SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Chance Encounter? Mere Coincidence?

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Blog, Friends, Quotes | 2 comments

Listening, learning, then labouring over 5 minute writing exercises.
Writing our Yesterdays workshop, Muskoka Bible Centre, November 2012

“…I did not know what was in the program for this past weekend, the fact that you were there, with a workshop on writing was not a mere coincidence in my opinion. If the burden of writing a book about ‘survival tips for leaders in the public sector’ is in His plan, I hope I will become His tool in this process… This weekend, you, and your workshop shall be the beginning of this trip, and who knows where He’ll lead me” [from a participant at my recent workshop on Writing our Yesterdays].

I was encouraged and extremely humbled when I received the above email. To be considered an influence on the direction a person takes in planning his or her future is a bit daunting…no, actually, very daunting!

Regardless, it got me thinking.

Do I believe in chance encounters, mere coincidences? Or, do I believe in preordained events that affect me directly, or preordained events that quietly slip through the back door of my life?

Finding it an exceedingly big topic to digest and dissect, I turned to the internet, but there is so much ‘out there’ on this topic that I shut down cyberspace and turned to my own thoughts as I considered…

Meet my friend, Chris who met her Saviour FACE TO FACE on Sunday afternoon, November 4. Not by chance!

…getting a red light, only to have that one minute delay prevent my involvement in a fatal accident…questioning the logic of travelling 4300 kilometres to share my love of writing, only to have it affirmed that I was in the right place at the right time…turning left instead of right on a morning walk in Florida and meeting Chris who, unknowingly at the time was gravely ill and needed to know about Jesus.

Let me go a little deeper.

I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’m intelligent enough to read and think for myself. The Message translates Ephesians 1:11 like this, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (italics mine).

I also read that God knew me before I was formed—not just while I was being formed in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139); He knew me from the beginning of time (Hard to get your head around that one, isn’t it?). Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” In context, God is speaking to Isaiah, but I can’t help reasoning that if God knew Isaiah before Isaiah was formed, what is stopping God from knowing other human beings in the same way…me, for example!

It’s hard to fathom the incredible idea that I was in God’s thoughts before time began. That His eyes saw my unformed body. That He knew exactly what genes I would inherit. That He knew exactly how I would be influenced. That He knew sin would enter the world, resulting in my need of a Saviour. Equally unfathomable is that God had/has a plan for my life that does not involve happenstance. Song writer, Stuart Hamblen wrote, “I know not what the future holds but I know who holds the future.” My future…my life is all planned out—where I go, who I meet or what red lights I get—and it won’t come about by accident.

So, to answer my own question . . . no, I do not believe in chance encounters or mere coincidences. And, if or when I’m ever asked why, my response would simply be based on my Christian beliefs and what I live by.

P.S. But what about, “Life is not made of the dreams that we dream, but the choices we make”? How does choice fit into the whole scheme of things? Something to think about for another time.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Heather

    Great piece! He knows all, before, now and later. Written from the heart.

    • Ruth Waring

      As always, Heather you have a wonderful way with words. You summarized my piece in thirteen words! I wish there was space for me to share how I met Chris and the very little time we had to be friends. But, she is with Jesus and I’d never wish her back and have her suffer like she did. Appreciate your comment.

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