Friday, February 19, 2021

Write 28 Days - Serendipity

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I have a confession. Even though I love words and language, and knew the meaning of this prompt word - serendipity - I struggled to define or describe it. So I did what any good word-nerd would do and checked a dictionary. Here is the definition I found, and a few minutes' worth of the thoughts that followed.

serendipity - an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident; good fortune, luck

The term was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 after he read what he called a "silly fairy tale" called The Three Princes of Serendip. This was a Persian fairy tale in which three princes, by "accidents and sagacity" discover the true nature of a camel which they have never seen. The term came to mean this gift of stumbling upon lucky discoveries and having amazingly good luck.

Is it possible to have that kind of good luck that is pure chance or coincidence? It's probably just a lucky break when the perfect parking spot is there just as I turn down that aisle in the super-crowded parking lot when I'm doing my best to make it to my appointment on time. That might be just chance, but when coincidences line up one after another, it's much harder to chalk it up to luck of the draw.

It's been said that a coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous. That might be said about serendipity as well. This is the story of my family's serendipitous, coincidental, God-directed journey from Canada to Maryland.

My husband and I are Canadians. He grew up in southern Ontario and I grew up in Calgary, Alberta. We met in the middle at college. We lived in Calgary for the first few years we were married. In 1993, we lived in Calgary, and he was working in a greenhouse, and we received surprising news - his name had been drawn in the green card 'lottery' he'd entered the previous year! What luck! We hadn't won millions of dollars, but we had won an opportunity to find a job in the USA and be able to live and work there.

So he started applying for jobs, but there wasn't much response. One day, his manager brought him into the office to take a call. A grower in New Jersey had called for a reference for someone else, and the manager had said, "I have a different guy here that I'd much rather recommend, and he has been looking for a job in the US. Want to talk to him?" Very shortly after that, my husband flew out for an interview and was offered the job. A job he hadn't even applied for. Serendipity, right? Someone else that used to work at the same place had applied, and the manager had suggested my husband instead!

Next, we needed to apply for the green cards. Although 30,000 names were drawn, only 10,000 visas were awarded, and one is needed for each family member. In addition, we found out that we needed specific appointment slots at the consulate for the number of visas we'd need, which was three. Everything was booked up for the month when I called, and we thought we'd need to wait, but I was advised to call after a week or so to see if there were cancellations. You guessed it - by coincidence, three spots had opened up, so we could get our visas processed.

Many people would say those lucky coincidences were serendipitous and good fortune was one our side, but we know without a doubt that it was our God at work. He had my husband's name drawn out the thousands; he orchestrated a phone call that led to a job offer in a place we hadn't thought to look; he made sure we'd find the exact appointments we needed, just in time; and he had 'reserved' visas for us. God knew where we needed to be, and had a purpose for us. He had a plan for us. After we'd moved, I was struck by part of the apostle Paul's speech in Athens that meant a lot to me.

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
 ~Acts 17:26-27

What if some of the good luck or serendipity we experience in our lives is actually the work of God? What if he is putting opportunities for ministry in our path, or orchestrating a blessing for us or others, or just trying to get our attention? What if he is answering our prayers, or offering us a chance to participate in the answer to someone else's prayers?

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:10

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~Psalm 139:16

This post is part of the Write 28 Days Blogging Challenge hosted by Anita Ojeda. Find all my posts for the challenge here: Write 28 Days Blogging Challenge - Disappointed

This post will also be linked at Scripture and a Snapshot hosted by Just A Second, and at Sunday Scripture Blessings, hosted by Peabea's Photos and Scribblesand at Selah, hosted by A Spirit of Simplicity.

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Peabea Scribbles said...

Yes, I count even the small things like a great parking spot when needed, as gifts from God. Glad it all worked out when you guys needed. God is good that way. Thanks for visiting and sharing with Peabea Scribbles/Sunday Scripture.

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