I have a theory. I think God is real.
I’m sure you’ve already heard or read a story of little testimonies of answered prayer. A little girl searches and searches for her mittens and cannot find them. She decides to pray. She opens her eyes, and there they are, right where she left them. Maybe a farmer prays that it won’t rain on Tuesday, because he wants to bring the hay in that day… and then play baseball in the evening. And miraculously, it doesn’t rain. Maybe a young Christian who was recently a thief is struggling with the temptation to steal his neighbour’s Corvette. He decides to pray and read his Bible. He coincidentally opens it to Exodus 20 and reads; “Thou shalt not steal,” immediately curing him of his temptation.
I’ve always been a little skeptical of stories like these. Of course God is real, and of course he answers prayer, but whoever wrote these stories was trying a little too hard. Of course God cares about the little things in our lives, but if you really want me to be moved by a prayer testimony, write about the time you were in the lion’s den, or on Mount Carmel… something a little more miraculous.
However, after something that happened to me two weeks ago in Belize, I think my opinion has changed.
On Saturday afternoon, a group of us headed to Spanish Lookout, a town about half an hour away from Cayo, where we were staying. On the way, as I rode on the back of the pickup, I thought about the two friends I made an SMBI that were from Spanish Lookout, Belize. Ricky and Stephan were their names. I hadn’t seen or heard from them since Bible School in 2011. I started thinking about what the odds of meeting one of them would be. Considering the fact that I didn’t even know if they lived right in Spanish Lookout, or if that was just the nearest large town, they weren’t very high. Spanish Lookout isn’t huge, but it’s big enough. After thinking all this through, I decided to pray. I said, “God, I’d really like to see my buddy, Ricky, again. Could you make that happen for me?” We arrived at a large store called the Farmers’ Trading Center. After buying Old Spice deodorant and light bulbs, I was waiting outside for the rest of the group. I was talking with Samuel, when a tall guy walked into the store. I thought he looked a lot like my friend Ricky, but because I only saw the back of him, and it had been so long, I had my doubts. If I would have more faith and less “vergüenza” I would have just yelled, “Hey Ricky, my man! What’s going on? Long time no see!” But I just let him walk right by. The rest of the group soon finished and headed to the truck. I thought to myself, “If I don’t go back into the store, and find that guy, and ask him if he is Ricky, I will regret it for the rest of my life.” So I went back in. Still not knowing exactly how to approach him, I pretended to be very interested in touch lamps, while trying to get a good look at his face. After a little, I decided to just go up to him and ask, “You’re name isn’t ‘Ricky’ by any chance, is it?” So I did. “Yes,” was his reply, “is yours too?” It was him… My friend Ricky.
|A photo from SMBI. Ricky is the guy beside me… the tallest guy in the picture|
Afterwards, just for fun, I thought about what the odds were of me actually seeing him. Let’s assume that he goes to the Farmers’ Trading Center once a week. The odds of us going there on the same day would be 1 in 7. Now let’s assume that he’s in the store for half an hour each week. The odds of us being in the store at the same time are 1 in 20. The Famers’ Trading Center is pretty big. I probably only saw half of the people that were in there. Using this probably inaccurate math, I had about a 1 in 280 chance of seeing him. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I realize that this story might seem rather lame to you, and that’s okay. It didn’t seem lame to me. It actually felt quite amazing to be honest. I think from now on, I’ll appreciate stories like this a little more. I think it’s important that we ask God to help us with “little” things, and I think it’s important that we thank him and give him the glory when we does help us.
I don’t have a theory. I know God is real.