The following is a report on the practical applications of Squire Rushnell's new book, When God Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You through the Power of Coincidence, (Nelson Books, 2006).

When life gets confusing, stressful, or even tragic, you may wonder if God sees or cares about you. Then a coincidence or answered prayer enters your life and changes it for the better. These personal touches don’t happen just by chance. They’re messages sent directly from God to you – winks from a loving Father who wants you to know He’s watching over you.


Here’s how you can recognize God winking at you:


* Try a test. Even if you’re not sure that God exists, decide to act as if He does, telling Him that you’d like Him to reveal Himself to you. Try placing your trust in His existence, then look for communication from Him. Know that He will be faithful to respond if you’re sincere in your desire to know Him.


* Listen to messengers, and be one yourself. Expect that God will use other people as unwitting messengers of His encouragement to you in many situations – and that He will use you as a messenger for others, as well. Whenever people are kind to you, consider how God might be reaching out to you through those acts of kindness. As often as you can, treat others with kindness to encourage them.


* Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Pay close attention to how God may choose to validate His presence through any situation in your life. Understand that God reveals Himself not just in momentous, watershed events, but also in small, mundane moments.


* Dig into your memories. Take some time to recall moments in the past when you experienced coincidences or answered prayers. Consider how those events were timed just right to assure you that you’re not alone in this world, and thank God for communicating with you when you needed to hear from Him.