Is there such a thing as “destiny?” My grandmother believes in destiny—or to her…providence—to such a degree that she vehemently proclaims that luck is a pure illusion. Over Thanksgiving, I recall Grandma telling my brother, “Luck doesn’t exist!” For my grandmother, everything happens for a reason and is preordained by God. Grandma’s faith in God’s sovereignty and providence supersedes any other element of control in the universe. Chance, luck, serendipity…these forces do not exist.
In the movie Serendipity, Kate Beckinsale’s character, Sara, is a lot like my grandmother. She’s completely confident that if something is meant to be…it will be. Her faith in destiny is overpowering and alluring. For her romantic counterpart, Jonathan, her convictions are extremely frustrating. Logic, comprehension, control are all necessary components for Jonathan. He has feelings for Sara and wants to ensure that those feelings develop into a relationship. Sara, however, is perfectly content leaving the development of their relationship in the hands of destiny.
According to Simeon, Jesus Christ was destined to bring joy to some and revelatory darkness to others; some would follow Christ, while others would oppose him.
“Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, ‘This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.’”
For Simeon, holding the Christ child in his arms that day was not serendipitous. It was definitely pleasant, but it wasn’t an accident. Simeon expected it! God had promised him that someday he would lay eyes on the Messiah…the Savior of the world…the Light to the Gentiles. Simeon knew his destiny and he knew the destiny of Jesus. He also knew that the joy Jesus would bring to us would come at a high cost. The joy we receive would accompany a sword that pierces the soul of Mary, the side of Christ, and the heart of God. Jesus was no accident, and neither was his death upon a cross.
Is a confessing faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior serendipitous? Is one’s faith a pleasant, accidental discovery? Or, is one’s faith an intentional directive from God? Do I get to choose whether I am one of the many who fall or one of the many who will receive joy?
I, like my grandmother and Sara, believe that God is ultimately in control. I believe in destiny! I’m not going to stand idly by, however, and assume that life is simply a chess game and I’m a mere pawn only advancing forward when God so chooses. Here’s my answer to this conundrum:
- I whole-heartedly agree with the following quote from Serendipity: “Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it’s a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan.”
- Some of the events that make up that tapestry require me to act.
Therefore, I’m going to trust that my faith in Christ is predestined…yet I will daily choose to actively pursue Jesus with passion and vigor.
…and YES, I’m still going to ask her for her phone number.