“And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today — at the latest, tomorrow — we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don't know the first thing about tomorrow… make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that.” James 4:13-15 – The Message Bible.
Choir practice at the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Neb., always began on Wednesday evenings at 7:20. At 7:25 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 1950, an explosion demolished the church. The blast was so strong that it forced a nearby radio station off the air and shattered windows in surrounding homes. But every one of the choir’s 15 members escaped injury. How? All were late for practice that night.
They supposed rightly that the odds of unanimous tardiness were slim, especially when the reasons were examined. Car trouble delayed two women. The minister and his wife and daughter were delayed by a dress that needed ironing at the last minute. Two teenage sisters were late because they paused to complete homework, a businessman had to finish a letter and yet another adult wanted that day to hear the end of a favorite radio show. The musician awoke late from a nap. Some could think of no special reason; they were just late.
It is impossible to calculate the precise odds for all these events occurring at once. But past performance indicated that each person would be late for practice one time in four, producing a one-in-a-million chance that the entire choir would be late that night. What caused every choir member to be late and escape death? Was it just good luck? Or was it divine intervention?
Well, it was not Lady Luck or the luck of the draw. It was not because of any rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, some birthstone or the fact that someone had walked around a ladder —or even chance. It was because of God’s will and his favor that those lives were spared.
Christians have been taught to trust in the Lord in every situation and not rely on fate, fortune or luck. Believing Christians do not ascribe to the notion that there is a the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events and opportunities called “luck.” Confident Christians believe in the favor of God.
Tomorrow is Friday the 13th and this year, 2012, will feature three such days in January, April and July. Many people change their routine on Friday the 13th. The number 13 has been considered a bad number for years and hotel planners never build a 13th floor. Friday is considered by many superstitious people to be the worst day of the week and some even refer to the fact that Jesus died on Friday.
But our Creator wants the best for his creation and blesses those who trust and believe in Him every day of the week. And for those who trust and believe in Him, favor is upon their lives. Do bad things happen to Christians? Absolutely. But, for those who are believers, the consequences and outcomes are different.
Paul the Apostle teaches us that “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.” Humble Christians have favor in their lives, which has nothing to do with luck, that imaginary force that decides whether or not we will have a positive or negative outcome. We have God’s favor. So, “good luck” moments are opportunities to pray.
Think about it. Almost every time we are in a situation where it seems natural to say “good luck,” it is an opportunity for us to pray. You run into someone and he or she says, “I have a job interview.” Don’t say, “Good luck.” Just pray for the person. If someone says, “I have a test today,” don’t say, “Good luck.” Say a prayer for that person. And, further, instead of saying “Good luck,” say, “May the favor of God be with you.”
Let us make plans by praying first and seeking the will, word and wisdom of God — even on Friday the 13th.
*Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net. Website: WTRMinistries.com