Friday, October 05, 2018


Recently, I happened to be thinking about the sound track of a movie I saw years ago. Then, when I was at a pizzeria a few days later, I heard the same sound track in the background. 

Now, it was probably a coincidence, although this isn't a recent or famous film, so it's rather unlikely that they'd play that particular soundtrack. And I haven't heard it before at that pizzeria. A coincidence is an apparently significant convergence of causally independent events. 

A naturalistic explanation is that if I hadn't been thinking about the movie in the first place, I wouldn't even register what music was playing. It only stood out for me because I was already primed.  

And there's a causal asymmetry. Hearing the music reminded me that I'd been thinking about that very film. By contrast, thinking about the movie didn't cause that music to be played at the pizzeria, when I was there. That would only be possible if I have psychokinetic abilities–which I don't.  

But suppose every time I went to that pizzeria, it played music I happened to be thinking about a few days before. The reason can't just be that I notice it because I already had that on my mind. If it keeps happening, that can't be random. So the naturalistic explanation is quite limited. 

But here's another possibility: suppose God sometimes gives Christians little signs. Not unmistakable signs, but just enough to get your attention. You can't rule it in or out. But maybe that's just enough to give you a pat on the back, a bit of timely encouragement, to nudge you along. Get you through another day, another week. 

Something you didn't pray for. Something unexpected. A pleasant surprise. Maybe it's just a fluke–but maybe not. Less then a miracle but more than a wish. Because it's not a directive, nothing you must act on, it needn't be unambiguous. We can live with uncertainty but we can't live without hope. 


  1. This sort of thing happens frequently to me. Sometimes over periods lasting years. Far too coincidental to be mere coincidence.

  2. I posted a recent case of synchronicity in my own life in a blog Steve posted four days after this one. The blog is Special providences.