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You Can Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

You Can Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

We have a saying in Australia, "Pulling a Bradbury." It loosely means to unexpectedly achieve success. The term was coined due to, of all things, a speed-skating event at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Yes, in a country that many would argue does not even experience winter, we have an expression relating to a winter sport.

February 16, 2002 was a date for the history books. It was the night of the Winter Olympic 1000m short-course speed skate in Salt Lake City. Australian competitor, Steven Bradbury lined up to race the quarter finals.

It takes great dedication, sacrifice, and perseverance to be an Olympian. Steven had been competing in international speed skating for twelve years. He did it without corporate sponsorship or product endorsements. During his career he was impaled by a fellow skater, losing four litres of blood and needing one hundred and eleven stitches. A few years later he broke his neck, and was told he would never skate again. Bradbury fought on and made it to Salt Lake City, an incredible accomplishment in itself. He was by no means the fastest in the field, and had done well to progress as far as the quarters.

When the pistol fired, Bradbury raced with all he had. He came third in the race, yet advanced to the semi-final due to a disqualification. After a spill sent his opponents sprawling in the semi-final, Bradbury found himself lining up for an Olympic final.

His competitors were quicker, but Bradbury was not intimidated. He competed to the best of his ability. He was at the back of the pack the entire race. As the other skaters rounded the last turn, the Chinese competitor lost control and fell. He took the rest of the field with him. Except Steven Bradbury.

Bradbury avoided the tussle, remained on his skates, and glided across the finish line. Steven Bradbury won Australia's first winter Olympic gold medal. Not for that meet. Ever. Australia had never own a Winter Olympic gold medal, until Steven Bradbury.

That's pulling a Bradbury. The Bible describes it this way:

I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

The right place at the right time.

Who doesn't want to be in the right place, at the right time? It certainly beats being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But how? Is life decided by chance?

Qarah is the Hebrew word in Ecclesiastes 9:11 translated, being in the right place at the right time. Qarah does not mean chance. In fact, there is no Hebrew word for coincidence. Qarah means 'God appointment.' In other words, being in the right place, at the right time, is orchestrated by the Almighty. He sets up appointments in the right place, and right time, for those he loves.

We know Ephesians 2:6 says we are not saved by works, but by grace. Many fail to realise that grace works far beyond salvation. When we allow God's grace to not just save us, but work for us, it makes way for qarah moments, God appointments.

I am not saying it's okay to sit back and be lazy. Steven Bradbury was committed to his calling as a speed skater. His experience and confidence gave him the wherewithal to skate his own race. When his moment came, he was able to grab it.

Ruth had her qarah moment when she found the field of her kinsman redeemer, Boaz. Abraham's servant experienced qarah when he found Rebekah to be Isaac's wife. Jesus travelled to Bethany at the precise time, and raised Lazarus from the dead. God encounters: the right place, at the right time.

Sometimes jostling and fighting to be the winner gets you nowhere. Good guys do win, but it is because of grace and favour. Strive for excellence, then leave the rest to God.

God has set up qarah appointments in your career, relationships, and life in general. Don't be discouraged by the success of others. Let them have their moment. You will have yours. Dedicate yourself to following God's divine plan. Rest in the fact that because of His grace, you will find those God appointments. More accurately, they will find you.

When you do, people may think you're pulling a Bradbury. You'll know it as the grace of a God appointment.

Sarah Coleman is an Australian author and communicator. Her books include Single Christian Female and Make Yourself Amazing. She is passionate about the Kingdom of God. She also loves being a wife and mother to two boys. To read more of Sarah's thoughts go to

Publication date: January 28, 2014