Random Meeting or a God Thing?

The following is a true story . . .

My youngest daughter sat across from another gal who looked about her same age at the Atlanta airport boarding gate. She was on her way home after finishing her second year in college in Nyack, New York. In the process of waiting, she thought to herself, “That girl over there seems like she’d be a nice girl to talk with.” Immediately after that thought, the call came to board the plane. My daughter boarded the plane and found her seat, and the ‘nice girl’ ended up sitting in the seat right next to her! A conversation started when my daughter asked where she was from. She said, “I’m from a tiny little town you’ve probably never heard of called Hilliard.” My daughter’s mouth dropped open as she said, “No way! I’m from Hilliard too!! What high school did you go to?” Turns out they attended rival high schools. So they made plans to meet up later in Hilliard.

A week later, my youngest daughter and I went over to a sporting goods store to look for a surfing top for her. She had learned to surf in Argentina and was looking forward to surfing again when she got to her language school in Costa Rica where she’ll be studying Spanish at a language institute in San Jose during the summer. In the process of browsing the racks, a clerk about her age came over to help her. My daughter mentioned surfing in Argentina, and the clerk asked what she was doing in Argentina and then mentioned that she had spent time in Australia. My daughter said, “Well, I was kind of on a missions thing in Argentina.” The clerk replied with, “Hmmm. I was on a missions thing in Australia.” My daughter said, “I was with a group you’ve probably never heard of called YWAM.” The clerk’s mouth fell open as she said, “I was with YWAM too!!” Suddenly the conversation got more interesting as my daughter explained, “I was in their DTS program in Argentina.” And the clerk, “I was in their DTS program in Australia!!”

While they were both absorbing this amazing random meeting, the clerk asked, “Did you mention you were going to the language institute in San Jose to study Spanish this summer?” After my daughter affirmed this, the clerk said, “My best friend is going there this summer too! I’ll get the two of you connected!” That for sure was not a random meeting, but a ‘God Thing.’ We look forward with great interest to see what will come out of this out-of-the-blue connection between my daughter, the clerk and her friend who will be going to the same language institute as my daughter. These recent occurrences reminded me of another “God meeting” that happened to me a few years ago while on a flight to Nicaragua where I was headed to do some missions work with a group from my church.

The year before that flight, our youngest daughter began experiencing an extreme form of vertigo. She would get so dizzy, she would just drop to the ground. She couldn’t stand up and would have to crawl from place to place. It hit so suddenly that in all honesty, we wondered if this was real or possibly imagined for some unknown “teenage” reason! After we ruled that out, we began thinking that maybe she had the beginnings of a very serious ear infection, but the next attack lasted for three days, making it impossible for her to attend school. This really scared us, so my wife decided it was time to take her to the doctor. After a bunch of tests, it was determined she had Meniere’s Syndrome and the doctor said there was no known cure, but some medications could possibly help. As it turned out, the medication he prescribed made her feel like throwing up all the time. She said it was worse than the dizzy spells and stopped taking it. Over the course of the year, she kept having attacks; most would only last a few hours but sometimes they lasted for days. We were grateful she was able to make it through school that year, and my wife and I kept praying for a solution to this problem that continued to plague our youngest daughter.

Then came the missions trip to Nicaragua. As the mission’s team boarded the plane, my wife and I were split up, and I ended up sitting next to a stranger with an old laptop. As the flight got under way, we started chatting. As it turned out, he was a physician with a team of physicians on-board who where headed for a seminar in Nicaragua to train Nicaraguan doctors. After we were airborne, he flipped on his laptop and started viewing a PowerPoint on Aortic Regurgitation. I told him I had a biology background and asked if he would mind if I looked at the PowerPoint with him. He said, “No problem, but this is an old laptop and the battery may die on us at any time.” The PowerPoint was really interesting as it discussed collapsing pulses and heart murmurs.

He fired up the next PowerPoint, and I nearly fell over, it was about Meniere’s Syndrome!! The problem my daughter had . . . the problem we had been praying about. As he went through the PowerPoint slides, everything was there that our home doctor had told us–the symptoms, the diagnostic procedures, medications to alleviate symptoms, and again, that there was no known cure. Then he came to some slides labeled Potential Alternative Treatments. The next few slides showed that some patients benefited from a low sodium diet. Immediately after I read that, his battery died, and the screen went blank. That turned out to be the solution to my daughter’s problem with Meniere’s Syndrome! In the years since then, whenever our daughter starts feeling the dizziness coming on, she cuts back on the salt and she‘s good again.

Sitting next to that doctor on the plane to Nicaragua was not a Random Meeting but truly a God Thing!

“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?  Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” –Exodus 15:11  (KJV)

Praise the Lord!

Copyright © 2010 by William D. (Nick) Nichols

One Comment

  • Gunga says:

    Americans, and I suppose all westerners, are taught to believe in coincedences as a matter of statistical probability. For decades we’ve heard the same banal trope that if you were to place a million chimps in a room with a million typewriters, eventually one would produce a sonnet worthy of Shakespeare. Teachers say it… Politicians say it… Talking heads say it on weekend news shows… …and people believe it. The only trouble is that to anyone who knows the slightest bit about chimps, or for that matter typewriters, the only possible result of placing a million chimps in a room with a million typewriters is the destruction of a million typewriters. …and that destruction would be accomplished with such a marvelous rapidity and efficiency that it would make a teenage vandal flush with envy.

    The same sort of logical fallacies underpin much of what passes for “scientific” thought in the west. Evolutionary biologists, for example, posit that DNA was formed in a “primordial soup”…in other words that it just occurred once the right chemicals were placed under the right conditions…blah, blah, blah. …and with no idea what those conditions were or even what the chemical mix might be, there comes belief. Is it harder to believe in God than it is to believe that you are actually just a mineral?

    And a NASA scientist recently told the press that he knows there is life on other worlds because there are so many worlds in the universe that millions of them must be like ours. That’s a pretty big leap of faith based on exactly no evidence whatsoever. Then he leapt even further to claim that with millions of planets like ours, life is surely common in this universe. The leap from indirect observation that tends to indicate the probable presence of a planet in a nearby solar system to the firm assertion that life is commonplace in the universe with hardly a breath between…and it’s called “science.” I can almost hear that chimp pounding out the last keystrokes to “Ode to a Ripe Banana.” Tap…tap…tap… (“What sweet pulp would fardles bear, that quenched the gaping maw that ne’er knkjkjooonnn AJKGvjhcioajgqkan/v” …dang …so close).

    Coincedences…these are things that are worthy of pondering. They lead us to understand why we believe what we believe.

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