Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A remarkable evidence of God's control

Last Wednesday Dad flew to Indianapolis for a father’s conference sponsored by the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). About 600 dads from around the country came.

Before he left, I went online and selected seats for him on the outgoing and returning flights (he got nonstop direct both ways). I picked middle seats so that he would have two people to talk to rather than just one. When I selected seats on outgoing flight number 460, they had chosen a window seat by default, and there was only one other empty seat left on the plane. It was, fortunately, a middle seat, 22B if my memory is correct.

After he arrived at Indianapolis he called to say that, amazingly, he had sat next to another father going to the same conference! What an amazing “coincidence” God put together! I don’t know what the odds of being on the same flight are. But I did calculate that if you stick two men on one of these planes (this particular US Airways Airbus A320 has 142 seats), the odds of this happening are 1 in 70.5. To put that another way, if you were going to try to make that happen, out of every 70 plane trips you take, it would happen on 1 of them.

Dad had an incredible time at the conference. One of the neat things that happened was that some of the men shared how God had set them free from pornography, and some of the others were so convicted and inspired that they publicly confessed their own addiction to pornography, and took the first steps in getting free. You wouldn’t think that so many of these dads, who represent very conservative Christian homes, would have a problem with porn. It goes to show that there is always the danger, as Jesus talked about, of washing the outside of the cup but leaving the inside full of wickedness. (Matthew 23:25-28) I’m thankful that Dad didn’t have any porn addiction to confess, but I’m also grateful that he was there to encourage and witness the breakthroughs for those who did. As Jesus said, there is more joy in heaven over 1 sinner who repents, than over 99 who don’t think they need any repentance. (Luke 15:7)

While Dad was there, he happened to talk to the guy who had been his seatmate on the flight to Indy. The guy said, “What is your seat on the return trip? Mine is 5F.” Dad called and asked “What seat am I in on the return trip?” I checked… and believe it or not, the middle seat that I had picked earlier for Dad was 5E! Wow, that was amazing. The odds of sitting next to the same person on two flights in a row is 1 in 4970 (70.5 x 70.5) (again, not even counting the odds of being on the same flight – this is just the odds, if you are on the same flights, of being next to each other). In other words, you would ordinarily have to take almost 5000 flights for something like this to happen as just a random part of the law of large numbers.

The singing at the conference was really great too. 600 men can pack a surprising volume. He called several times during the singing and put his cell on speakerphone so we could listen.

So, full of rejoicing as the conference ended, he flew home Sunday, Feb. 4th, on flight 639. When he got to the airport, he and his “5F” buddy met up, and discovered that another father from the conference was taking the exact same flight… continuing on to Oakland from Phoenix. Well, wouldn’t you ask what seat he was going to be in? They did… and he had seat 5D! The odds of getting three in a row on an Airbus A320 are 1 in 9870! When multiplied by the odds of the first flight, the odds of getting two flights in a row like Dad had, with one seat mate the first time and two the second time, are 1 in 695,835.

If that is not a token of God’s handiwork, I don’t know what is! Wow! God is amazing!