Luck, both good and bad, is a common part of the human experience. When something unfortunate happens, we often attribute it to “bad luck.” On the flip side, when we experience sudden good fortune, we chalk it up to “good luck.” But what does the Bible have to say about luck, and is the concept of good or bad luck compatible with a Christian worldview?
As Christians who believe in a sovereign God, we know that nothing happens purely by chance. God is in control of all things, working out His perfect plan (Ephesians 1:11). Yet we live in a fallen world where bad things do happen to both believers and unbelievers. Does this mean God specifically causes bad luck or allows bad things to happen to punish people? Or are difficult circumstances just part of life in a sin-cursed world?
Looking at key Scripture passages, we can gain some clarity on the Bible’s perspective on luck, misfortune, and God’s sovereignty over human affairs. While believers are not immune to life’s difficulties, we can have hope and peace knowing God causes all things to work together for our good if we belong to Him (Romans 8:28).
Viral Believer is reader-supported. We may earn a small fee from products we recommend at no charge to you. Read Our Affiliate Disclosuree
- Luck is not a biblical concept. God sovereignly directs all circumstances.
- Apparent “bad luck” is often the natural result of living in a fallen world.
- God may allow adversity for His divine purposes, but He does not maliciously punish His followers with bad luck.
- As Christians, we can rejoice knowing God uses all circumstances for our ultimate good.
- In Christ, we have power over the spiritual forces of evil and darkness.
- God promises to meet all our needs and give us victory in spiritual battles.
- God’s Sovereignty Rules Out Luck
- “Bad Luck” Often Results from Natural Consequences in a Fallen World
- God May Use Adversity for Our Good and His Glory
- God Does Not Punish His Children with Bad Luck
- As Christians, We Can Rejoice Even in Trials
- We Have Authority Over the Spiritual Forces of Evil
- God Promises to Meet Our Needs
- God Gives Us the Victory Through Christ
God’s Sovereignty Rules Out Luck
The Bible makes it clear that nothing happens outside of God’s sovereign will. He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). This means that what we perceive as luck or chance happenings are part of God’s plan. We may not understand His purpose in the moment, but we can trust that He is in complete control.
The book of Proverbs repeatedly affirms that God, not luck, determines the course of human events:
“The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33 NKJV).
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV).
Since God directs all circumstances, the concept of good or bad luck does not fit a biblical worldview. Nothing catches God by surprise or thwarts His purposes. What we might call luck is part of His sovereign plan.
“Bad Luck” Often Results from Natural Consequences in a Fallen World
In a perfect world without sin, hardship and adversity would not exist. But Genesis 3 records the entrance of sin, death, pain, and hardship into human experience. Ever since the Fall, we live in a cursed world filled with thorns, disease, natural disasters, human evil, and other manifestations of the curse (Genesis 3:16-19).
Much of the misfortune we experience results from the direct and indirect consequences of sin. Accidents, injuries, natural disasters, conflicts, sickness, and the like are part of the hardship of life in a fallen creation. They are not always God directly punishing people for individual sins. As Jesus explained when asked about a man born blind:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:3 NKJV).
Difficult circumstances are often simply an unavoidable part of living in our fallen, broken world. The rain falls on both the righteous and unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). No one escapes the effects of the Fall completely.
For the non-Christian, bad luck resulting from the curse of sin seems senseless and random. But believers can find meaning and purpose even in life’s trials, trusting God’s wisdom and taking hope in His promise of eternal life free from all sorrow, pain, and death (Revelation 21:4).
God May Use Adversity for Our Good and His Glory
While the Bible does not attribute bad luck to God randomly punishing people, Scripture does teach that God may allow times of hardship and adversity to accomplish His sovereign purposes in our lives.
God can use difficult circumstances to:
- Build our character and dependence on Him.
“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 NKJV).
- Teach us obedience and discipline.
“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7 ESV).
- Strengthen our faith when tested and refined.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV).
- Keep us dependent on Him rather than self-sufficient.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).
- Enable us to comfort others in their afflictions.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV).
Rather than bad luck, times of adversity are opportunities to deepen our trust in God and allow Him to shape our character. As Romans 8:28 promises, God causes all circumstances to work for the good of those who love Him.
God Does Not Punish His Children with Bad Luck
Some Christians may worry they are experiencing bad luck as a consequence of some secret sin or God’s judgment in their lives. But the Bible offers reassurance to believers that God does not harshly punish His children.
King David committed terrible sins like adultery and murder, yet he was confident that God would not banish him from His presence:
“For a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14 HCSB).
The New Testament affirms God’s mercy and grace to His followers. Paul declares:
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ESV).
As His beloved children, Christians are disciplined by God as a loving Father, not punished as guilty criminals (Hebrews 12:5-11). We need not fear that sudden misfortune is a sign of God’s judgment against us. Jesus bore that judgment on the cross so we could have peace with God (Romans 5:1).
As Christians, We Can Rejoice Even in Trials
While we should avoid blaming God when adversity strikes, we also should not respond with bitterness, resentment, or despair. As Christians, we have a unique perspective and hope to sustain us through life’s trials.
James exhorts believers to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3 NIV). We can rejoice, not because difficulties themselves are good, but because God uses them for our eternal benefit.
Paul echoes this perspective: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4 ESV). The hope we have in Christ and His promises allows us to endure and even rejoice in afflictions.
No amount of perceived bad luck can separate us from God’s sovereign plan and His great love for us (Romans 8:31-39). As Christians, we have an eternal inheritance awaiting us that far outweighs any temporal troubles (2 Corinthians 4:17).
We Have Authority Over the Spiritual Forces of Evil
Some misfortunes have spiritual roots and are the work of demonic powers and forces of darkness in our world. Satan endeavors to “steal, kill, and destroy” through circumstances beyond the typical hardship of living in a fallen world (John 10:10).
As believers in Christ, we have been given authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). We do not need to accept circumstantial adversity as “bad luck” when it may be an attack from the devil. Through faith in Jesus’ name and power, we can combat the invisible forces at work behind the scenes:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).
No weapon formed against us will succeed as we wield the armor of God in spiritual warfare through prayer (Ephesians 6:10-18, Isaiah 54:17). We have victory over satanic powers through the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).
God Promises to Meet Our Needs
When faced with circumstances that seem like bad luck, we can take comfort in God’s promises to provide for His followers. Jesus tells us:
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body…Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?… do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:25-32 ESV).
God may allow financial hardship or material deprivation for His purposes, but He will provide what we truly need. We can trust Him completely.
The Psalms also reassure us that God oversees all the details of the righteous person’s life:
“No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalm 84:11-12 ESV).
When adversity seems like bad luck, we find comfort knowing God promises to supply all our needs according to His great mercy and love.
God Gives Us the Victory Through Christ
As Christians, apparent misfortune will not have the final say over our lives. The Apostle Paul declares:
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39 NIV).
Any difficult circumstance we face – sickness, natural disaster, persecution, financial hardship, and more – does not ultimately win. God promises victory to believers through Christ’s redemptive work. The trials of this life are momentary afflictions compared to the eternal glory that awaits (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
When hardships arise, we may be tempted to view misfortune as “bad luck.” But the Bible tells us God oversees all circumstances. Difficulties are often the expected result of living in a fallen world. For the believer, God can use trials for our growth in Christlikeness. As Christians we can rejoice, knowing God gives us victory and will work all things – even perceived bad luck – for our eternal good. Rather than luck, both positive and negative, we can acknowledge God’s wise and good plans directing each event of our lives.