My wife rarely gets sick. Sure she comes down with the occasional sore throat due to allergies. Her asthma can get the best of her from time to time. But stomach virus complete with vo …. You get the picture. I don’t need to spell it out. Monday evening she came down with what has to rank as one of the fastest onset stomach bugs we have experienced. One minute she is watching "Dancing with the Stars." Not long after she is …. well you know. Could have been the poor dancing. If she had been watching American Idol I would have attributed it to Sanjaya. Nope. Just a plain, puk …. I know, you get the idea.
Yesterday Irma stopped by on her way out of the office and asked what time Patty got off work. I relayed some of the story noting that Patty did not go to work. Irma said she was making chicken and potato soup and she thought of us. When she heard the story, she noted God must have brought us to mind. In short order Irma had brought over not only soup for the three of us, but also banana pudding. We were set with what Irma referred to as "comfort food." And it was.
The comment Irma made that God had brought us to mind drew my attention to recent conversations around providence and coincidence. Seems like we too often look for the "big" things to reference providence, if we are inclined even to use that term. Lesser experiences fall to the level of coincidence. One asserts God acts intentionally. The other suggests God sets in motion people with compassionate character whose natures have so developed they are always on the look out for ways to come along side others and give encouragement. Is the distinction necessary?
If the Spirit of God works in the people of God to form the character of Christ, how can we move to issues of causality that do not take into account events spurred by the development of said character. In other words, if God moves in a way the concern of one person intersects the need of another how is that really distinguished when God develops character in one person so that their actions toward another result in care. Is not the net result the providence of God? Whether actively moving a person through a spiritual impression or the natural consequence of the character of Christ developed in the person who acts with compassion, the result is attributed to the activity of the Spirit of God.
Amazing how the offer of chicken and potato soup can stir theological reflection. The soup was certainly welcome for those in need of comfort.