When luck smells miraculous (maybe)

After I got that nice refund check from CSU and paid for my new brakes, my clutch gave out as I drove 45 miles an hour on my way to church; ten miles over the speed limit, since I was late (I know, irony). I could feel the pedal getting “squishy” (it’s difficult to describe unless you’re familiar with the workings of a stickshift) and my engine roared as I stepped on the gas but didn’t move any faster. I finally came to a stop just as I pulled into the church parking lot. I didn’t make it far enough to park in a proper spot, and ended up awkwardly blocking the center aisle of the lot, but I was much safer there than I would have been on the road. I don’t want to think how this could have played out if the clutch gave out while driving much faster on the highway.

For all the complaining I do about the claim that “God provided for me,” the timing of the check and vehicle malfunction is coincidental for sure. As cynical as I’ve been, it was difficult not to consider the possibility that God was trying to get my attention. Like he was doing everything short of slapping on a billboard, Here I am! I’m real, I care! What more do you want?

Perhaps I’m being a hypocrite for not believing that. These stories of divine intervention would frustrate me less if I had verifiable proof they were divine, right? The person telling the story couldn’t be accused of arrogance if she was actually telling the truth.

Still, I am left with the question of “Why me?” Not that I take issue with miracles happening in my life, but I’m not someone who really needs one, financially speaking anyway. I’m not rich by American standards, but I am compared to the way the majority of the world lives.

The clutch giving out in the church parking lot is a bit harder to explain away, since that could have been a matter of life and death if it happened somewhere else. But then I think of how many people have perished in car accidents. I can’t ever claim “God saved me” without feeling guilty about those who weren’t.

Why can’t I just be happy for people who direct their gratitude to God? Why can’t I just be happy that they’re happy? Maybe a few years from now, when my wounds are not so raw, I will get there. Maybe the time will come when I’ll stop taking comments expressed in pure joy so personally.

As for my own experiences, the best I can offer is maybe it was God, but maybe it wasn’t. I don’t believe in luck, but I believe in chance.

Once again, my best answer is simply “I don’t know.”


7 thoughts on “When luck smells miraculous (maybe)

  1. The person telling the story couldn’t be accused of arrogance if she was actually telling the truth.

    If they spoke of their good fortune as evidence of God’s goodness or their worthiness, rather than God just having chosen to favor them and let others die for some incomprehensible reason, it might not be arrogant but it would still seem rather heartless–to me, anyway.


      • You’re correct that the question of God intervening is entirely abstract to me. Luck is just luck and I don’t believe it loves anyone. I don’t really see how that relates, though–or maybe I fundamentally misunderstood the basis of your being distressed when other Christians talked about God intervening to heal them or give them money or help them find things. The suggestion, in any form, “I deserve health, that person who died of cancer didn’t deserve health as much as I do” seems horrifying to me, phrasing that hinges on an interventionist creator god optional. I’ll certainly drop the subject if I’m bothering you.


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