Time & Chance

Ecclesiastes 9:1
The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race,
and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win
the battle. . . . It is all decided by chance, by
being in the right place at the right time (v.11).

John Tesvich was prepared for anything. When low
rainfall or hurricanes disrupted his business, the
fourth-generation oysterman waited it out by reducing
staff until conditions improved. When consumers worried
about bacteria present in raw oysters, John’s company
invented a unique pasteurization process that made them
safe to eat.

But John never anticipated the BP oil spill. The defective
oil rig was 41 miles away from him, but 2 months after it
blew up it had ruined enough oysters in the Gulf of Mexico
to close John’s company. “Nothing is more insidious than
this oil spill,” said John at the time. “This thing keeps
spewing oil, and nothing can be done about it.”
John’s experience is a reminder that our success
depends upon factors beyond our control. We assume
that others will act responsibly, but when they don’t we
suffer the collateral damage. Careers have ended on the
whim of an impetuous boss, office gossip, or disloyal
subordinates. Jobs have disappeared in certain countries
as a bubble, or bailout in others have led to depressed
economies. The fragility of an interconnected society led
Solomon to observe that “The wise sometimes go hungry,
and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those
who are educated don’t always lead successful lives”
(Ecclesiastes 9:11).

The haphazard draw of time and chance would be
discouraging if it were not for God. Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 informs us that “God
has made everything beautiful for its own time” (v.11), and He is sovereign:
“Whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it” (v.14).
Consider the many factors that contribute to your success. Include the benefits
of nature, family, and country. Then tell God you know it’s all because of Him.
—Mike Wittmer

Pray Psalms 104:1 back
to God to celebrate
the many ways He
continually provides
for you and the rest of

Which is easier, to
rejoice with those who
enjoy good fortune or
to weep with those who
have suffered tragedy?
Why is this true?

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Self Destruct