I have bad luck. At least I think I do. This used to be a running joke among my room mates in college. If something bad could happen to Matt, something bad would happen to Matt. They mostly joked about this because I was the one that instigated it. One semester my truck got broken into, my computer crashed, and my TV (the only TV any of us owned) broke all within a few months. This was also about the time that I started shaving my head because of my ever receding hairline, which was getting worse everyday. When I put on a T-shirt my grandmother bought me with the same zig-zag pattern as Charlie Brown's, I not only looked like him, but seemed to personify him. Can you see the resemblance?
Today, I was reminded of the bad luck I usually have when I planned to get the wheels on one of our cars aligned. Since it was my day off, I got to the shop early, only to find that they were unusually busy and would not be able to do it until next week. Since I couldn't check that off my "to-do" list, I figured I would get the car inspected. The sticker just ran out in February, and I did not want to take a chance on getting pulled over (remember, if it can happen to me, it usually does). In keeping with my usual lot, the only place in Gatesville that can do an inspection in a timely manner was out of stickers, and waiting on Fed Ex to bring them new ones.
That's ok, I'm not a beginner at this. I know how things often go. So I had a third plan to replace the previous two that my "luck" had spoiled. I would change the oil. I don't usually do this myself, but you have to save money somewhere in the budget, so I figured it would be a good day to start a new money-saving habit. After buying an oil filter, wrench, and 5 quarts of Wal-Mart's finest, I returned home in hopes of feeling somewhat productive as a result of the day's activities. Almost simultaneously as I pulled in to the drive-way, rain drops began falling from the sky. What luck. But this is MY luck.
Or is it? I am NOT the only person I've ever heard claim to have bad luck. Think about it, how often have you heard someone start a sentence off with the phrase "Knowing my luck..."? How many times have you used this phrase? Chances are, we all use it more than we should. We can't all have bad luck. But, bad things do happen. Jesus said that good and bad people alike experience both sunshine and rain (Matt 5:45). So if it isn't "luck," how are we to look at the bad stuff in our life? The Apostle Paul may have had a good solution when he basically told the Philippians "Don't look at it." Instead "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil 4:8)."
This isn't merely pop psychology, or self-help dribble. He doesn't say thinking good thoughts will make good things happen. He just says focus on the good. Too simple? That might be my reaction at first. But how else do you explain the all too common insistence we often hear about so and so having the worse luck ever? We can't all have bad luck. But we all CAN focus on the good.