Tuesday, January 29, 2008

By Chance

I read a strange little Chinese fable that struck a chord with me. It went something like this.

A great emperor went on a long journey and when he returned, he discovered to his horror that he'd lost his precious pearl along the way. He decided to send some of his servants to search for it.

First he sent Education, but Education couldn't find it.

Then he sent Perseverance, but after a long time, Perseverance couldn't find it either.

Finally, he sent By Chance, and By Chance managed to find the pearl.

That was about it. It made me laugh because that same guy, "By Chance" has made his input on my life too. I'm sure we could all say the same. I've tried to control many outcomes in my own life and fallen short. I think those other servants in the story, "Education" and "Perseverance" are all tied up with control. I ought to know because I've tried kowtowing to them in the past and they've never lived up to all that I've hoped. The more I think about it, the more I see that so many of the good things in my life were brought by the other servant, "By Chance."

I was introduced to the man I married "By Chance."
Each of my 3 children was conceived "By Chance." That's the absolute truth. We persevered in trying, but those times seemed to either result in nothing or end in early miscarriages. My 3 children were the only accidental pregnancies I had. How strange that seems.
Several people who helped me get my books edited and published came across some other writing of mine, "By Chance."
One of the photos I stumbled upon for a front cover was "By Chance."
I've sought several books I'd heard of expecting a good read, but many of my favourite authors became so "By Chance."
My daughter even met her best friend at kindergarten "By Chance" and they are now both homeschoolers who live around the corner from each other. At other times, I've tried to encourage my kids to be friendly with certain others, and they've inevitably drifted apart.

Trying to work things out in my own strength has so often made me miserable when they haven't worked out, but I have a tendency to keep doing it because I guess I like the illusion that we can make things happen the way we want them to. But when I remember "By Chance" I feel more optimistic. "By Chance" seems to be one of God's reminders that He alone has the wisdom and knowledge and power to control my life and I don't have to struggle and strain. We each stand slap-bang in the middle of our own lives and can see only a little way. God has a much greater perspective and knows exactly when to send things to us "By Chance."


  1. I like to think of By Chance as By Providence.

  2. I'm still laughing about your brother with your mother's tweezers!
    Blogging was one of those things that I happened upon By Chance. I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason, if we just let it, which is why I love sitting back and enjoying the ride. I find my greatest adventures By Chance. :o)

    Peace and Laughter,

  3. PS-I'm slow. I just noticed you changed the name of your blog. I love it!

  4. I stumbled upon your blog...by chance so I thought I'd stop in to say "hello" from Canada. Our church had a saying posted outside on a sign saying by "Chance is when God chooses to remain anonymous". Thought it was fitting to share with you.
    Take Care :o)
    ps. friends of mine used to live in Adelaide for 2 years while attending University. They said it was a lovely place to live.

  5. Great post! This sparked a debate between Todd and me about "predestination". It's hard to understand - God does control our lives but gives us a choice. I suppose it's one of those things that God understands and we'll understand it someday, when we no longer occupy our earthly bodies.

    But I totally get it! Whenever I try to control a situation - it fails more often than not. But if I give it to God, success is usually the outcome. Duh!! How many times do I need to be reminded?!!

    Always enjoy reading your thoughts. Chad is working on Logan's letter - I'm so sorry it won't make it for his birthday! We celebrated Alec's birthday today and Chad has been distracted, preparing for that. The letter is in the works, tell Logan we are thinking of him and wish him a great birthday!


  6. By Chance has done so many wonderful things in our lives. He must be one busy guy! :o)

    Thanks for sharing that story. I often think about how if I believe that God is in control than how can I believe in "chance". I guess the answer is, I don't.

  7. Oh!! I'm late in commenting - but I had to let you know that I love it.

    I agree, too, that often God is in the "By chance" -- it's those moments we don't suspect He's working - and He is. Someone once said that a coincidence is something that happens that God doesn't get credit for... (Bad grammar - but behind me is playing the election results -- and all the talking talking talking is making my eyes throb. *LOL* ))