“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise nor yet riches to men of understanding nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.”
Things may not always turn out the way we think they should, but we should not fret, fume or grow frustrated—especially if we’ve surrendered to Christ and said “My times are in your Hands” (Ps. 31:15a).
Some 29 times Solomon uses the phrase “under the sun” in the Book of Ecclesiastes. And, there’s no doubt that his morose, morbid, melancholy musings stem from that assessment of things. Instead of remembering the sun’s still shining and the skies are still blue above the storm clouds, his idolatry and immorality limited his view to things terrestrial, not celestial.
In reality, his assessment of things is true:
“The race is not always to the swiftest and the strongest don’t always win the battle.” Likewise, “the wise don’t always have bread to eat and men of understanding don’t always get rich; neither do men of skill always find favor with those around them.”
Or, in other words, “Life’s not fair.”
Sometimes the fastest runner in a race is beaten by one who’s slower. Sometimes a weaker army gets the upper-hand on a better trained, better-equipped opponent. Sometimes a highly-educated individual, through no fault of his own, ends up losing everything and having to stand in an unemployment line. Sometimes the “rich do get richer and the poor do get poorer,” even though the poor are faithfully serving the Lord and the rich are not (cf. Ps. 73).
But, again, such is the nature of life here on terra firma.
Interestingly, Solomon’s take on this was “But time and chance happens to them all.” The Hebrew word “pega” is used for “chance” and basically means “an occurrence, accident, happenstance, etc.”
But, oh, dear Pilgrim, there are no accidents or coincidences in God’s Providence.
A thousand times no!
We talk about “chance”. . .“being fortunate”. . .or “being lucky”. . .but such talk is not rooted in Scripture. And, it certainly doesn’t reflect favorably upon a Sovereign God Who has promised to “direct our paths if we trust in Him with all our hearts and don’t rely upon our own dreams and schemes” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Again, there’ll be times when “our best is not good enough”—at least by the world’s standards. Serving the Lord doesn’t guarantee us a free pass to Go or special immunity from problems; if anything, it’s a call to “deny, die and daily dedicate ourselves” (Lk. 9:23).
But, in the midst of it all we can rest assured of this: The One Who calls us will keep us and His Grace will be sufficient for us in every situation (II Cor. 12:9-10). That’s why we should “give thanks in all things” (I Thess. 5:18)—confident that our all-seeing God will “work everything together for our good and His Glory as we trust Him” (Rom. 8:28).
July 23, 2011