Luck and Providence
I mentioned in my last post what happened to my car. This has been the latest in a whole string of things that have happened to us since we moved here five months ago. My wife had a serious ear infection, she has also had back and knee problems, her father has been very ill, and many other things that are of a personal nature and cannot be mentioned on a public medium like the web.
What has surprised me is how little many of the Christians we are in contact with here make any reference to God when talking about these things. Their language is no different from friends outside the church. We’ve had ‘bad luck’. They wish me ‘good luck’ with my car. When I say that to Debbie and me it feels as if someone doesn’t want us here they don’t get the meaning.
We’re not for seeing the devil behind every problem, but the level and range of continued problems has led us to consider that possibility very seriously.
I’m also not the kind of person whose view of divine sovereignty amounts to an idea of God writing the script and us saying the words, or God being a puppeteer pulling the strings that make us move. But I still have a deep sense of providence, of divine permission and so on. Yet when I talk of providence it seems to draw blank stares from Christians. When the car crash happened, two witnesses saw the culprit trying to escape. Not only that, a police car came along the street around that time on a regular patrol. I think providence is an acceptable way to talk about that.
And I also suspect that the ‘luck’ language isn’t accidental, even if the precise meaning may not have been thought through. We just don’t seem to be able to bring God into everyday conversation and everyday life. What is wrong? In the words of a report to last year’s Methodist Conference, it’s Time To Talk Of God.