May 26th, 2007.

Not a chance.

Do Christians believe in chance? I ask this because it seems that a lot of churchy folk will often attribute a random moment of good fortune to God. They’ll marvel at the “blessing” which to anyone else might just be considered a lucky twist of fate. So how is one to distinguish between supernatural intervention and plain old chance?

Some time ago a Christian I know was due to fly to Denver for the holidays. The night before she stopped in at a liquor store to buy a bottle of rum. As usual she was asked for ID, but as she reached into her purse she remembered that a couple of weeks earlier she had put her driver’s license in another purse. It wasn’t a big deal, the clerk let her off and upon arriving home she found her ID and put it in her purse ready for the flight the next morning; a flight she would have missed had she arrived at the airport without it.

“What a lovely way for the Lord to remind you to get your ID.” Read one comment on her blog.

“That’s a cool story. if it had happened any other way, well, it’s just obvious that someone is looking out for you!” Wrote another.

As I read other comments that echoed those sentiments I found myself thinking that to even suggest this was divine intervention was utterly absurd. Being asked for ID in a liquor store when you look young isn’t unusual, and the fact that it happened to work to her advantage was just down to chance, a turn of good fortune and nothing more.

If the plane she was traveling on the next day had crashed wouldn’t there be some who would blame the Devil? If so then what of the good things that might come from the crash? For example, if someone was praying for a much-needed job that became available because someone on the plane died, wouldn’t that person consider the opportunity to be answered prayer?

It seems to me that people often construct their faith around events that appear to validate their beliefs. One persons misery might very well be another persons joy, and from different angles both God and the Devil may be deemed responsible for the same event.

I sincerely hope that the ‘liquor store miracle’ was nothing of the sort and that if God is still in the business of divine interventions that he pick far more worthy and deserving moments to exercise his divinity. To attribute to God the fortunate moments of chance we all encounter leaves me feeling like the victim of a scam. If God is God then ‘liquor store miracles’ are card tricks for a dwindling audience.