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Spirituality

No Such Thing as Chance: Coincidence or Confirmation?

Kathy Roman | Apr 16, 2016

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Kathy Roman | Apr 16, 2016

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

We’ve all experienced certain events in our lives that have made us stop and say, “Wow! What a coincidence!”

But what if we redefined this simple notion of pure chance and coincidence from a random and meaningless paradigm to an intervention and confirmation from the divine?

No one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God’s plan. – A Course in Miracles

The probability of a certain set of circumstances coming together in a meaningful (or tragic) way is so low that it simply cannot be considered mere coincidence. – V. C. King

There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us mere accident springs from the deepest source of destiny. – Friedrich Schiller

Isn’t it interesting, when you have grown very close to a friend, family member, or spouse, you will literally think the same thing at exactly the same time? I do this with my daughter and husband so often that we take it for granted. I do not believe this is coincidence. I think this one of God’s mysteries, a result of a deep bond of affection and love. This unspoken language of love and affinity, far from mere happenstance, can become a precious confirmation. With time, this gift can be strengthened to the point where two or more people can be joined in otherworldly bonds of affection, understanding and unity:

Fragrances of great ardour wafteth the life-giving breezes of the love of God. He maketh the heart to dance for joy and filleth up the soul with an ecstasy of love and rapture. So intensely hath the glory of Divine Unity penetrated souls and hearts that all are now bound one to another with heavenly ties, and all are even as a single heart, a single soul. Wherefore reflections of the spirit and impressions of the Divine are now mirrored clear and sharp in the deep heart’s core. I beg of God to strengthen these spiritual bonds as day followeth day, and make this mystic oneness to shine ever more brightly. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 19.

All of us have had experiences that were too outrageous to be discounted as coincidence. At one time in my life, for example, I was gravely ill, and so tired of fighting that I questioned whether God wanted me to live or not. I remember looking up to the ceiling one night and in my mind I asked, “God, do you want to take me, or should I fight?” Within a matter of seconds my dear husband Paul abruptly walked into the room and said, “Honey, God wants you to fight this!” This bold and definitive statement out of the blue startled me but brought me to a new realization of hope and strength. Though I knew I had a tough road ahead, I also knew from then on that I would fight with everything I had as a result of this confirmation.

Confirmations can come in the form of what is most meaningful to you. For some it might mean seeing a hummingbird at the perfect moment, or hearing your favorite song just when you needed it the most. Even in the most seemingly insignificant examples of what one might deem a coincidence, we find commonality and confirmation. From the smallest instance of having the same birthday as your best friend to running into your child’s teacher at the store, one can see in these synchronicities that we are all connected. There are no coincidences in the world of nature as well.  Nature and all life on earth is interdependent and intertwined with exact purpose in this beautiful melody of existence. The universe works and vibrates together with perfection in greater and lesser degrees, but is all precisely part of a much larger plan.

coincidence

So coincidence, or what some might call luck, is actually one of God’s unseen mysteries. In his book  “Memories of Nine Years in Akka” Dr. Youness Afroukhteh talks about interviewing Abdu’l- Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. He asked Abdu’l-Baha “…what is this luck? Is it real or just an invention?” Abdu’l-Baha responded: 

In Baha’i philosophy, luck is the same as divine confirmation, which is ceaseless and continuous, never subject to interruption or suspension. It is not limited to some to the exclusion of others. The capacity of its manifestation must be created. Showers of divine bounty and confirmation are always falling; if any spot experiences a suspension or delay, other areas shall receive these effusions. – p. 404.

Dr. Afroukhteh further recounts in his book that Abdu’l Baha had encouraged him to go to Beirut to study medicine. Overwhelmed by what lay ahead for him, he recalled the words Abdu’l Baha used to encourage him:

Regard not thyself. Look at the Abha Kingdom [the spiritual world] so that the confirmations may reach thee. Education requires absolute concentration and wholehearted commitment so as to attract divine confirmations. Do not consider the attraction of divine bounty to be proportionate to your capabilities and talents. Rely upon the heaven of mercy and generosity and be confident. Be confident. – Ibid.

When we become open and receptive to God’s guidance, confirmations can occur. However, our pure intentions and most importantly, our virtuous actions are essential.

In any and all endeavours, divine confirmation is wholly dependent on action. Persevere, so that the hosts of divine bounty may assist you. The hosts of divine blessings are poised behind this very window waiting for you to act. If you do not enter the arena of service, of what use are the hosts of heavenly confirmation? If the commander of the army remains idle and passive, how can the army achieve victory? – Ibid., p. 334.

Finally we must acknowledge these gifts of confirmation. When you receive a gift, you want to thank the giver. To slough off such a gift as coincidence insults the giver. Instead, this blessing should be gratefully acknowledged and celebrated. In doing so, we not only reinforce its meaning, but we make ourselves more open to future confirmations. Synchronistic events can be small or life changing but always carry meaning and purpose. With this knowledge we can see that God’s plan is no coincidence, but divine and perfectly orchestrated at every moment.

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Comments

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  • Apr 19, 2016
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    Beautifully said as usual.
    But what about those who are in such depression, hopelessness and helpless, that dont know what action to take. What can be done about them when they feel lost and alone... . A catch 22... too hopeless or lost to know what action to take... And in order for God to help them they need to take action.... What a bystander can do for those other than prayers?
    • Lon Milan
      Apr 29, 2018
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      Thank you for this post. Now I know what to do with my current situation where I am not sure if I should apply for an early retirement or continue with my current job.:-)
  • Apr 18, 2016
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    Kathy, thank you for your expose on coincidence. I've felt this, known this, realized this for some time. There is a Plan, two in fact, Major and Minor, and all we do fits in and is connected, no matter how minute the event or missed event.
  • Apr 18, 2016
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    "O YE children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight Path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure. "
    Bahá'u'lláh
    The Proclamation Of Bahá'u'lláh (p.112)
    ...
    I was also pretty sure that Solomon penned in one of the wisdom Books of the Bible, Ecclesiastes, that "chance plays a part in all things" and that 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that "chaos is inherent in all things. Strive on then..."
    Read more...
  • Apr 16, 2016
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    I love love love this article! I truly believe with all my heart there are no such thing as coincidences and your article affirmed this for me! ????
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