Good Morning Brothers…
I’m back from my elk hunt in the northwest. The 15 minutes of working out prior to going, worked out pretty well. My hunting partner and I went wherever we needed to go, uphill, downhill, sideways, in between and up and over some of the nastiest most beautiful terrain God has created. I had a bull tag, my partner had an either sex tag, which means he could harvest either a bull or a cow. We both put in for that tag, he drew it, I did not. Now…I should stop right here and tell you a little about this hunting partner of mine. We met about 13 years ago when he hired my timberframe company to build a frame for his new house down in Texas. We clicked, he was in to hunting, I was in to hunting, but most importantly, we bonded over the blood of Jesus. Our conversations over the years certainly contained hunting elements, but the majority of our conversations were about living life as a christian husband, a christian father, a christian man…in a world that ridicules us for our faith. Saying all of that, he is one of the luckiest most blessed hunters I’ve ever walked the trail with.
He has been on three elk hunts in three different states, two of them with me, and has filled his tag each and every time. The two elk he harvested with me were gift wrapped, right place right time, lucky lucky lucky kind of stuff, which begs the question, “Is luck real?” I mean, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t say, “Good luck” in certain situations. Sometimes it is used as a way of communicating encouragement and other times it is used as a dismissal. However, each time we say it, what are we really saying? Is ‘luck’ a power unto itself? Is ‘luck’ something that can be tapped into, something that grants moments outside of the ordinary order without provocation? Is ‘luck’ a word we use to describe an event that can’t really be logically described? What is it…?
When I think about ‘luck’, something we all recognize when we encounter it, I also think about the sovereignty of God. God is the boss, in control, sovereign over all things, all events, all circumstances. This passage from Isaiah really hammers home this point for me:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these.” Isaiah 45:5-7
When I read that passage, my mind tells me that ‘luck’ is just a word we use and that God Almighty controls every arrow shot, every car accident, every job promotion, and every hurricane. Even though my mind goes there, my heart doesn’t make the same journey. My heart remembers passages like this:
Let me sing now for my well-beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones.
“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge between Me and My vineyard.
“What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?
Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?
“So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:
I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed;
I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.
“I will lay it waste;
It will not be pruned or hoed,
But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” Isaiah 5:1-6
God planted the vineyard, He cared for it, provided for it, and it still did not produce what He expected. How can we explain that…? This is God we’re talking about! We could almost say it was ‘luck’…or in this case ‘bad luck’. This puts my mind and heart at odds, in different places of interpreting life as it unfolds. None of this causes me to question the sovereignty of God, but it does cause me to ask this question, “What does sovereignty mean, or how does God ‘administer’ or ‘enact’ His sovereignty?”
That question…has kept me awake many nights, searching, praying, seeking His guidance to the great question of ‘how’ does God administer God? It remains a mystery, a search which turns up more questions than answers, a quest to make my finite mind understand an infinite God. I am, however, comfortable in my understanding of it. Let me try to explain it, or define it for you. God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, yet is fully united within these three to be just ‘One’. We have given this a name, “the Trinity”. God administers His Godhood onto, and into, us through the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. God the Father can be (somewhat) understood by studying the Law, and the Prophets. God the Father is a God of creation, of order, of reverence and awe. God the Son can be (somewhat) understood by studying the ‘Gospels’ and the Epistles of Paul. God the Son is the incarnation, God made flesh, tempted in every way, yet sin free, the sacrifice to end all physical sacrifices, a master of the parable, teaching spiritual truth through physical analogy. God the Spirit cannot be understood at all, fits no forms, is not describable or predictable. Make no mistake, God is always sovereign. Sometimes it seems to fit our understanding of the Father, order, logic, and predictable circumstances. Sometimes His sovereignty seems to fit no order, no form, and seems to be responding to choices we have made. This makes me think of the Spirit. Other times, God’s sovereignty seems to fit into the pain and suffering of the moment, not the dictation of events, this makes me think of the Son. His peace He has left with us, His weeping for tragic events He left with us, His celebration for times of joy He has left with us. These are all examples of God’s sovereignty.
Anytime there is a break in the natural order of things, we may call it ‘luck’, but it is still God…drawing us to Himself…along the lines of His Triune nature. We may not be able to explain it, but we can celebrate it. My hunting partner is ‘3 for 3’, I am ‘0 for 13’…I can’t explain it, but I can celebrate it.