Union Ridge Church

October 8, 2020

by Reverend Dan on October 8, 2020

"And by coincidence . . ."

                                                            Luke 10:31


Truth is stranger than fiction.


In 1940, identical twin brothers were separated and adopted by different families. Both sets of parents named their new son James, or Jim for short. Each Jim married a woman named Linda. They both had a son, and they named their son James Alan and James Allan. Both divorced, and both remarried – both to women named Betty. Each Jim smoked, drove a Chevrolet, and was a security guard. The Jim twins reunited at age 39 and it was then they realized their eerily similar lives lived apart.


Violet Jessop was a nurse who served on ships in the early twentieth century. If passengers had known her story, they would never have boarded any ship with her. In 1911, she was working on the RMS Olympic when it slammed into the HMS Hawk and sunk. One year later she boarded the Titanic, and we all know how that ended. Then, during World War I, she was a nurse on the HMHS Britannic that sank due to an unexplained explosion. Jessop survived all three accidents.


Early on during the construction of the Hoover Dam, on December 20, 1921, a man named John Tierney – a surveyor – was killed when he was swept away during a flash flood. Fourteen years later to the day, on December 20, 1935, an electrician’s assistant working on the dam fell 320 feet and died. His name was Patrick Tierney. He was the son of John Tierney.


Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a naval engineer, spent the last day of his business trip – August 6, 1945 - in Hiroshima dodging an atomic bomb. He had seen the aircraft while walking down the street and dove into a ditch just in time. Yamaguchi went home so severely burned that his family didn’t recognize him. Three days later on August 9th, he was back at home in Nagasaki explaining to his family how a bomb could take out an entire city when a familiar white flash and mushroom cloud consumed everything. Except him. He survived both atomic bombings.


In the summer of 1861, Wilmer McLean was living on the plantation his wife had inherited in Manassas Junction, Virginia. On July 21st of that year, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard commandeered his farm to use as a base for the first battle of the Civil War. Another battle followed in the same place just one month later. By this time, McLean had had enough, and looked for a safe and out of the way place for his family to move to. He found a house in the little Virginia hamlet of Appomattox Court House and moved. It was there on April 9th, 1865 that Confederate Colonel Charles Marshal asked McLean to use his front parlor for a meeting. That afternoon, in the McLean house, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. The war had essentially started and ended in the same man’s front yard.


On October 17th,1937, Joseph Figlock, a street sweeper in Detroit, Michigan was working in an alleyway when a baby fell from a four-story window and hit him in the head. Remarkably, neither Figlock nor baby were harmed. One year later, Figlock was sweeping the same alleyway when a two-year-old child fell out of a window and hit him in the heard. Again, both child and adult survived.


In 1893, Henry Ziegland broke up with his girlfriend who passed away shortly thereafter. Her brother believed it was from a broken heart, so he decided the best thing to do was shoot Ziegland in revenge. The brother went to Ziegland’s house, saw him in the yard, fired, and fled the scene. He was later arrested for attempted murder because the bullet had only grazed Ziegland’s face and then lodged in a nearby tree. In 1913, 20 years after the shot was fired, Ziegland was clearing some land on his property by dynamiting the base of the trees. When he got to the tree the bullet had lodge in 20 years earlier, and the dynamite went off, so did the bullet in the tree. It dislodged, hitting Ziegland and killing him. Twenty years after the shot was fire, the bullet finally found its mark.


The word ‘coincidence’ is used only once in the Bible and that was by Jesus Himself when He was teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan. The word ‘coincidence’ is translated from the Greek word synkyrian, which is a combination of two words syn and kuriosSyn means “together with,” and kurious means “supreme in authority.” Thus, a biblical definition would be “what occurs together by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances”.


Makes you think . . .


"Father, Help us as we question and test our faith that we would continue to grow closer to you.  In Jesus' name, AMEN."