Read Proverbs 16
Focus on verse 33
A very common phrase that is used to wish a person well when facing a new challenge is the phrase “good luck”. What exactly is “luck”? Is it like the dog described in a newspaper advertisement that read “Lost dog. Black and white, walks with a limp, is blind in one eye, missing a piece of his tail. Answers to the name ‘Lucky’.”
Typically when something good happens that we were not expecting we attribute the event to good luck, or maybe dumb luck…like a blind squirrel finding a nut. Conversely when something negative happens, a deer jumps out on the road causing an accident, or lighting strikes the house and blows up all your electronics…that would be considered “bad luck”. The location in this country that is perhaps most closely associated with luck might be the city of Los Vegas, Nevada. The city that never sleeps…. where it is possible to win big, but more probably that one will lose. One of the latest slogans promoting the city to travelers is “what happens in Vegas – stays in Vegas.” I am thinking that a more accurate translation of this might be “the money you bring to Vegas – stays in Vegas.”
I have never been a great advocate of luck or chance, or coincidence if one prefers to call it that. I do not believe there is such a thing. In todays Proverb we read, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” If this is true, there is not a set of dice or a playing card in Vegas that is ruled by chance. Every card, ever die cast, every roulette wheel spin is controlled not by luck, but by the Lord. In other words, nothing ever happens by accident. It may seem like an accident to us, but it was not a surprise to the Lord. Now, as I think about this I admit I struggle a little, because it means that the child that suffers in an abusive home, or dies of a terminal disease is not a coincidence or an accident. It causes me to question the goodness of a God who claims to be loving, and claims to be in control, but does not intervene when terrible things happen. This line of questioning, however, is premised upon the false notion that humanity is essentially good, and that because we are good we somehow deserve not to suffer.
The ugly truth is that God owes us nothing! Every breath we take is borrowed from Him. We are all in the unfortunate position of owing God everything, and apart from being redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we all deserve death. We earned it the very first time we did or thought something that was not in line with God’s holiness. When we consider that even the most righteous among us still deserve death apart from our redemption in Christ. When we consider suffering from this perspective it gives us reason to be grateful to God for sparing us from eternal suffering, and it helps us see his mercy and grace even in the midst of our temporal suffering as painful as it is at times.
Understanding that the things that appear to us to happen by chance are under the complete control of our sovereign God, makes it possible for us to have peace in the midst of any storm, confident that even if we should die in the storm – He is there with us in the midst of it to help us through the transition from this broken, imperfect world to the perfection of what is to come.