I maintain that a coincidence is not a coincidence when the Lord is involved in what happens. The Lord is more involved in our daily lives than we give Him credit for. When we refer to “God’s hand” or the “hand of God” we are referring to any heavenly influence that affects the direction of people’s lives, the outcomes of politics, the course of events, in short, anything that moves God’s work along among the children of men and in our personal lives.
We can start this topic with two accepted facts. The first is that the Lord is omnipotent or all powerful. Basically this means that we cannot conceive of any limits to what He can achieve. Our minds can’t stretch that far. In 2 Nephi 27:21 the Lord says, ” I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.” He is able to accomplish whatever He sets His mind to. We are not required in order for His will to be done. Even if we fight against it, His will will always be accomplished.
The second fact is that the Lord is omniscient or all knowing. This is another thing we cannot wrap our minds around. There is no such thing as surprising God. He lives outside of time as we know it. All things or events are before him. He knows, sees, and comprehends what we call the past, present, and future. This means He knows every decision, every outcome, and every opportunity in any scenario conceivable. Again, this is something we cannot fully comprehend. This is something we take on faith because He has told us it is true.
God’s complete knowledge of all things is what allows Him to tell the prophets what will happen in the future. That is why when a prophet tells us the future of a people or the outcome of our current behavior, they are right 100% of the time. They are getting their information from someone who literally knows everything. This is why we are taught that when science, or philosophy, or society is in disagreement with the prophet, if we follow the prophet we will always be proven right in the end. Prophets cannot give us the word of God and be wrong in what they tell us. We may not understand why they say what they do for an awfully long time, but they are always proven right in the end.
Here is a quote from the Discourses of Brigham Young. This spells out what I just said about God’s knowledge and power.
It is written that God knows all things and has all power [see 1 Nephi 9:6] (DBY, 20).
He is the Supreme Controller of the universe. At his rebuke the sea is dried up, and the rivers become a wilderness. He measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meteth out heaven with a span, and comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weigheth the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; the nations to him are as a drop in a bucket, and he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; the hairs of our heads are numbered by him, and not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father; and he knoweth every thought and intent of the hearts of all living, for he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit—his minister, the Holy Ghost. He is the Father of all, is above all, through all, and in you all [see Ephesians 4:6]; he knoweth all things pertaining to this earth, and he knows all things pertaining to millions of earths like this (DBY, 19).
Opening our eyes
The Lord is hastening His work. We are just trying to do our best not to hinder what the Lord has set in motion. If we can actually be of assistance, then so much the better. We are a covenant-making people. This means that we have accepted the terms of salvation and have promised to live by those terms and conditions. God sets the terms and conditions and we say yes or no to them. When we accept a covenant through the use of the Lord’s priesthood power we should expect to have the Lord become highly active in our lives. After all, isn’t that the whole point of making covenants with God, to have Him become highly active in our lives?
The Lord has already set the time and place that we come to earth. He has set the limits of our influence and has provided us with numberless opportunities to make good choices so we can find happiness in this life and in the world to come. He provides opportunities to serve, to learn, to become humble. He provides us with weaknesses and strengths that will be most beneficial to our personal growth. He has, in short done everything we would ever hope a Father would do to bless the life of His child.
Why is it so difficult to see that He is intimately involved in our lives? In Doctrine and Covenants 59:21 the Lord says,
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
The Lord is not involved in our lives just a little bit. He says that his wrath is kindled against those who confess not “his hand in all things.” But what does that mean? Does that mean that when we don’t get the job or get into that school we wanted, when we don’t get promoted or we get kicked out of our apartment that it was the Lord who did it? I’m not saying that is what the verse means. But when good or bad happen in our lives, we need to believe that the Lord is aware of it, and that He has the ability to turn anything that happens to us into a blessing in our life and in the lives of those with whom we come in contact.
We know that the Lord gives us weakness that we might be humble and learn to lean on Him and draw close to Him for strength. We are promised that if we do so He will make weak things become strengths. In the New Testament Paul asked the Lord in 2 Corinthians to remove the “thorn in his flesh” four times. Finally, when he realized the Lord was leaving his weakness there for a reason, Paul learned to glory in his weakness, because when he trusted in the Lord he was able to do all things, despite his personal weaknesses. Here is 2 Corinthians 12:9.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The more we come to understand that the Lord is ever present in our lives, and always providing us with opportunities to grow and become better, as well as lessons that will help us mature spiritually, the less we should be surprised that we see the Lord’s hand every direction we turn.
I know that I often wonder if the Lord is paying any attention to me. I wonder if it matters what decisions I make, because I don’t “see” Him standing beside me to witness my choices. It is only when I remember that my Father knows everything, and is intimately aware of my thoughts, and my intentions behind every act that I begin to realize I am never alone. I am never far from the thoughts and intents of His heart. I begin to see that what appears to be incidental happenings in my life that I can’t explain are really very explainable.
The Lord may know what choices I am going to make even before I make them, but He never interferes with my ability to make the best choices possible. In fact, it is because of His foreknowledge of all things that He is able to prepare ways for me to withstand temptations and never get myself in over my head. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we are taught that because of God’s faithfulness to us, His children that He will never allow us to be tempted more strongly than we are able to withstand. Sometimes I think it stinks that I have no ability to make an excuse that the temptation was just too strong. I was just too weak, etc. The Lord always makes a way for us to escape the temptation if we really want to get away from it.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Coincidences in the realm of God’s influence don’t really exist. He has seen every eventuality and has planned for it. No matter what happens to us, if we are seeking to find the blessing hand of God in it, we can find it. Admittedly, in the Old Testament, Job had difficulty seeing how the Lord was blessing him in his adversities, but even Job knew that God is never far away, and that He is intimately involved in the lives of those who let Him in to help them be better. Even Job knew that the Lord’s hand was somewhere in his trials, and was also the source of his greatest blessings. He knew that all these things were being presented to him to help him become more like God.
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