"Good luck" is a phrase seemingly impervious to death. Whether you are about to sit an exam, start your first day at a new job, or run onto a sports field, chants of "Good luck!" abound.
Most who utter the phrase have not seriously contemplated the implications of wishing someone good luck, so it is with deep conviction that I invite you to ponder these two simple words.
The concept of luck inherently asserts there are supernatural and deterministic forces created by a spirit or power, indefinable and mysterious. This concept holds no lucid rhyme or reason, yet our lives are ruled by its authority. While usually well-meaning, when we say "good luck" we declare our agreement with this incomprehensible idea.
The conclusion of truly believing in the concept of good luck is the attribution of prosperity to a man-made God. The conclusion of truly believing in the concept of bad luck is the attribution of calamity to a man-made God. In either scenario, man has created an invincible entity--man has ascribed supremacy to objects that have no power.
If there exists such a mystical power which cannot be described, defined or defied, one cannot speak truth by accrediting it with the power of good or bad luck. In fact, labelling any kind of luck is entirely subjective and meaningless.
For example, over the past few years a multitude of strong earthquakes rumbled in my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. For some, this meant the devastating loss of mothers, fathers, daughters, sons. For others, it meant their struggling construction companies began thriving with the prospect of seemingly endless business opportunities - calamity and prosperity, good and bad luck.
To inject meaning
To inject meaning into our days through the subjective force of luck is like going through a car wash and attributing the drops of water on your window to a non-existent raincloud. You look for the signs and interpret a variant truth, but you fail to see your circumstances for what they really are.
Not only have we been guilty of imputing luck to some arbitrary and indescribable force, some have gone a step further and decided we create our own luck and we are the authors of our own destinies. Thus, we can avoid bad luck by staying away from black cats, broken mirrors, and leaning ladders. Conversely, we can increase good luck by touching wood, crossing our fingers, or marrying "the one".
Now, we appear to have moved on from giving power to indeterminate forces, instead giving ultimate power to ourselves. We can "name and claim" power over our circumstances and speak things into being. Does anybody else feel like we are missing something? Both these ways of assigning credit where credit is not due are a form of idolatry. Power over our lives does not lie ultimately within us or an inexplicable being. The Bible gives a different answer - ultimate power lies within and throughout Jesus Christ.
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesâ€"all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" - Colossians 1 verses 15-20.
No such thing as luck
There is no such thing as luck, but there is such thing as Christ. In him and through him we receive the hand we have been dealt, whatever proportions of prosperity and calamity that contains. The best thing about Christ being the ultimate authority over every life, rather than ourselves or a mysterious force, is that he loves us passionately, personally, and provocatively – to the point his love drove him to die for us.
When we read about Christ's life, we could allege his earthly ministry, filled with dissention and defiance from those who professed to be yearning for a saviour, was all a stroke of cosmic bad luck. We could proclaim his death on the cross because of man's denunciation of his authority was also a stroke of bad luck. But the Bible again paints a different story.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him" - Isaiah 53 verses 7-10.
The God of the Bible makes no mistakes, and he does not bestow subjective good or bad luck. He does not have a Plan A and a backup Plan B. He perfectly professes all proceedings, both prosperity and calamity. If you think you can execute your life plans alone orthat the circumstances in your life are outside of God's will for you, remember this proverb: "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps" - Proverbs 16 verse 9.
There is no such thing as luck, but there is such thing as Jesus. In life's pleasures and pains, Jesus is there. He cares for you in every situation, and wholeheartedly determines all the cards you are dealt.
If you need any more reassurance that his plan for you is the best scenario imaginable, you don't need to look past him on the cross to look for signs of "luck".
"Surely he has borne our grief sand carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turnedâ€"every oneâ€"to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" - Isaiah 53 verses 4-6
So, today, do not turn to your own way of believing in good or bad luck. Touching wood will not help you when you meet Jesus face to face. Knowing and savouring Jesus for all he has done out of love for you is the only thing keeping you afloat in this life full of intentional prosperity and calamity. Rejoice in the days Jesus has given you, for the blessings and the sorrows are not from an indeterminable force – they are from a magnificent saviour of the world.
Harriet Campbell has almost finished her Commerce and Arts degrees, and works for the New Zealand government.
Harriet Campbell's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/harriet-campbell.html