Danielle and I are nearing the end of our time on sabbatical and so far, it’s been great.
We’re feeling full of hope, love, and joy. Every week is full of connection with old and new friends, and lots of time with family. Even our physical fitness is probably the best it’s ever been.
During all of this, the Lord has been surrounding us with confirmation.
“Unusual coincidence is the language of the Spirit,”
is how I believe Pastor Bill Johnson put it the other day, while ministering to the crowd gathered one evening at Bethel church. Bill had just called out a fairly unique word of knowledge. (A spiritual gift, often associated with the prophetic, where one has suddenly been given knowledge of something that hadn’t known of previously. In this case, the awareness of a certain physical ailment one was suffering from in the room. See 1 Corinthians 12:8 for mention of the gift.) Three ladies responded to this word of knowledge, and they just happened to be in reach of each other in a room that fits, I believe, near 900. An eye-brow raising, unprecedented coincidence.
“But Cody, isn’t this situation literally the reason why we have the word ‘coincidence’?”
You’re right. Further more, Wikipedia’s definition of coincidence not only says just that, but warns of it being the cause of some supernatural claims.
“A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims. “Wikipedia
I hate when we try to make something out to be an act of God when it wasn’t; as if we need to justify and defend our faith using spiritual false positives. That’s not our job.
When it comes to recognizing patterns, I’m a professional. Really!
As a software engineer, my work, at a fundamental level, primarily involves analyzing processes or problems well enough that I can automate said process via a set of mathematical instructions. Recognizing patterns, discovering chunks of regularities, and determining edge-cases are my day to day.
In machine learning, a field of Computer Science and subset of Artificial Intelligence, algorithms learn to detect patterns by consuming ridiculous amounts of data. This is how I’ve developed my sense of the “language of the Spirit.”
Over 15+ years, I’ve obtained a library of supernatural “coincidences.” Whereas any of these single occurrences could be written off as coincidence, such a large sample size together become an astronomical impossibility.
Through this, I’ve learned to hear/see God in His unique, non-verbal communication.
Since leaving Seattle a few months back, the only country, outside of the U.S., we’ve heard anyone have any relation to is Japan (the one we’re moving to in about a month!). This happened whether they knew our relation to Japan or not. For us, this has been an extremely obvious example of the “language of the Spirit;” God confirming to us, without a doubt, we’re heading the right way.
Here’s a few fun examples:
- Danielle and I attend our first Church service after arriving in Redding. A city where almost 10,000 attend Bethel church services. We go to one of the smallest Sunday services, sit down, and realize immediately in front of us is our Japanese friend who prophesied over us 10 years ago the exact three things the Lord had told us about Japan that very week.
- I helped out at the Bethel Prophetic sessions last week.
- The first person I sit and talk to has a nephew living in Japan.
- The first person I prophesy over sits down, says her name, and that it is Japanese, though she wasn’t.
- Another individual I was prophesying over (a young, non-Japanese male): I saw in the Spirit that he was speaking Japanese. In the picture that I saw, Japanese written characters were coming out of his mouth. I ask him if he is a translator, and he says, “Sort of, I speak three languages.” I tell him I saw him speaking Japanese, and he responds, “That’s one of the three. I actually work at a Japanese company. The other language I speak is German.” To add to the “coincidence,” I studied German through middle and high school, have a German last name, and my Father’s side of the family came from Germany.
- Danielle and I, along with our close friends, Erich and Emi, go out to a nice dinner the other night to celebrate being on sabbatical. Our waiter previously lived in Japan, studied ninjutsu (the martial art of being a ninja) of all things, and had specifically stayed in Osaka for two months. I asked him, “In the nine months you’ve lived in Redding, how many people have you come across that have any relation to Japan?” His answer, “none.”
UPDATE: Two more fun stories occurred just after posting this
- After writing this blog post we left immediately for church Sunday morning. At the end of the service we’re talking to former classmate from BSSM. While doing so two others approach to say “Hello” to him. You guessed it. One was visiting from Japan, has met our other friends who are going to Osaka, and attends the church our other close friends are going to be working with once they move there in the coming year.
- The other day Danielle decided she wanted to get a book on Japanese Etiquette. As I was randomly browsing a Facebook sale group for Redding, one of the first items I saw was a book titled “A quick guide to customs & etiquette: JAPAN.” I contact the seller and agree to meet. They live a block away. We get to talking once we’re there only to find out this couple has been missionaries for 17 & 21 years, having worked in the same place in China as Danielle’s great-grand parents and the same city in Thailand that Danielle’s parents are moving to for missions in 9 days. On top of that, they also stayed at the same person’s house when they arrived here from Chiang Mai that Danielle’s parents will be staying at before they leave for Chiang Mai… Oh, and as their daughter pointed out, “Lorena”, Danielle’s mother’s name rhymes with her own, “Kurena.” It just also happens to be a Japanese name…
So, what’s it all for?
I’ve heard some say, “with that much confirmation, it’s because you’re going to need it facing whats coming up” indicating future difficulties. I for one, have a different take.
I’m reminded of a story I heard of an elderly married couple. The husband would regularly hide notes for his wife to find that said “S-H-M-I-L-Y,” which stands for “See How Much I Love You.” After he passed away, his wife continued to find these hidden notes.
I believe the Lord laces our day to day with S-H-M-I-L-Y notes.
Consider if this woman lost her memory, no longer knowing who her husband was, and by extension, didn’t know what “S-H-M-I-L-Y” meant. I believe many of us find ourselves in varying degrees of this exact situation. Despite this, the notes are still there, waiting for us to find, written by a God who loves us.
So, go out and find your love notes.
I hope to write again soon to provide an update on our time on sabbatical and provide details on our upcoming move. Until then…
- Favor for us to find a place to live in Japan that will allow our pets
- Smooth, easy travel
- For all other necessary pieces to fall in the correct places