"Well, that was lucky." Hamiora rolled his eyes as Ralph's favourite refrain rolled off his lips again. It was a particularly windy day and the tree branch had just missed Hamiora as it fell from the pine tree down the back of the farm.
"One of these days your luck will run out and you'll be sorry!" Hamiora groaned as he wondered how long he would have to endure the running commentary of Ralph.
Hamiora had been working for Ralph on the farm for a little over 3 months and was astounded at how religious an irreligious man could be when it came to chance. Everything was lucky or unlucky. The work of the mysterious fate god that had no name and was never worshipped. Only ever thanked or cursed.
They were busy putting up a new fence down the back of the farm. The cows had once again broken out into the neighbour's farm. The neighbour had realised and pushed them back across and put a temporary fence up. Fortunately, his farm boy had realised just in time. Hamiora remembered with frustration that Ralph had informed him that luck had been on their side that day.
"Oi, stop daydreaming and get me the fencing pliers," said Ralph, with a smirk on his face. Hamiora went to the back of the ute and rummaged through the tools. Unfortunately, no pliers.
Knowing it was his fault, Hamiora sheepishly responded, "Small problem Ralph, pliers aren't here. I must have forgotten to put them in the back." Ralph gave him the unimpressed look he always did when Hamiora had failed to live up to his expectations. Hamiora couldn't help but imagine how his kids must have shrunk under the look!
All of a sudden Ralph's face changed into a devious looking smile, and then his characteristic wink. "Check the glove box." Sure enough, Ralph's favourite pair of fencing pliers, sitting happily in the glove box. "Ha," Ralph declared, "that was lucky!"
With pliers in hand, Hamiora prepared for the regular speech. "Don't forget my boy," he always used 'boy' when he began a speech, "There is some force in this world controlling everything, and you just need it on your side. Keep the world happy and the world will look after you. Everyone has the same opportunities. You just need luck on your side and then you will get ahead..." Hamiora sighed and tuned out. Getting back to work, he hoping the rant would end.
Hamiora could hear the words of his grandmother echoing in his head, "There's no such thing as luck, Hamiora. And never forget." Hamiora's grandmother was a fervent Christian and had raised him to be the same. She had raised him from age seven since his parents were promoted to glory in a car accident. Hamiora remembered Ralph had commented that this was an unlucky occurrence, and that he would probably get a good amount of luck in the future because of it.
The words of his grandmother echoed into his head, "Westminster shorter catechism, question seven. What are the decrees of God?" Hamiora quietly muttered the response, "The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass."
Images of sunny days and hot chocolates in his grandmother's lounge came flowing back into his mind. What would she say to Ralph? Like a voice from a bygone age, the voice of his grandmother reverberated with power in his head, "Question eleven. What are God's works of providence? God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and their actions."
He can still remember the first day they read that question. He had asked his grandmother at 8 years old, "Does that mean God governed mummy and daddy's accident?" With tears upon her cheeks and arms wide open, she had said, "My dear Hamiora, even that is under our heavenly Father's most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing. But the best part is, Romans 8 teaches us that he plans all these things for our good, because he loves us. And Jesus teaches us that our Father only gives us good gifts."
Hamiora remembered his grandmother had embraced him with a hug that he would never forget, especially the tears she left implanted upon his cheek. He had known she really believed this to be true. Did he though? He wanted to. "If God really loved me, why all this?" The doubts would often assail him. From without and within.
He looked at Ralph, took a deep breath and thought, "Could be worse. I could be stuck in the lap of luck." Then wafting back from many years came the voice of his father and his father's favourite hymn.
Whate'er my God ordains is right: his holy will abideth; I will be still, whate'er he doth, and follow where he guideth. He is my God; though dark my road, he holds me that I shall not fall: wherefore to him I leave it all, wherefore to him I leave it all. Whate'er my God ordains is right: he never will deceive me; he leads me by the proper path; I know he will not leave me. I take, content, what he hath sent; his hand can turn my griefs away, and patiently I wait his day, and patiently I wait his day. Whate'er my God ordains is right: though now this cup, in drinking, may bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it, all unshrinking. My God is true; each morn anew sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart, and pain and sorrow shall depart, and pain and sorrow shall depart. Whate'er my God ordains is right: here shall my stand be taken; though sorrow, need, or death be mine, yet am I not forsaken. My Father's care is round me there; he holds me that I shall not fall: and so to him I leave it all, and so to him I leave it all.
"You can have your luck," Hamiora said to Ralph, "I'll have the God of my grandmother, the God of my parents, and the God of the Scriptures."
This short story was contributed by Logan Hagoort, Minister at Covenant Presbyterian Church.