And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Romans 8:28 AMP
God, in his deep concern for us, intimately and intricately plans for all things to work for good in our lives.
If we choose to love God, and walk in his plans, we will see good come from any situation. It is a gift that God gives to those who choose to accept it. And it is a gift he wishes to give to all people.
From this scripture, and through this study, I believe you will come to agree with me when I say this: There are no coincidences when it comes to the people God placed and planned to be in our lives.
When I was a teenager, I remember having a lot of questions about life and God but never seriously pursued finding the answers. Around this time, a friend of mine asked me to hang out and go to my favorite coffee shop.
This became something we started doing regularly, and it was clear how much my friend cared about me and was interested in my life. The gallons of coffee and tea we consumed in that year alone could have kept that shop in business.
During one of those times talking, some of my questions about God came up, and it was in that moment, my friend shared a scripture from the Bible that I had never heard. In other words, my friend shared the faith they had with me. It was in this conversation, through my friend’s shared faith, that I began finding the answers I’d never had about who God really was.
Through this relationship, God became personal to me. Looking back, it’s clear that it was no coincidence that my friend and I loved having coffee and tea, but it was ultimately a connection orchestrated by God. God orchestrates these relationships for us all the time, and often puts us in the lives of others to be that friend that shows them not just God, but their capacity to have a personal relationship and destiny with him.
God is intimately involved in our lives
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:1-4,16 NLT
This is the scripture that my friend shared with me over coffee all those years ago. It made such an impact on me because it made me realize how deeply and intimately God knows and loves me.
He is interested in and cares about our daily lives. He has planned our lives so intricately that he knows every single moment. This means that the people we know and meet are meant to be a part of our life for a special reason and purpose. It is not by accident or coincidence.
Pause and reflect
Do you believe God is intimately involved in your life?
What ways do you see God has put relationships in your life to help you grow closer to him?
There are no coincidences
During my freshman year of college, I had a neighbor who lived down the hall from me. Because my roommate was helping them pass their chemistry class, they were constantly in my dorm room.
Every time they came over, we would talk and slowly we began to get to know each other’s lives deeply. I began to realize it was not a coincidence. God used my neighbor’s chemistry class to connect us, so that they could discover a relationship with God.
God has worked intimately in every individual’s life in this way. He has given us a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, circumstances and challenges, successes and failures, all for a reason. He does this so that every person can have the opportunity to get to know him. It’s easy to believe that things happen by chance or are random, but with God there are no coincidences.
“From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
Acts 17:26-28 NLT
God’s desire and hope is that one day in our life we will find him. The day you were born, the kind of family and friends you have, and the positive and negative life experiences you have gone through are all intended to lead you to having a relationship with God.
Once we discover God in this way, we also discover who we are and why we are here. And we are given the opportunity to help others know Him as well. This finding of God is one of the most exciting and enriching parts of being a Christian. When we believe that God does this for us, we will be compelled to help others see this for themselves.
Pause and reflect
How has God orchestrated your life so that you would find him?
Who has God put in your life to learn more about him?
Don’t miss opportunities to connect
Oftentimes, what causes us to miss opportunities to connect is our selfishness and self-absorption. The ability to connect with people and share your own faith starts with being interested in others around you.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4 NASB
We simply can’t love others when we live self-absorbed lives. A while back, there was a basketball player on campus whom my friends knew, but he tended to stick with his own crew of friends. My friends assumed he would not be interested in God or church until one day another classmate asked him for help on a paper.
She was nothing like the group of friends he tended to be around, but she decided to ask him to come with her to visit her church. He reluctantly agreed, but when he showed up he saw one of the other basketball players he would play with at the gym, and decided he would actually stay around.
If it hadn’t been for the girl asking him to come with her, it would have been a missed opportunity for him to see God’s purpose in his life. Since that time, he has not only become a Christian, but is mentoring high school students to help them see God’s purpose for their lives as well.
Overcoming selfishness starts when we decide to be interested in others. This selfishness doesn’t always look like blatant refusal to be friends with or invested in someone. Sometimes, our selfishness is manifested in fear of failing, looking bad, or what others think of us.
Faith and love is deciding to take a risk to have a conversation with someone that you wouldn’t have had on your own, because you believe God put them in your life for a reason. When we put our personal interests aside we can actually begin to look around us at the people God has placed in our lives to love.
Pause and reflect
How do you see selfishness in your life?
What opportunities has God given you to love the people around you?
Choose attachment not avoidance
Once we make a connection with the people around us, it takes continued conscious decisions to attach.
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Matthew 8:1-3 NLT
Jesus was willing to go beyond a simple connection and instead attach himself to those around him. The man here had leprosy, a debilitating and highly contagious disease. Speaking to Jesus, who could heal him, about his situation connected them. But Jesus took it a step further.
He reached out and touched the man, someone who had probably not made contact with another person since getting sick. This simple gesture was unnecessary, but profound. It shows how personally attached God is in our lives. And reading it inspires me to want to do the same.
3 tips to make personal attachments
Here are three practical ways that help me make personal attachments to the people around me.
 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
When we pray for others, it connects us to them. Start praying for the people God has placed around you at work, in class, or in your community.
Who can you decide to pray for everyday this week?
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 NIV
Jesus served and sacrificed, showing us how we can do the same for those around us. Serving and sacrificing is the epitome of what it is to be a friend who attaches.
Who can you serve and sacrifice for in your life?
…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV
Share about your life. When we open up about our weaknesses and challenges with others, it helps them see the ways God is working.