03-26-21 FAITH luck vs providence lightning strikeweb.jpg

The statistical odds of you getting struck by lightning are 1 in 700,000. The odds of you existing at is a 1 in 5.5 trillion chance. It helps to have connections, or as Pastor Chris Schuett likes to call providence. Providence is the idea that the God of the Bible not only made all things, but holds all things together, including the probability and intentionality of making you.

In homage to St. Patrick's Day, the holiday surrounded with luck and leprechauns, here are some stats from a 2016 University of Toronto study.

The estimated statistical odds of:

• finding a four-leaf clover on your first try: 1 in 10,000

• catching an MLB foul ball: 1 in 835

• getting struck by lightning: 1 in 700,000

• winning a $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 302.6 million

• successfully navigating an asteroid field: 1 in 3720 (according to C-3PO, not U of T)

And coming in at the top of the list as the least likely thing of all, is you. The fact that your dad found your mom, that out of the trillions of microscopic hopefuls you emerged from just two of them and that you exist at all is a 1 in 5.5 trillion chance.

But you're reading this, so congratulations — you made it!

When the odds of success are highly stacked against us, it helps to have connections. A little insider trading, a little 1919 Black Sox action to help us come out on top. But we all know deep down we must play the hand we're dealt. There's a 0.00015% chance that life dealt you a royal flush. More than likely you're stuck with a pair of twos. But what if I told you that I knew a guy?

As luck would have it, the Bible mentions nothing about an impersonal whimsical force called luck to which we all must yield. Rather, the Bible speaks of something called providence.

Providence is the idea that the God of the Bible not only made all things, but holds all things together. Providence, not luck, is the explanation that you exist against all odds. Psalm 139 says that he carefully knit you together in your mother's womb, and that every one of your short days on earth was written in his book before you even got out of bed to live them out. This leads to three truths that defy all the odds,

1. You exist because he wanted you to and just as he wanted you to be — your body type, your personality type, and your quirks;

2. Before he made you, he saw your worst day filled with your biggest failures and he still made you anyway;

3. He knows you best and he loves you most.

We see this love and providence meet in the most unlikely of all people, who was knit together in his mother's womb: Jesus, God's son, who did the most unlikely of all things. Against all odds Jesus, the one who holds all things together and pulls all the strings, had his worst day on a cross, to pay for all our "worst days." Then three days later, he did something only one person has ever done: He defeated death by emerging from the grave.

What are the odds you're going to trust the remaining days of 2021 to this loving, providential God rather than taking your chances with luck?

Chris Schuett is pastor of Sheridan Bible Church. 

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