Thursday, March 17, 2011

Words Matter: Luck vs Providence

As I get older, I realize more and more that words really do matter.  I don't know why so many English words have multiple definitions.  As frustrating as this is at times, the reality remains that it is wise to chose our words carefully. 

With that being said, there are many times when I hear people say luck when they really do mean providence.  So if you are a person who talks about luck, luckily, or being lucky do you really believe in luck or do you mean to speak of God's intervention or providence?

If you really are talking about luck and not about God intervening, then fine.  Continue to use the word luck if it is consistent with your view of God not being involved.  However, if you are meaning to point to God's working in your life or in the life of another when you mention luck, then why do you continue to use this word?  Wouldn't the word providence be more clear and consistent with your belief that God is intimately involved in your life?

Luck is defined as favorable chance or chance happening.

Providence is defined as divine guidance or care.  When capitalized Providence also means God.

As a Christian, a follower of Christ, who believes that everything I am and everything I have is because of Him should I really use phrases like, "Good luck," or "As luck would have it..." or "I feel so lucky because..." or "Luckily...?" Am I really directing my thanksgiving to the Lord when I define my circumstances by luck instead of His divine providence?

How about I replace these phrases with ones such as "May the Lord guide you," or "Be blessed," or "The Lord opened this door for me (see 2 Corinthians 2:12)," or "I am so blessed because..." or "Thankfully..."  I know this is counter-culture and that some people may feel uncomfortable doing this.  Aren't we called to this, though?  Doesn't the Lord deserve the glory?

Because God is in control I can believe that:

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD" (Proverbs 16:33).

Just a little something to think about, especially since we just observed St Patrick's Day.  By the way, St Patrick's Day is a story that is often not accurately told, but that is a-whole-nother post.

And yes, I am Irish.

1 comment:

Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

Kristen, This is something that I have struggled with over the years! It is so true--when I say "luck" I don't really mean luck. When I say "good luck" what I am really doing is wishing someone well. But I don't say what I mean; instead I say what I've been saying since as early as I can remember! I have been trying to discipline myself in this area for the past few years, and I've gotten better about it, but I still have a ways to go before I'll have washed "luck" out of my vocabulary. Thanks for the reminder. :)