Friday, February 2, 2018

Beyond Luck

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Even the most controlling person in the world, say a four-star General or a CEO, knows that you can’t control everything. Americans feel that way about elections. People who work on live television know they can’t control everything. Go to the intensive care unit and talk to a heart specialist or an oncologist. Nope, can’t control the outcomes. Sadly, even pediatric units are full of young patients.

 But take a person to Vegas and suddenly everyone thinks they can control the odds. They are going to win because they are not losers. They have saved and scrimped so they can win a poker championship or slot tournament and yet, most of the time, in the final minutes, something happens that takes it all away. Every nickel, penny and quarter, not to mention dollar, is gone like a poof of smoke in a magic show. And yet, we don’t give up taking risks. We jaywalk, smoke cigarettes and eat fattening foods. Life is a gamble, isn’t it?

I used to think so. Each time we buckled into our cars, stepped off a curb or took a flight. It all appeared to be a game of chance. Every shopping cart is a 50-50 toss-up regarding germs. Would it be paranoid to think that the percentage against me on handshakes could have been deadly? Maybe it was luck. I had to be lucky to have reached my destinations. I even survived some surgeries. So far, I’m half-way through flu-season and the odds are good, but something tells me it’s not about me being Lady Luck. Sometimes I’m lucky but sometimes I’m not lucky at all.  

Of course, there are superstitions that also work on us everyday. What if we’re booked onto the thirteenth floor? What if the saltshaker is knocked over? Or you step on a crack? What if I didn’t wear my lucky necklace? Or carry my favorite purse? These can continue without end: Leprechauns? Angels? Fairies? Saints? Talismans? Gnomes? Odin? I’ve known sales people who had to run home for their favorite pen before a workday could begin. Don’t most of us have a lucky coin? A rabbit’s foot?  Or a four-leaf clover? Add in horoscopes and the Chinese fortune cookies and pretty soon, you have a massive variety of distractions raising the odds.

Or you can slow down and pray, but I doubt that will give you triple sevens. Right now, I’m working on my manuscript, Penniless Souls, which takes place in Las Vegas. My fictional characters are torn between taking chances and having faith in God. As a woman of faith, I have to admit my love for angels. Which means the people populating my book can be as lucky as I want them to be. Or not. 

Human frailty blows away at the first strong gust of wind, but God's will is solid as granite.  He is love, and works in mysterious ways. His will prevails over our measly wishes.

Don't you think that sometimes, what we perceive as winning, may not be winning at all?


  1. It's timing, not luck. Sometimes we think we can beat God's timing and make it happen sooner.
    No lucky or favorite item in my possession. Not a gambler either.

  2. Winning can be a matter of timing. What looks like winning in the immediate term isn't so down the line.

  3. I never try to win at games of chance. I know that I will lose. Lanny and his Mother would gamble and sometimes win a rather large amount. Neither lost much either. It was fascinating to watch them. Life, however, isn't gambling. It's a gift from God and one lives it using the abilities one was given.

  4. There are ways to win at craps, poker, etc. In publishing, it's more about timing than talent.

    These days, I stick with prayer.

  5. Proverbs 16:33 states a general principle: “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord.” For me this states that we may think Life is random, filled with lucky or unlucky moments. However, our God is sovereign and luck is not reality. Just my two cents worth!