Lucky Chance

I can’t remember the circumstance that prompted it, but I recently had the classic Christianese thought: “There but by the grace of God, go I.” It means, if God hadn’t put me in such a good life, I could be where that unfortunate person is.

It was probably in my head due to thinking about ISIS and the horrors of extremist religious oppression. Knowing what a rule-follower I was as a child all the way into my early thirties, I thought if I’d been born into that extremist Islamic culture, I would be one of those women who was all about following the rules I was taught unquestioningly. I might be waving a gun around, patrolling the streets looking for rule-breakers, and cheering on horrific acts. There but by the grace of God…

Or I might’ve been thinking about Liberia and the Ebola outbreak where people don’t have access to the same excellent health care I do. Where they have to hide the fact they or their family members might be sick so that they aren’t ostracized. There but by the grace of God, go I.

But now I’m questioning that, simply because I know God loves us all perfectly and equally. Is it really loving to pick and choose which soul gets born into a safer, clean environment, and which gets born into a slum? Or is it kinder for God to allow chance to take place, to allow for blind luck?

Am I blessed? Or am I just lucky? I think the latter may be more fair from a Christian point of view. God may know when a sparrow falls, but it doesn’t say he chooses which sparrow will fall.

If I am not blessed, if I am just lucky, some of my specialness is taken away. That may be a good thing. It doesn’t change God’s love for me if I was not specially chosen to have the privileged life I do. But it can introduce more humility into my heart. These days I feel more lucky than blessed. And I don’t think God’s offended at all by that.

2 thoughts on “Lucky Chance

  1. When my older sister was fighting cancer, she once gave me her response to the adage about God not giving us more than we can handle. “God did not give me cancer,” she said. This wasn’t some sort of a test of her faith, and it wasn’t a superstitious punishment for some sins she had committed or a calling she had ignored.

    It strikes me as a similar idea, though. He opinion was that God didn’t put her in the situation but the Lord was there to help her through it. On the flipside, whether described as lucky or blessed, I wonder if Anne would say that God didn’t grant her the privileges she enjoyed either. He wasn’t blessing her, she might suggest, any more than her karma was just kicking in. But she lived happily for many years in a stable loving family and successfully formed a stable loving family of her own before dying so young.

    From Anne’s logic and her faith (which was always strong), she might say that the point is neither blessing nor curse, only that God was with her in such circumstances. The good or the bad could be a blessing to others if she heard the words of the Holy Spirit and followed. Maybe blessing isn’t something God does for us to make us special. Maybe blessing is something we do for each other instead.

    Having said all that, it is still quite accurate for me to say that I’m lucky to know you, Nicole, just as I was lucky to have almost 37 all-too-short years of life overlapping with Anne. She died at 39, but she would never allow any of us to call that a curse. Two sides of the same coin, these notions of blessing and curse? Probably. Yet, we so easily dismiss only one as superstition.

    I was already thinking deeply about superstition for the next Walk The Earth recording. I’m glad I waited. I think the reason I’d held back from recording this weekend is more than just luck, in fact. Thanks for that!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Greg. Wow, your sister was a true jewel. And now her life has encouraged me as well. You’re right, that is a blessing. The idea that blessing is what we do for each other really resonates with me. And I am so grateful that God is with me in the midst/mess/beauty that is life.

    Can’t wait to hear your next “Walk the Earth!”

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