Thursday's Theology Thing: Luck
1 [n] an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another; "bad luck caused his downfall"; "we ran into each other by pure chance"
2 [n] an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favorable outcome; "it was my good luck to be there"; "they say luck is a lady"; "it was as if fortune guided his hand"
3 [n] your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you); "whatever my fortune may be"; "deserved a better fate"; "has a happy lot"; "the luck of the Irish"; "a victim of circumstances"; "success that was her portion"
Webster defines it as "a force that brings good fortune or adversity", and "the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual". Interestingly enough, Webster also links to the noun "success".
"Luck" is a word that is used quite frequently in our language. Whether it refers to a person having good or bad luck, a lucky streak, or just luck in general. Before you ask, no, the word "luck" is not in the Bible (unless you count the Message, but that doesn't count, because it's a paraphrase).
There are two verses that I want to give today, both of them relate to luck and chance, but in different ways.
I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
I think I may have mentioned it before, but Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Read it through in one sitting one time, it's only 12 chapters. It gives you a great view of the hopelessness and futility of life without God (the last two verses summarizes the whole book).
But anyways, the author states how people don't always receive their proper rewards (ie. the race doesn't always go to the swift, battle to the strong, food to the wise, etc.). Instead, we are all subject to these powers of time and chance.
Now, consider the following verse:
The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD .
One translation (and I can't remember which one, sorry) translates it as "the dice are thrown, but the outcome belongs to God".
This verse is pretty clear-cut: God is in control of everything - even what we think is chance or chaos. When you think on that for awhile, it's quite an amazing thought. There is nothing that occurs in the entire universe that God hasn't allowed to happen. Some might argue that chaos does in fact exist, but it is an authority or power that God created. If that is in fact true, is it really chaos? How can chaos truly exist if God has the final say?
Before I discovered this verse, I had always viewed myself as unlucky. If I were to flip a coin ten times, on the average I would guess it correctly three or four times. I had always just accepted the fact that I was an unlucky person by nature. This verse really puts it into a new light for me though. If events that I consider random or chance normally don't fall in my favor, I understand that God for whatever reason has decided for things to things to happen to me that way. Maybe I need to learn patience, maybe I need to learn to trust in God more, maybe God truly does have a sense of humor, and now that I'm in on the joke, I can laugh at it too (honestly people, I will throw something into a trash can from a foot away, and it will miss, bounce off something, or somehow land and balance on the SIDE of the trash can!) It is really amazing and amusing at the same time.
So this week, whenever you are faced with what you consider a random event or a happening of chance, remember that it's not as random as you may have originally thought!