Coincidence or providence? The lives of people intersect at various crossroads as God ordains. We may see green or red lights and drive accordingly. In His sovereignty, God can redirect or allow speed bumps to slow us down as we take in the scenery. There are smooth highways and muddy off-road tracks. Always, God is at work in the best and worst of times. There’s ‘no such thing as coincidence’ in the providence of God.

Providence refers to an attribute of God ‘on which humankind bases the belief in a benevolent intervention in human affairs.’ The book of Ruth in the Bible provides insight into this good intervention through providential relationships.

During the worst of times, Ruth’s family suffer through famine, death, grief, sin, childless marriages, and living in a foreign country. In what is very rocky terrain, we also see a loyal family, a kind and generous employer, a heart-warming love story and a glorious future. Behind the scenes, a loving God is paving the way to fulfil His redemptive plan. Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, is a direct descendant of Ruth. Providential relationships crisscross, leading to God’s best destination.

Connections with family and friends have been part of God’s unique map for my life during this time in NZ. God has graciously given me kind and generous people who reflect God’s glory. They serve to fuel my faith in familiar and surprising ways.

My friend Katherine was diagnosed 14 years ago with stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Not only has she had to contend with her own suffering but also watch her family on this journey. They remain radically committed to each other and this week celebrated Katherine’s birthday at dinner together.

Stage 4 and 14 years ago! How is she still alive? Three years ago, she was approved for Keytruda. Miraculously, the treatment has been successful, such that she only needs scans every 6 months now not 3 months. Thank you, God, for Katherine’s life.

Providential relationships give us a glimpse into the hidden work of God during the worst of times, and in the end, we see God’s glory.