Defying the Odds: Random Chance or Gifts from God?

Crowd cheering in front of row of books with titles like, The Happiness Advantage, Everyday Greatness, and This I Believe.
Crowd graphic: Tawng/Stockfresh, Collage: C. Devine

Oh. My. God. Look.

Of course I followed. A bobble head, nodding. Driven by forces I couldn’t see.

Watching football, baseball, the Olympics. Listening to classical music, rock, new age. Looking at mountains, flowers, sunsets, as well as everyone’s pictures of them.

They all seemed to reach deep within, for a while.

But as I passed through different stages of my life, from high school to college to becoming a business owner and parent, I began to realize that I would never really care about some things.

Like sports. And some music. Nature wasn’t perfect, either. Sure, everyone experiences some knock-out moments, but there are also a lot of ho-hum ones.

Then slowly, as time progressed, I began to see something else: extraordinary events that revolved around things like numbers, famous people, family names, robots. Mind-blowing connections between people, things, and ideas. Some were abstract, involving seemingly meaningless objects.

Every time one of the events happened I felt like I did when I was a kid, and I found five dollars on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help but stop and stare — wide-eyed, immobilized — as I tried to comprehend an event I never dreamed could be possible.

Over time I found names to describe some of it: synchronicity, guidance, premonitions, revelations.

When I found a few people sharing these kinds of experiences, I often saw comments that completely dismissed them like, “It’s random chance. Stop trying to make anything more of it.”

When I found a few people sharing these kinds of experiences, I often saw comments that completely dismissed them like, “It’s random chance. Stop trying to make anything more of it.”

But a couple of days ago it occurred to me that if you haven’t learned how to find meaning in everything, you have to believe that everything, every single aspect of life, is a string of meaningless, chance events.

Every action we take is affected by random, chance elements. Every accomplishment is the result of a number of random, chance steps.

A random combination of genes determines an athlete’s physique. It was luck of the draw that they were chosen for the position of quarterback on a professional team instead of hundreds of others with similar abilities. They were only able to achieve that goal because they invested the right amount of time to develop the needed skills and they were able to connect with the right people.

The way the ball is thrown in every play is purely random chance. It flies the way it does because of the size of the athlete’s hand and the momentary amount of strength their arm exerted. The receiver took exactly the right number of steps. Their body was in the right position, turned the right way to make the catch. Four times out of ten they miss.[1]

When you see a sunset, clouds drift along unpredictable air currents creating random, chance patterns. People see them in the same kinds of environments where I’ve experienced guidance and revelations, while they’re working, having dinner, talking to friends. Day after day people post photos of sunsets knowing everyone will get caught up in the beauty. Like. Share. Repeat.

Music is created by trial and error. Musicians try a few notes. Maybe they sound good. Maybe they don’t. Up. Down. Who knows? Of course some of the musicians were trained, you say, they know how to work with scales. Maybe they had the good fortune to grow up in a family that could afford that kind of training. Maybe they hated their parents’ music and created something different. Everyone knows they didn’t use a formula.

One afternoon I talked to my daughter, Amber, about this, and she said, “Life isn’t completely random. But everything is determined by chance. It’s like entering different kinds of raffles. Some people don’t opt in at all. They don’t ever buy a ticket. Like I haven’t ever tried to play in the NBA. Some people ‘buy a couple of tickets’ and increase their odds in that raffle. Others increase their odds of getting to a particular place by ‘buying’ lots.”

You might say, “Those people are doing things. They’re working hard. They’re not just standing around looking at a couple of numbers and telling everyone they’re important.”

I have to ask, “And you think other people aren’t? Isn’t practically everyone working as hard as they can to make their life as good as possible?”

I’m highly skilled. I’ve invested an incredible amount of time in my efforts to manage a business, raise two children as a single parent, and hold the position I have now at work. Those are just a few of the places where I’ve become aware of synchronicity and premonitions. I wouldn’t have been in those places if I wasn’t putting in a lot of effort.

Some of the events I’ve experienced revolved around major life transitions.

Lots of people talk about “the dark night of the soul.” They say it’s often transformational. Anyone who has been through ten-plus years of marriage and is in the final stages of leaving with small children knows the physical and emotional toll is comparable to getting to the Superbowl. For months I was terrified about what was going to happen. Being alone in a strange place. Afraid the only housing I could afford would be miserable for my daughters. Then one afternoon I felt like I needed to change my plans, and things began to fall into place in ways I never expected. Upon our arrival at our new home, a random series of events led to an astonishing gift for my oldest daughter, Jade. When it was over, I couldn’t help but believe I’d experienced a premonition and guidance. I know what the odds are for most women and children in these kinds of situations, but the premonition and guidance seemed to help us beat them.

In one of the events it was evident that Amber and I were in the right place at the right time.

We see stories about this kind of thing on a regular basis. I felt like I experienced it again and again during one extremely difficult situation: the loss of my business. I was sure I knew where Amber and I were headed: to live with one of my sisters. Then Amber had a premonition, or vision, of another location. At first I thought it would be impossible. Then I decided to try, knowing the odds were against us. But in one situation after another we found ourselves in the right places at the right time to make it happen. Again, that was only part of it. After we got there, one opportunity after another appeared that enabled Amber to achieve an incredible number of accomplishments.[2]

But effort isn’t necessary for many of these events to occur. Some of them seem to appear out of nowhere.

We hear lots of people say, “It appeared out of the blue,” or “It happened all of a sudden.” Sometimes there are a number of steps, a progression. Sometimes other people see it. In one event I experienced it wasn’t me or the other person involved who noticed. It was a little girl who was about ten years old. I’ve estimated the odds of what she saw to be at least 94 million to one.[3]

The focus of many of the events has been one of the most surprising things to me. They’ve revolved around the things I love, women’s independence, education, and connections with family members.

Again and again, I’ve been seeing God at work. Like the perspiration that runs down an athlete’s brow, tears of recognition and gratitude have poured forth as many of these events have unfolded and the gifts were revealed.

I’ve come to believe that if we weren’t supposed to find meaning in the events of our lives, we wouldn’t be aware of the concept.

I’ve come to believe that if we weren’t supposed to find meaning in the events of our lives, we wouldn’t be aware of the concept.

The events I’ve been experiencing differ from the events we see when an athlete defies the odds. They don’t revolve around a specific talent (but, of course, I believe those are also God-given). Since they can happen to anyone, at any time, in any place, I think that’s one of the reasons they’re minimized.

But I also think it’s because many people co-opt them into their religious belief systems. They minimize them because they’ve been told ancient events are more important. In their closed environments, there’s no reason for these types of events to cause them to think any differently.

But because anyone, like me, can experience miraculous events at any time, I began to see that no religion is required to be able to see that God is active in our lives.

I know people will try to dismiss what I have to say. Some people will claim that my beliefs are the result of some kind of cognitive bias.[4] If the premonitions and guidance, etc. weren’t occurring, I would probably still be telling the stories, but I wouldn’t believe what I believe at this point. In many cases it’s clear to see the effects of the premonitions and guidance. They appear in what I call “hard right turns” in the direction of my/our path(s). I’ve spent years wondering, searching, and have finally begun to find others who are expressing themselves in a way for me to know that they have been experiencing it, too.[5] And for anyone who feels they can just say I’m crazy, I found a book that helped me address that, which I share in the link below.

Because I’ve experienced so many different types of events and have learned about so many others, I know that every one of us will be given gifts on our unique paths, miraculous events that simply can’t be random chance.[6]
__________________________________________________________________
Given all of this, I’m curious:

Have you ever wondered if there is more to life than what you’ve seen so far?
Are you aware of the deep meaning some things can have?
Have you ever considered the idea that God might be active in your life
?
__________________________________________________________________

If you’re wondering how to reach the place where you can find meaning in everything, if you want to find out what kinds of things to look for and see how deep this can go, I hope you’ll continue to follow.[6]

***
NOTES
1. Gordon, Aaron. “Breaking Down an Average NFL Game.” Sports on Earth, 10 Dec. 2013, www.sportsonearth.com/article/64441086/nfl-statistical-analysis-average-nfl-game.

2. The stories briefly outlined here will be published soon.

3. This event involved two people from different states (Washington and California) and two different elements. I tried to determine the odds of two people meeting from those states by adding the populations together and multiplying by two since there were two elements involved. But since each one of us had two elements, maybe I should be multiplying by four. Or maybe the odds should be something over 15 billion to one since there are now over 7.5 billion people in the world. I’m not a mathematician. If you are, I would love to know if there is any way to determine the actual value.

4. “List of Cognitive Biases.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Oct. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases.

This list identifies over 120 different ways a person’s beliefs or decisions may be influenced by a lack of this kind of understanding. But I hope what I share will help you keep an open mind as you learn more and/or experience similar kinds of events yourself.

5. Purrington, et al. “Dr. Jung Clarifies Misunderstanding of: ‘I Don’t Believe. I Know’ in The Listener.” Carl Jung Depth Psychology, 15 May 2019, carljungdepthpsychologysite.blog/2019/06/03/dr-jung-said-i-dont-believe-i-know/#.XUMcYIWr88g.

The quote below by Carl Jung closely describes what I have been experiencing, but I have to add, I haven’t been experiencing all of the events alone. Many of them have involved other people.

(Carl Jung) said, “I do not need to believe in God; I know. Which does not mean: I do know a certain God (Zeus, Jahwe, Allah, the Trinitarian God, etc.) but rather: I do know that I am obviously confronted with a factor unknown in itself, which I call ‘God.’ It is an apt name given to all overpowering emotions in my own psychical system subduing my conscious will and usurping control over myself. This is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse. In accordance with tradition I call the power of fate in this positive as well as negative aspect, and inasmuch as its origin is beyond my control, ‘god,’ a ‘personal god,’ since my fate means very much myself, particularly when it approaches me in the form of conscience as a vox Dei, with which I can even converse and argue.”

6. This doesn’t mean that I believe that someone who terrorizes others has been given gifts from God, and therefore those actions are justified. I believe we live in a difficult world that pushes people to grow, and that people who struggle through periods where they cause others harm will be given gifts when God determines the time is right with the hope that they will learn. Of course I don’t believe there is a guarantee everyone will, which continues to make life challenging.

Feminist. Single mom. Never dreamed I’d be sharing things I’ve come to understand @ God. E-book: Critical Revelations in the Realm of Contemporary Spirituality

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