I don’t believe in luck as a random phenomenon outside of God’s control, but I do believe in mathematical randomness. The idea for this post came up during St. Patrick’s Day when a handful of friends posted memes based around the phrase “we don’t do luck”. That phrase bothers me. I think it comes off a bit sanctimonious. I totally understand the concept. God is the Creator of the Universe and leaves nothing to chance. I’m not criticizing the belief as much as the attitude it conveys.
The irony is the the same people who “don’t do luck” insist on saying, “God bless you” when someone sneezes even though it’s origins are in superstition*. The point is “good luck” is idiomatic as is “God bless you”. You’re not necessarily wishing random luck or “good vibes”. By the way, the phrase “sending good vibes” makes me want to climb walls too.
I didn’t write this post to pick on my fellow brothers and sisters. That’s so not cool. I chose that example because I was reading the chapter on Providence in Wayne Grudem’s Bible Doctrine. It’s a book based on Reformed theology, and this particular chapter touched on the somewhat opposing theological position, Arminianism. I won’t go into the differences, etc. except that the chapter really challenged me on what I believe about God and His Providence. Does He know everything in our lives down to the roll of the dice when we play Settlers of Cattan? Grudem indicates “yes” while as I understand it, Arminian beliefs would lean toward “no” although I suspect that’s an over-simplification.
So here’s where I stand. God knows infinitely everything (past, present, and future) about every person. He has established set laws of mathematics, science, etc. So when I roll the dice, God knows if it’s going to be two, six, or seven. The question is did He interfere and allow me to roll a much wanted six instead of a dreaded seven? Maybe, maybe not. I like to think God obeys probability as much as He obeys gravity. When I say, “come on lucky six. I need wheat” I’m not denying my belief in God or the slightly lower probability of six instead of seven (the dreaded robber). I’m merely hoping the dice will land in my favor, whether by all of the forces of gravity and Newton’s laws of physics, or the Creator of those rules.
There’s one place where I wonder if God, well plays, God. I run to Christian music (mid 90’s alternative, in case you’re curious). I set my mix to random but more often than not, I feel like God has nudged me with “Altar of Ego” or some other song with a message I needed to hear. Maybe He does or maybe probability does its job, and I only notice when a particular song inspires me.
That’s what I love about God. He is beyond my comprehension. Whether it’s contemplating the “luck” of finding a four-leaf clover or trying to figure out how God is like a three-leaf clover, I am forever thankful for the One who created me. All I have to do is stand in awe.
*As a theatre geek, I’m all about telling a fellow thespian to, “break a leg” (and praying they don’t). Not so much because I fear disaster as much as in the voice of Tevye, “Tradition.”
What do you think? Weigh in on what you think about the phrase “good luck”, how much God interferes when you roll the dice, or the fact that we cannot fully comprehend the Creator of the universe.