Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter June 2014

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD

– Proverbs 16.33


Dear Friends,

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to go and watch the filming of a couple of episodes of the popular Channel Four game show, ‘Deal or No Deal’. We also had to sign some pretty extensive legal documents, so don’t expect me to reveal any specific details of what we saw!

What struck me, in the very real and ‘close-up’ atmosphere of the studio, was that the superstitions and anxieties we see in the players when we watch the show on television are not a matter of editing after the show, (unlike a lot of the sounds: the studio filming can be quite a silent experience in parts!).

Players on the show have some pretty constant and solid ‘beliefs’. They generally believe that the ‘newbie’, the newest player, will have something in their box that will damage the game. They generally believe that box 22 in particular is very much to be feared for the same reason (it gets called ‘the death box’). Some players bring ‘lucky’ objects with them or avoid number 13.

But the truth is that they choose a box at the start of the game (by a random draw) and nothing they do can change the contents of that box – or of any other box. Things are as they are. It may seem an absurd transition in thought, but we see precisely this in our text from Proverbs. Casting lots was a common method of decision–making in Old Testament times. The result of casting the lot may seem to be random, but, says God’s word, it is not random at all.

We have a sovereign God, who does whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases. He is in absolute control of all things. We are not in the hands of ‘fate’ or ‘Lady Luck’. There is no such thing as luck, really. We are what we are, and we have what we have, by the eternal decree of our sovereign God. So if we have needs, we must turn to Him and bring them before Him, not go out and play the lottery or grab a scratch card. By the same token, we should be satisfied with what we do have – everything has come from the Lord.

Whatever you face in the current week, or month, ahead, you can trust the Lord for it all. Nothing in your life is random, everything is planned with divine wisdom, even though often we cannot see or understand why. Don’t believe in fate, don’t trust to luck – but trust in the Lord!

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