Confident Faith in God Stories

STORY #7--Providential "Coincidence" Leads to Salvation

    Posted by Klaus Issler on April 13, 2010

JESUS:     “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

STORY #7—Providential “Coincidence” Leads to Salvation

      James Rutz tells of the distinguished Indian evangelist Sadhu Chellappa who, while on a mission trip to a village north of Midras, was awakened in the middle of the night by what seemed to be God’s voice telling him:  Leave this house quickly and run away! (9)  Chellappa quickly dressed and obeyed, running into the darkness with no directions for where to go.  As he passed beneath a large tree, he sensed the Lord telling him to stop and begin to preach.  He was in the middle of nowhere and, due to the darkness, could not detect anyone within listening distance.  But he started to preach anyway.  When he reached the point of giving a gospel invitation, he was surprised to hear a voice from the top of the tree and to see a man climbing down.  As it turned out, the man in the tree right above the preaching Chellappa had gone out in the middle of the night to hang himself.  Instead, he tearfully received Christ.  Clearly, this was no coincidence!  If Chellappa had merely passed a stranger on the street that night, or simply run into a big tree, since such a thing is highly probable, it would not raise as much as a suspicion that God was involved.
      Chellappa’s story illustrates the second piece of advice.  Improbable things happen every day.  But when something improbable takes place that has a very special religious significance, then we are on safe grounds to see God’s intervention in the occurrence.  The salvation of the suicidal man is clearly of great biblical significance because the Great Shepherd is like that—leaving the ninety-nine to save the one lost sheep.  If Chellappa had improbably run into a passing stranger who was looking for a Snickers bar which neither had any special religious significance for the stranger nor was something Chellappa could supply, then the event would most likely be just a coincidence.  Contrast this with the little bird incident involving the doctor friend and his daughter.  What makes this “little” event religiously significant was that prayer was offered for this outcome, a little girls need was met and her God-confidence increased (not to mention that of her parents!).
      So if something happens for which one has prayed or which meets a need at just the right moment, then the event has special significance in the context of one’s life as a disciple.  The combination of improbability and special significance may not be necessary to spot a loving act of God—after all, he can do the probable and expected if he wants to—but it is sufficient.  We build our faith on acts of our loving God if (but not only if) they conform to these conditions.
(9) James Rutz, MegaShift (Colorado Springs, Colorado:  Empowerment Press, 2005), pp. 4-5.

© J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, 2008.
In Search of a Confident Faith: Overcoming Barriers to Trusting in God, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity), pp. 148-149.

“Ask and you will receive; everyone who asks, receives. This is the eternal law of the Kingdom. If you ask and receive not, it must be because there is something wrong or missing in the prayer. Let the Word and Spirit teach you to pray properly. But do not lose confidence He wants to give you, that everyone who asks, receives. . . . As a child has to prove a sum to be correct, so the proof that we have prayed correctly is our answer. If we ask and get no answer, it is because we have not learned to pray properly. . . .  Christ had good reasons for speaking so unconditionally. Be careful not to weaken the Word with human wisdom. . . . Lord! Teach me to pray.”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917),

With Christ in the School of Prayer,
(New Kensington, PA: Whittaker, House, 1981;
originally published  London: James Nisbet, 1887), 40, 44.
Dr. Klaus Issler