by Major Danielle
There is a saying in my family, “Luck is for
pagans.” My nine-year-old son grew up saying it and we find it
hilarious most of the time—awkward at others. The most
striking thing about his response is realizing how much we use
the term. It seems superstition laced with fatalism is running
rampant in the world—even in the Christian community.
While speaking with a Christian woman the
other day about a trying circumstance, she responded, “Oh
well, whatever will be, will be.” Really, I thought? That’s
the best we’ve got?
The other familiar string of fatalism is the
idea that God wants us to go through every difficult situation
for some cosmic reckoning. I know a recovering drug addict who
has been horribly abused by nearly every male figure in her
life. She recently told me that she knows God allowed it all
to happen for a reason.
But what reason would God have to allow one
of his children to be abused? Now, don’t get me wrong, I
believe with my whole heart that God can and will use
absolutely everything and redeem it all for his glory. But God
never allows horrible things to happen for some kind of divine
reason. Horrible things happen to us for many reasons. Among
them are sin, death, evil, the enemy who seeks to kill, steal
and destroy. Life isn’t fair, but that is never how God
intended it to be.
I’m getting tired of fatalism, superstition
and flawed theology influencing our Christian faith. So, I
want to state some things bluntly, just to set the record
1. Luck is for pagans.
Pagans are simply people who worship things
other than the one true living God. Paganism is when people
put all their faith in things to save them. It’s hoping a
rabbit’s foot will bring you luck, throwing salt over your
shoulder to protect your family or having your baby christened
so he or she will go to Heaven. It has nothing to do with a
living faith in a living God who directs our path.
2. “Whatever will be” is not a Christian
philosophy; it’s not even a good song.
One of the most exciting things about the
Christian faith is the idea that God invites us into a
partnership. This is what keeps me going when times are
difficult. God invites me to partner with him in bringing
redemption to the whole earth. That’s my calling and my job,
to co-operate with God in bringing about his Kingdom. Fatalism
is not a luxury we can afford. And by “we” I mean the entire
human race. Women and children enslaved through human
trafficking cannot wait on the whim of fatalism. Nor can those
who have not yet heard about the abundant life found in God.
3. Grace breaks through.
In U2’s Grace, there is a line that says,
“she’s outside of karma.” It’s a small line but a big idea, in
which the circle of payback that goes round and round and
fills the world with a fatalism that prevents any change (let
alone justice) from going anywhere is broken by a thing called
grace. Now the most radical notion of karma is in the caste
system in India, but the reality is that the caste system is
alive and well in every country—it runs through every human
heart as a deep temptation to resist grace’s call.
I’m amazed how often we agree with the world
that change is impossible and people are inevitably stuck in
cycles of abuse and violence. God stopped the cycle of sin and
invites us to be sin-stoppers as well. I don’t need to wait to
see what God might do, I need to jump in and do my best to
co-operate with what I know to be his will.
I’ve decided that’s not a bad way to spend
my life. Offering the good news of radical redemption to
people trapped by fatalism and superstition in a luckless
world. Care to join me?