Time and Chance
The year was 480 B.C. and the Persians were invading Greece. Herodotus claimed that the invading Persian force, in total, numbered 2.6 million military personnel, accompanied by an equivalent number of support personnel. Modern scholars, astounded by such numbers, estimate the Persians to have had several hundred thousand fighters – still an overwhelming force.
How long would you expect that a small Greek force of a few thousand men, out-numbered thousands to 1, could hold off such a massive onslaught? Could they last a minute? Seven minutes? Would you believe, seven DAYS?
That week may have been crucial, allowing the Greeks additional time to organize and strategically position their naval armada, by which the vastly larger Persian armada was soundly defeated at the Battle of Salamis, which paved the way for the total defeat of the Persian invasion. Thus, an entirely unlikely outcome, disastrous for the Persians while favorable to the Greeks, is what actually occurred.
All of this is to say that the events of life are largely unpredictable, as Scripture indicates. “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 happen to them all.” Eccl 9:11
So often our plans seem to be good, until some unknown factor arises to send us back to the drawing-board. Truly, life is uncertain and is largely beyond our control. Not knowing what even the next moment may hold, how should we best use our time and resources? Surely, walking in His ways, and doing His will, is the only effective response to the uncertainty of life.