- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity” ·
Have you experienced serendipity lately? If you have to think about it, the answer is probably no. It’s not something you go looking for; it sneaks up on you and catches you when you least expect it. When it happens, it changes your whole day, week, or whatever time period you choose. It throws you slightly out of kilter, in a good way.
The picture above is a good example. It was taken several years ago at a car show in our town. It was the last afternoon of the show, and the weather decided to stop cooperating and started a light drizzle. The background for the picture couldn’t have been more perfect. Serendipity-things we love, like this beautiful old Model A Ford with the matching trailer. Serendipity is what makes for spectacular photography as well as joyful moments in life.
Serendipity can involve anything, from getting ‘stuff’ you wanted but never expected, to finding ‘the one’ who brings you joy for the rest of your life, to even having a narrow escape from calamitous circumstances. It could be having the money to pay the bills show up at just the right time. It can be something as simple as waking up early to a beautiful sunrise. Serendipity can disguise itself in hundreds of ways, but it always results in joy.
I firmly believe God likes serendipity, only in His case it’s by design and believers usually call it Providence, miracles, or something similar. Nonbelievers consider it luck, chance, or coincidence. Because of our limited vision and understanding the events seem random and just happen to work out the way we desired. We can’t see the design behind it, so we’d rather pass it off to impersonal forces that happened to line up right.
The most important times of serendipity in my life I consider anything but “chance” or “coincidence”. The odds of an impersonal universe arranging all the variables it took for me to find and marry my wife are so astronomical as to make the lottery look like a “lock”. Two people, from two completely different cultures and families (and yes, Northern and Southern cultures are very different cultures), meeting at a college in a state where one of them had never been, on the very first weekend the Northerner set foot on campus. In fact, the Northern kid hadn’t even planned to attend college there, but circumstances lined up to convince him that’s where he needed to be. I’m not a gambler so I don’t know how to lay odds (I was never very good at statistics, either), but I’d be willing to say they’re in the neighborhood of about a gazillion to one. Way too high for chance or luck to adequately explain it.
God loves to give good gifts to His children, sometimes even when they don’t seem to be gifts at all. He wants us to enjoy His creation, because it has His image stamped all over it. This world, the universe, even us, are all designed to point us back to Him. And the moments of serendipity are designed to remind us that He is still with us, and He loves and cares for us.