Do you believe in chance? Accidents? Coincidence? Luck? I’ve heard Christians dismiss each of those concepts at one time or another, trying to sound spiritual as they correct someone else’s speech.
“Luckily, I found it.”
“Christians don’t believe in luck!”
The writer of Ecclesiastes believed in chance/fortune/destiny/… however you choose to translate it. Fact is, a lot of our versions avoid translating these terms, although most translate Ecclesiastes 9:11 something as follows:
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
Reading through Ecclesiastes, we can see that the writer believes that some things just happen. They happen to the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad, the strong and the weak.
God hasn’t chosen to move us around like pawns, plotting out every movement along the way. There is room for time and chance to play a part in our lives. Does that mean God isn’t in control? No, it doesn’t. It means that he has chosen to give men free will, to allow his universe to act within certain guidelines.
Sometimes after an accident, people say, “God was with them and they weren’t hurt.” Does that mean that if they had been hurt that God wasn’t with them? We know that’s not true, yet our way of speaking can lead to heartache for many. In this world, time and chance play a part in our lives. That’s one of the messages of Ecclesiastes.