Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

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I’m not a lucky person. But  I am not complaining. I’m simply stating a fact. I am not a lucky person. I don’t have an abundance of good luck that makes my friends and neighbours jealous of me, nor do I suffer from an inordinate amount of bad luck such that others must look at me with pity. I am not a lucky person.

But then again, neither are you. Really, no one is. No thing is. I don’t hold to ideas that some things are more or less lucky than others. Clover is just clover, no matter how many leaves it has, and Fridays are just another day, no matter what date they happen to fall on. Oh, and for that matter, thirteen is simply the number between 12 and 14, nothing more and nothing less (that would be 15 or 11 respectively).

So why do people get so hung up over a day like Friday the 13th? Wikipedia estimates some 17-21 million Americans are affected by a fear of this day … with an estimated economic impact of  $800-900 million in lost business.  Why does a day like today come with its very own phobia (friggatriskaidekaphobia)?   How did this date and day of the week acquire such bad reputations? Again, Wikipedia has a few theories:

One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.

  • In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners. (Was the last supper really the very first time these thirteen men sat down together for a meal? -me.)
  • Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales,[3] and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.[6][7] It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday (at most one could argue here that friday was unlucky for Jesus, but not really for those whom his death brought salvation! – again, me).[8]
  • One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson‘s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,[9] in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.[4] Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common.

Here’s my theory … people believe in luck (good or bad) because they are looking for someone or something to blame other than themself. If it is all just a matter of luck, then it really has no ultimate bearing upon my merit or worthiness.  Didn’t get the job? It was just bad luck, not my lack of preparedness or qualifications. Don’t have everything your neighbour does? It’s not because maybe they deserve it where you don’t (or worked hard for it, where you didn’t) but simply because they have some sort of lucky streak that you never had.  See, if you just have luck then you never have to be responsible or accountable for where you are or what you are dealing with. If you have luck then everyone is on the same playing field and no one is better than me. I am never a bad person, Iam a good person with bad luck.

So let me state it again. I am not a lucky person … and neither are you. There is no luck, good or bad. There are good things that happen and bad things that happen, certainly, but the bad things happen only to bad people and the good things happen only to bad people. Yes you read that right. The bad that befalls us in this life is only the result (directly or indirectly) of our own badness. We Christians call it sin. Sin has broken us, our lives, our relationships and our world. There is no one else to blame for it than us.  We are not what God created us to be, not since the day Adam and Eve decided to go against His will.

But if that sounds extremely unfair, consider this … all the good that happens in this world happens to people who, in their sin don’t deserve one bit of it!  All the good that daily comes to you and me and everyone we know, comes through a God that loves us, broken as we are. All the good that happens to befall us is a gift of God through His Son Jesus Christ. That’s why He sent His Son to die for us on that particularly Good Friday. Why, in Jesus, we are told that even the bad that happens is really being used by God to bring about good.  Who needs luck when you have a promise like this?!

So on this Friday the 13th, forget all the excuses once and for all and consider the fact that you are neither lucky or unlucky. You are a sinner who has been saved by Christ. Neither this nor any Friday bring bad luck, but rather very Good News. You are a bad person for whom the very best person (God Himself) was willing to suffer and die. And in Him you are bad no more. In Him you are more than lucky – you are loved, and blessed, and called in Christ.


Author: kenmaher

When I'm not working I enjoy Astronomy, Camping, Comic Books, Epic Fantasy Novels, Games (both playing and designing), Hiking, Juggling, Sci-fi, and building strange things out of pvc pipe. I also enjoy being an honorary pre-schooler with my four great children ... much to their mother's dismay.

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