Just Lucky I Guess

BBC radio news October 17, 2012, reported that one witness to the wreck of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia testified that it wasn’t the captain’s efforts that saved lives. Instead, the news reader said the witness saw it as being “only luck, or as he (the witness) put it, ‘the hand of God.'”

If someone accredits something to God, is it up to a journalist to clarify that what they really mean is that it was all just luck?

Now don’t get me wrong. I like listening to the BBC. It’s one way I get a broader look at what’s happening in the world. And I certainly don’t think this type of journalistic editorializing is limited to elite British news organizations. We see it plenty here in the States too. But this is all a distraction from the real point.

Does God act or doesn’t he?

Let’s start by saying that God can do more than we will ever know, and that his power is beyond measure. (Ephesians 3:20.) But just because he can act, does that mean he does act?

Yes, and here are just a few of the ways he cares for his people:

Provision for our needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19.)

Escape from temptation

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

Comfort in our troubles

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles … . (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.)

No doubt you can come up with more ways that God works in the lives of people today, but I think this is enough to show that attributing the things of God to mere luck is a fool’s game:

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Psalms 14:1 and 53:1.)

The fool may rely on luck, but God’s people rely on him.

***

What other passages can you think of that show how God acts in people’s lives today?

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9 Responses to Just Lucky I Guess

  1. Mary Anne says:

    But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

    I admit I’m a bit puzzled (and very often troubled) about this one—I mean, if He provides a way to escape, I’m going to ESCAPE, not sit there and endure! I heard someone say once, and have often thought myself, “Why does God get to have the credit for good things but not the blame for bad things?” Well, it’s clear enough in those cases where someone brought trouble on himself with stupidity or carelessness or malice, but what about those things where no human behaviour is responsible–i.e., terminal illness with an unknown cause? People say, “Oh, that’s the devil that does that.” Well, just because the devil wants to make trouble, does that mean God has to let him? Always?

    I know I sound like the skeleton at the feast, but I’m just dealing with a lot right now and it seems as if He could do a lot more than He does; I think of C.S. Lewis’ bitter comment after his wife’s illness and death that God seemed to him like “a very absent help in trouble . . .”

    • Tim says:

      First, I want you to know that I’m praying for you, MA.

      Second, I think you’re absolutely right that God could do more than he does. But I also think that what he does choose to do is always right and just and full of grace. I remember your comment when I wrote about Job on 10/15/12, and I don’t mean to be trite or platitudinous, but one lesson from that book is that we can never fathom why God chooses to allow some things, and chooses not to act at some times, and chooses to intervene for some people but not others. The Bible is clear, though, that God loves us at all times. He loves you now and always, MA.

      Tim

      • Mary Anne says:

        I know He does—that is to say, my head knows it and I do believe it, but my heart’s just not in it right now and hasn’t been for a while. What with one thing and another, life is just continuous crisis mode these days (and has been for several years). I remember thinking when I re-read the verse about “the valley of the shadow of death” that even in a very deep valley, you get some light and air—but what I have going on is more like the sewer of the shadow of death: no light and everything stinks. Just add Inspector Javert chasing after me and you have a scene right out of Les Miserables . . . *rueful grin*

        But seriously: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” So much of what I see happening is just plain wrong and I don’t see how I’ll ever get back “the years that the locust has eaten.”

        OK, enough of the dismals—time for someone else to have a chance to weigh in.

      • Tim says:

        I thought of that same verse, MA. God is the judge of all the earth and he certainly does what’s right, but I too have a hard time getting my heart to go along with what my head acknowledges sometimes.

        Tim

  2. Mary Anne says:

    Thanks for listening, Tim (and for praying). It’s good to know that it’s safe to sound off here instead of being berated for “lack of faith” or some such.

    Quote of the day, from one of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels:
    “My faith protects me. My Kevlar helps.” 😉

  3. Jeannie says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from, Mary Anne, and I constantly struggle with the paradox around thanking God when things go well and blaming Him when they go badly. In the Reformed church which I was once a part of, everything, good and bad, comes from “God’s fatherly hand.” I struggle with that: did God “hand” me 2 special-needs kids & say “There you go!” Did He willingly and happily create my son’s chromosomal disorder? Whoa, that’s tough. Yet I also have trouble with responses like “Well that’s just the sin in the world” or “Well God didn’t want puppets”– not so much because they are not true as because they can be spouted so thoughtlessly. The “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” writer concluded that God is good but not all-powerful, because He can’t be both — and while that may comfort many people, but I personally can’t accept it.

    So what am I left with? “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” is sometimes the best I can do. And I don’t think your questions reflect a lack of faith AT ALL. I’ve forgotten most of what I learned in university (say nothing of kindergarten!) but I do remember this quote from Tennyson: “There lives more faith in honest doubt — believe me — than in half the creeds.”

    • Tim says:

      Great Tennyson quote, Jeannie. Thanks for bringing that to us.

    • Mary Anne says:

      I’ve run into that bit of Tennyson several times lately—I don’t think it’s coincidence.
      *g* I really cling to the next couple of stanzas:

      “He fought his doubts and gather’d strength,
      He would not make his judgment blind,
      He faced the spectres of the mind
      And laid them: thus he came at length

      To find a stronger faith his own;
      And Power was with him in the night,
      Which makes the darkness and the light,
      And dwells not in the light alone.”

      Maybe I’ll come (at length) to that as well.

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