Ecclesiastes 9:11: They Had Their Chance With You

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Ecclesiastes 9:11: They Had Their Chance With You | Read this encouraging word from the Bible! | by Jamie Rohrbaugh |

Have you ever had to walk away from someone (or even multiple people) you loved, in order to preserve your own emotional health and sanity? If so, you’re going to love this powerful word of encouragement from Ecclesiastes 9:11–and I believe it is going to minister HEALING to you in major ways.

Here’s my backstory for this word from Ecclesiastes 9:11:

Once upon a time, years ago, I had to walk away from some people who I thought were my friends. They were people I loved dearly–and still love–with ALL my heart. And we had been friends–good friends–at least for appearances’ sake.

But over time, I began to notice something was wrong. I confronted them about it, and it turns out that they were believing a lot of lies about me, and lying to other people, and they were jealous of me for no reason.

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    Also, a lot of other bad things were happening behind the scenes that I hadn’t known about. I had just been walking on my merry way, believing that we all loved each other with the love of the Lord, until it became obvious that that wasn’t the case.

    And since the relationship wouldn’t heal (although I had tried to heal it), after getting wise counsel from many qualified sources, including the multiple layers of people to whom I am accountable in my life and ministry, I ended up having to walk away.

    This situation broke my heart:

    • It broke my heart to learn that my friends weren’t really my friends at all.
    • It broke my heart to learn that none of the things that were happening lined up with God’s Word, even though these friends of mine claimed to be godly people.
    • It broke my heart because I felt that our friendship was God-ordained. They had prayed for people like me to enter their lives, and I had prayed for people like them to enter mine; so I truly felt like God had brought us together in the Spirit to walk together in love before Him.
    • And it broke my heart to have to walk away, because hope springs eternal.

    You always hope for reconciliation and restoration–for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. You hope you can all “be one,” as Jesus prayed for us all to be. But, that just didn’t happen in this case.

    I bled over it for a long time.

    But as I prayed about these things for an ongoing period of time, the Lord whispered something into my spirit one day. He said:

    “Time and chance happen to them all.”

    I didn’t know what that meant, so I started researching this. And I found this phrase in Ecclesiastes 9:11, which says:

    I returned and saw under the sun that—

    The race is not to the swift,

    Nor the battle to the strong,

    Nor bread to the wise,

    Nor riches to men of understanding,

    Nor favor to men of skill;

    But time and chance happen to them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV).

    I didn’t understand at first what the Lord was saying in this verse, so I started researching the Hebrew words to find out what on earth this verse means, and how it could apply to my situation.

    Here’s what I found out:

    If you trace the Hebrew words for “time” and “chance” in this verse back to their word-roots, you’ll find out that:

    • “Time” indicates a window of time with a limited duration and an end date. As in, “There was a time, but the time ended.”
    • “Chance” doesn’t mean “luck” (which is what I always thought it meant!). Instead, it means “chance,” as in, “They had a chance.” 
    • In fact, if you trace the Hebrew root words, this “chance” actually means “pagah,” which is also the word for intercession. You could understand this to speak of a chance someone prayed for; a chance they wanted really badly. A chance they had to strike against God in order to get.

    And then I realized this is what the Lord is saying in Ecclesiastes 9:11 for you and me today:


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    One would think that a race would be won by the fastest person in the race (“the swift”). But, that’s not necessarily true. Just like in Aesop’s fable, sometimes it really is the persevering turtle that wins the race, rather than the indulgent and neglectful hare.

    Additionally, one would presume that victory in battle would always go to the strongest person around. But also, that’s not necessarily what happens. There could be many reasons why someone who was not the strongest might win a battle in real warfare.

    Think of medieval warfare, and this makes perfect sense: perhaps someone takes a castle who is not the strongest or the richest, but who instead has more perseverance, better strategy, stronger metal in their swords, more skilled archers, the favor of God, miracles, better supply line, and so on.

    But the race, or the prize, doesn’t automatically go to the people who wanted it really badly.

    The prize doesn’t even always go to the people who seem most qualified to receive it. And it doesn’t go to the people whom you think would have earned it with their strength or intercession. 


    Because here’s the thing:

    Time and chance happen to them all.

    Everybody has a limited duration of time. They get a window of opportunity. And “You had a chance, but now it’s over” happens to them all.

    When I studied this out and understood what Holy Spirit was saying in this verse (Ecclesiastes 9:11), it touched me so deeply. This verse brought so much freedom and instant healing to my heart.

    And I sense an emergency, clarion call in the Spirit that our good, good Father wants you also to know today:

    Do you need boundaries?

    Are you spending time people-pleasing? Worse yet, are you being used or abused?

    If so, download Jamie’s class entitled Boundaries: What’s Good, What’s Bad, What’s Healthy today. You don’t have to let people stomp on you anymore; Biblical boundaries will set you free.

    You’ve been in some places that were really hard. Maybe you also have been with people whom you love with all your heart, but they didn’t love you back and/or treat you righteously.

    But, that situation has had its chance with you–and that chance is over.

    Time and chance happen to them all. The people in that situation that was painful for you had their chance with you. Maybe it was even a God-ordained chance. Maybe it was even a chance they prayed for, or that you prayed for. 

    But, the sad fact is:

    Those people missed out on their opportunity with you. And their time–the duration of their opportunity–is over.

    Time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says it right there.

    The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The people whom you expect to win everything don’t always make good decisions. Just because a person (or people) is better qualified, stronger, or has any other factor going for them that you don’t have does NOT mean they will succeed in anything like you would expect them to succeed.

    Time and chance happen to them all. And there are factors other than strength, reputation, and so on that determine things: factors like holiness, humility, purity, perseverance, love-walk (or lack thereof), and submission to God’s Word, among others.

    If this word is for you, you need to know:

    That person’s chance with you is over. Time and chance happen to them all. And the time is a closed period of time; its end-date has passed. They had their chance with you, and that chance is over. God is moving you on to bigger and better things, and He doesn’t expect you to stay in a toxic relationship or toxic place. God is very protective of you, and their chance with you is over.

    Move on, and be free.

    Does this word from Ecclesiastes 9:11 address what’s been going on in your life today? Leave a comment below if so!


    1. Tameeka Smith says:

      This word was for me! God told me five years ago to let my extended family go. Sadly, we think it only apply to friends or a relationship, however family ties have to be cut as well. Abraham was told to leave his father’s house. Thank you for this word of encouragement!

      1. Yes this hit home, as I’ve been struggling with friends and family myself .I have learned that not everyone deserves access to me and to what’s going on in my life, it’s not for them, it’s for me, jealousy envy and hate will turn people against you and push you away from God’s blessings ✨️

    2. Arthemise Chevarie says:

      Hi Jamie!This word was definitly for me.I had help my youngest son and his wife all winter withe their groceries and a lot more.He know the financial part of it,he has to give it back to me.I struggled with all this.But now the Lord showed me ; this is i’m absolutly more convince now than i was 2 weeks aog.The had their chance.Thank u Jamie for the word of knowledge u send me to confirm that (that they had their chance)God bless u Jamie.

    3. Amen and amen in Jesus’s Name Glory be to God HALLELUJAH

    4. This word is for me. I give God all the glory.

    5. Thankyou Jamie, I had to do the same walk away from someone I thought was a friend, I found out he was bad mouthing me,so I ended the friendship immediately

    6. Someone who called me best friend had so much malice in her heart for me yet I chose to be her friend still and one day out if one simple argument she chose to walk away..this word resonates with me

    7. I thank God for using this reading as an answer to a prayer about someone that I had difficulty letting go because they were sisters in Christ. Thank you God and Jamie ! 🙏🏽🙌🏽

    8. Thank you so much for this Jamie! Starting October 2, 2023, I had gone through the same thing. On March 31, 2024 after alot of prayer and greiving – I closed that very long chapter of my book with several “good byes”. April 1st and moving forward is “new” 🦋 and I am so excited to see what God had for me.

      Love you all at FHP

    9. I had to walk away from a friend’s group because two bad apples spoiled the whole bunch due to their evil toxicity towards me. Even after I tried to mend it with Gods help.
      And a former female friend who almost became my girlfriend walked away from me and cut me off after a misunderstanding, and she never gave me a chance to talk about our misunderstandings.
      With Gods help I eventually met new and better friends. Hopefully I’ll also meet a good woman of the lord who would want to be in a relationship with me too 🙏.

    10. This was proof that God hears our prayers. I was praying about whether it was Godly to walk away or was I required to keep trying to fix issues. I had come to understand that I was being used. I prayed for direction and God clearly answered through your ministry in less than a day! Thank you! I will donate asap.

    11. Gwen Denlinger Cox says:

      Sadly, this applies to me and my now sociopathic/malignant narcissist husband. His father was the same way and you’d think he would remember the pain he caused growing up and be unwilling to do that to others, but no. Not any longer. Sadly, some of my own family are against me for not being submissive and all the Bible says. I am a bad person and a bad wife. “If only I was kinder…. if only I would take the time to sit down and reason with him….”
      Your encouragement is greatly needed. Thank you.

    12. Irma Nortje says:

      AMEN THANKU, HELP ME TO DISCERN 20.4.24. We are blessed to be a blessing. Guide our family in healthy holy, forgiveness, reconciling relations.

    13. Thelma Curry says:

      Wow I am right here right now. I met someone and I thought it was God ordained because we both prayed for each other. But fear is making our relationship toxic and I just said to myself it is time to move on. It is time to move on. I thank God for this word. God bless you, Jamie.

    14. All I can say is that this word is for me. Thank you for your obedience and releasing this on time word.

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