Do you feel lucky?...
Luck is an interesting concept or word. Depending on who you talk to, luck can be supernatural, superstition, or just random coincidence. According to Webster’s Dictionary luck is "a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause" .
I read an article recently in Inc. Magazine that said luck is most certainly under your control. The gist of the article was that the events we see as simple good luck or coincidence were determined by the diligence and preparedness of the so-called ‘lucky one”. For example, the baseball player that makes the seemingly impossible (lucky) catch in the outfield was able to do so because of years of practice and discipline. You or I, without that same training, would NEVER be able to make that catch. Business success, according to the article, was not a matter of luck but of good preparedness and staying connected with many people. Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald’s famous, says that “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get”. Another wise person has said “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity”.
Each one of us can probably point at times or events in our lives when we were inexplicably lucky. Regardless of our efforts, sometimes things just turn out well. But the opposite can be true, too, can’t it? Sometimes bad things happen that we could not have avoided if we tried. For example, my mother has Parkinson’s Disease. There is no way she could have dodged it by her own effort or by changing one single thing in her life. Others get cancers or other diseases seemingly out of the blue. Or maybe you’re driving down the road following all of the rules of good, safe driving and someone runs into you anyway. All sorts of “random bad luck” can happen at any time.
As Christians, though, I think we are called to try and find God in our good luck and in our bad luck. Somehow, God can play a role in our life regardless of the circumstances - we simply need to stay open to God’s presence.
For example, I knew a person who had been arrested and put in jail for an extended period of time. I visited her regularly and encouraged her to do her best to see God - even in the jail. This young lady was able to assist two different people who attempted suicide. First, she found them during the attempt and stopped it, and second, she helped them spiritually afterwards in the way that she prayed with them and ministered to them. She marveled later on how these things would not have happened had she not been placed in jail.
In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie TenBoom recounts her time in a Nazi Concentration Camp. She, her sister, and her father had been placed there for trying to help their Jewish neighbors escape Holland during the German occupation. They endured horrendous conditions in the camp but Corrie eventually found a blessing even in the worst of circumstances. She tells about a time when her section of the barracks was heavily infested with lice. Although she hated the lice, the fact that they were infested kept the guards away and they were able to have a Bible study and share the love of Jesus Christ with their fellow inmates.
And, for one last example, a man I know told me about his adult daughter who suffered for many years from a traumatic injury. She was bedridden and unable to get along in life as she once did. She eventually died from a series of infirmities and at her funeral her father told an interesting story. He said that, although he would have never chosen for his daughter to be in the condition she was, it had brought them much closer. They had been estranged for some time and when she got hurt he started visited her again and their relationship was eventually healed. He said this never would have happened had she not suffered this tragedy.
So there you have it. God can use even our worst days and our most trying experiences to bring hope, healing, and light to our lives. I try to remind myself of this each time I am frustrated by my own “bad luck”. How about you? How has God made you feel lucky even in tough times?