Surely in the 21st Century Christians Are Too Sophisticated to Be Superstitious
This is not going to be a post about whether or not we should avoid stepping on cracks. However I will admit right now that I never purposely step on a crack, and my 88 year old Mom has a great back. Just for fun, I'm guessing that you, my faithful reader pay at least some attention to one or all of the following:
- Not walking under ladders
- Friday the 13th
- Spilt salt
- Knocking on wood
- Saying good luck or break a leg
- Using a lucky charm, stance, or routine in sports
- horoscopes and fortune cookies
As I opened my email this morning, I was confronted by one of those subject lines that is filled with foreboding. In this case it was one of my clients cutting back on services "for a time." This would results in a not-unsubstantial lost of income for the next two months. Not the end of the world, but a concern on a number of levels. Was it really temporary or truly permanent? Was it something in our services or should I take his statement about cash flow problems at face value? How did God fit into all this?
How did God fit into all this?! Was I being punished for some sin? Was this a signal of needing to slow down, do better work, or change approaches? Was it some kind of test of my faith? Was there any spiritual component at all?
Tending to spiritualize everything is a common rebuke, but the opposite is no better. We certainly should believe that God is at work in our lives. But while anything that happens to us in the course of our day can be used for His perfect plan, it doesn't mean that everything that happens is specifically orchestrated to create benefits, obstacles, tests, or punishments.
Those who might argue the point can give plenty of scripture references where God did all of the above, creating benefits, obstacles, tests, punishments, and more. Jesus certainly intervened during his earthly ministry, and Paul spoke of circumstances that had a spiritual source affecting his choices, including whether to travel to this town or that.
On the other hand there is no possibility of our being given a choice to do good and evil, to love or hate a brother, or to forgive someone, if that choice is merely a false choice being implanted in our head by the grand puppeteer.
Thus I would make the case that we could literally drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out why God wanted us to get a hangnail, or why he caused the USA to lose to Belgium. Stuff happens. It rains on the saved and the unsaved alike. Gravity exerts the same pull on everyone. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The question for each of us is how we use the rain or lack of rain to further the will of the Father in making the earth more like heaven.