When, in 1877 George Eastman planned a trip to Santo Domingo, a banker friend urged him to make a photographic record of the trip. Eastman thus plunged into photography. The trip failed to materialize, but Eastman’s life was set. American Heritage, October 1972, 84. A business venture began by chance.
U.S. Grant got an appointment to West Point only because an Ohio friend with the appointment had to leave the Academy for disciplinary reasons. Smith – Trial, 152. Chance at the time led to an appointment that years later would be a God-ordained decision.
In the retreat from Long Island in the Revolutionary War, absolute secrecy was necessary. Yet, a Tory woman near the ferry point heard the commotion and sent a black servant to tell the British. He made it through the lines to a German officer. For Washington’s good advantage, that officer spoke no English and arrested the servant. By that small difference, Washington’s retreat and the American cause were saved. Patriots, 388. A particularly-divine intervention that saved the American Revolution.
General Lee’s plan to invade Pennsylvania in the Fall, 1862, seemed irresistibly logical to the South, and as irreversibly troubling to the North. Lee’s warriors had bested every Union army sent against it and every Union General had proven a military imbecile against the famed Rebel Chief. That included George McClellan, Commander of all Union troops.
On September 12, 1862, the Union Twelfth Corps bivouacked in the countryside around Frederick, Maryland. On the grassy meadow an Indiana corporal by chance found an envelope that contained three cigars wrapped in a sheet of paper. Lee’s famous Lost Order. The find worked its way up to McClellan.
That incredible stroke of “luck” was really God’s determined decision to force a Pennsylvania-bound Lee to gather his forces and fight an inconclusive but terribly significant battle at Antietam. The inability of Lee there to overcome McClellan and the letter’s incompetence in not being able to defeat an enemy whose entire battle plan lay before him, led to the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. That Proclamation turned a Civil War into a War against Slavery. No European government would side with a South proposing to keep slavery intact. Civil War, American Heritage, 213
Point made: the difference between pure chance and God-directed discoveries is the role each plays in God’s will for a person, a people and, particularly, his Kingdom.
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