S199P13 – Through Solomon’s eyes: the chance of life

Ecc. 9:11-12

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the strong, and neither is bread to the wise nor riches to those of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of ability; but time and chance overtake them all.  For man also does not know his time; like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds caught in the snare, so the sons of men are ensnared in an evil time when a dark cloud suddenly falls on them.

Life works backwards.  That was what he thought as he left his friend’s house and made his way home.  His friend was a nice kid, but he came from a family steeped in a proud history, and they spoke of it often.  They got lucky.  These were not people of superior intellect, work ethic, or imagination.  They had not invented the next great necessity or impacted the world in any obviously meaningful way.  They indeed had gotten lucky, as three generations enjoyed the spoils of grandpa’s peanut empire.  The only thing they did to merit that blessing was to be born into that family.  Anyone could have been born into that family, but they were the lucky ones. 

We are told to enjoy life while it lasts, to grab our happiness where we can get it.  Some have while others lack; some are lucky while others are not.  We can be lulled into believing the worldly logic which tells us that all things are simply a matter of chance, but we must be wiser than that.  So much might seem without purpose, and some of what we experience might be up to chance, but we cannot forget to recognize the sovereign who is in control.  God causes, and He permits.  Even that which is seemingly innocuous and unimportant can be used by him for a great purpose.  I guess the challenge is considering whether these “chance” occurrences really have purpose and meaning.

Solomon brings up a recurring theme in his writings, which is that many results in life make no sense.  The winners in this world are not necessarily the smartest or the fastest or the kindest.  Some build empires on nothing more than nonsense while others work themselves to the bone and have nothing to show for it.  It all can seem like meaningless happenstance, but it does not have to be that.  Those things which appear to be matters of chance might very well be God-directed matters of purpose.  Father, we confess that You are in control, and we ask You to reveal to us the purpose in the matters of chance.