“Americans are …very superstitious, you know. It is the superstition of a godless people.” What could the atheist writer Cormac McCarthy be talking about? Prominent among godless superstitions is the deep faith in luck. When someone wishes me good luck, I know they mean well, and I am complimented instead of insulted. But despite their good intentions I do not believe in luck or chance. No one can believe the Bible and believe in luck at the same time. Jesus says in Matthew 28.18 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Therefore nothing happens apart from his will, either his perfect or his permissive will. God hates divorce, murder, lying, stealing, etc., and yet allow these to happen. This is because he has given us free will. Therefore we can follow God or we can rebel against him. Within his soverignity or rule, God permits us to do evil when we choose to do so. He also can intervene anytime to stop evil from happening, or to change hearts so that we begin to love and to obey him.
In 2 Chronicles 18, the Godly prophet Micaiah foretold that the evil King Ahab would die in a certain battle. Even though he disguised himself, towards the end of the conflict, an enemy archer shot an arrow without aiming, and it pierced the armor of the King and he died. Did the king have bad luck? No, because God controls even seemingly random events. Traffic jams, sickness,loss of job, seem unlucky to those who do not know God. But when we are sure that we love and know God, then Romans 8.28 promises that all things work together for good. So there is no luck or chance or randomness in the world.
Another godless superstition is the belief that when we do love God, he will win all our battles for us. Tony Campolo relates that he and two other boys were good friends and good runners. They always finished in the same order, with Tony being third. After one race the guy who always came in first thanked Jesus for letting him win. The friend who always came in second asked Tony, ” Hey Tony, what does Jesus have against us? God has blessed everyone with abilities and limitations. Sometimes I have trouble seeing my limitations as blessings from God also! Sometimes God heals, sometimes he does not. Saint Paul left Trophimas sick at Miletus, and which of us pretends to be more holy than Saint Paul was? Furthermore, if folks were always healed because they were Godly, Moses, King David, and Paul would still be alive.
A third big superstition of godless people is the belief in American exceptionalism. This is the view that we are closer to God than other nations (actually the Norwegians send out more missionaries proportionally). Israel had that thought since God promised them certain areas of land. But this was conditional upon their loving and obeying God, which only a remnant ever did. Her e is the view of God regarding Israel, the USA, and all nations. Isaiah 40.17 All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing, and emptiness.” In every nation God looks for those who are broken, contrite, and who tremble at his word. May he help us to be counted among such people.