how it had helped eliminate his back problems.

I did a double take.

Okay, God, I get it. You’re telling me something, right?

Does this sort of thing happen to you? Something happens that seems random at first, but through repetition a pattern emerges that doesn’t seem so random after all. You see connections. They seem almost . . . for lack of a better word . . . mystical. Now don’t worry. I’m not reading tea leaves. Yet. 🙂

I still don’t have an inversion table, but you can be sure I’ll be checking one out soon. Was God trying to tell me something? You tell me—I don’t know. But isn’t it funny how God orchestrates life’s events sometimes? So all because of some pesky tree roots, I learned about inversion tables, which might just help somebody who sits too much and has occasional back issues.

Not So Random After All

Often novel plotting works the same way. One seemingly random event triggers a seemingly unconnected event, which triggers another seemingly unrelated event. And then before you know it, consequences occur, and a story thread emerges.

A tornado causes injuries. An injured man goes to the hospital and meets a pretty nurse.  They date, get married, and have a child who grows up and stops a serial killer before he can kill anyone else.

And all because God used a tornado.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that life events—even supposedly coincidental ones—are never as random as we think. In fact, often those connections are frankly stranger than fiction. Sometimes there’s a divine pattern we can see right away. Or sometimes God is trying tell us something . . . but maybe we can’t see the message until years later.

God is indeed sovereign, and He can work through even something as mundane as a plugged floor drain if He wants to. Consider this movie quote. Keep in mind that this is no endorsement of the movie (I’m sure it has some issues), but I think the snippet applies to what I’ve been saying. I also think it poses the type of questions good Christian fiction should always ask.

See, what you have to ask yourself is, what kind of person are you?
Are you the kind who sees signs, sees miracles?
Or do you believe that people just get lucky?
Or look at the question this way…
is it possible that there are no coincidences?
—Mel Gibson, from the movie Signs


What about you? Have you seen odd connections in your life? Do you think they’re coincidental? Or something else?

4 thoughts on “Life’s Connections: Stranger Than Fiction?

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