In short, the answer is destiny, assuming by “destiny” you mean God.
Allow me to explain.
For the past two weeks, my entire family has been watching The Flash. My mom and I started this trend, but my brothers quickly caught on, and now even my dad, hater of all TV besides the news and college football, has joined us. Heck, the cat probably watches it too.
Like any other superhero story, The Flash has some cheesiness: plot holes, inconsistencies, scientific impossibilities, and just in general some far-fetched scenarios. For example, Barry Allen (aka the Flash) had a traumatic childhood. When he was a young boy, his mother was murdered, and his innocent father was imprisoned for her death.
“Well that’s pretty cheesy,” you might think. “Doesn’t every fictional hero need a traumatic childhood? Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Every Disney Princess Ever? This must be one of those cheesy superhero things that I’ll just have to roll with…”
So I thought for a large part of the first season. However, as the season progresses, Barry and his friends start to struggle with the concept of Fate. Was it just a coincidence that Barry’s mother was murdered by an inhumanly fast streak of a person, and years later Barry himself can run that fast? Of course not.
As Eddie Thawne says in the season 1 finale,
“No such thing as a coincidence.”
Over the course of the first season, the characters are presented with news from the future and the ability to travel back to the past. They begin to realize that nothing that has happened to them was just coincidence- it was Destined to happen.
This brings up a big question: What is this “Destiny”? Is it some cruel outside force that controls and determines our lives just because it can?
Destiny is God’s plan; his hand over all of time. God knows what will happen, always and forever. Because he knows it, it is destined to happen- God can never be wrong.
Of course we think coincidence is childish; it doesn’t existence. How silly it would be for Barry to believe that his mother was killed by a “flash of yellow lightning” for no reason. His past, present, and future are all tied in, constantly influencing each other.
In a not-quite-so dramatic and science fiction-y way, the same is true for us. Is it just a coincidence that last night, you found yourself pondering ways to more easily build friendships with shy people, and then today you see a quiet person sitting by himself at lunch? Of course not. Is it merely a coincidence that your pastor talked about ways to reach out to atheists on Sunday, and on Monday you go out for coffee with your atheist friend? No.
In the same way that Barry’s childhood seemed like simply an unlucky random event, our current circumstances do not always make sense. Actually, they hardly ever make sense. It’s not until later on, when we can look back and see what brought about those circumstances and in turn what those circumstances brought about, that it makes sense:
It was God, leading you down the path that he knows is best for you. Barry realizes that his tragic past brought about so many good things, and even though he has the chance to go back and save his mother, he decides not too; he wouldn’t sacrifice the abundance of good things he has now for the one good thing that he could fix.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'”