Fingers Crossed

With loved ones living in Florida, I listened intently to the weather channel for the duration of Hurricane Irma. Days ahead the meteorologists were plotting the path of the hurricane and describing the potential for destruction, warning residents to prepare. I was struck by these words announced by what I presumed to be a brilliant meteorologist “This is all we know, now we have to keep our fingers crossed.” Really?

A few days later my husband and I were getting our annual flu shots at our local pharmacy. In between injections, the pharmacist explained this year’s flu strain and the hope of avoiding a major influenza outbreak. Then he said, “This is what we’ve prepared for, now we have to keep our fingers crossed.”

There it was again—another highly-educated, and heavily-trained scientist giving us a very unscientific recommendation.

Of course, neither of these experts was speaking literally—no one can function with fingers crossed at all times, nor do they actually believe it might affect the outcome.

So what exactly were they saying? Perhaps any or all of these things:
• They were acknowledging their limitations as scientists. Science can take you only so far.
• After scientific knowledge has been exhausted, the rest is left to chance.
• Since they have no control over chance, they reference a superstition that gives the illusion of control—even though they neither practice it, nor believe it.
• There is hope for the situation, even though the source of that hope is unspecified.

All this is evidence of the vacuum in people’s lives when they don’t have God. They have no certainty and no reassurance that all will be well—everything’s a risk! When someone mentions fingers crossed it usually means they feel hopeful but can’t identify the source of that hope. For many it is just wishful thinking, good luck, or the ever-popular energy in the room.

I would love to tell you about my evangelistic response to the pharmacist, but I didn’t think about it until later. The opportunity slipped away—I was not ready.

I wish I had told him about an alternative to crossed fingers—belief in the one true God, made known through Jesus Christ. His power has no limitations. His knowledge is never exhausted. He leaves nothing to chance. He works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:11). He promises to work all things together for good to those who love him (Romans 8:28). That promise is for believers in Jesus—and the invitation is wide open.

Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). Let your life and your words bear witness. Tell those who are fearful about storms and the flu, that God holds the world securely in his hands.

He doesn’t need to cross his fingers—and neither do we.

These are just some thoughts from last week. I’d love to hear yours.

8 comments to Fingers Crossed

  • Susan M.

    Amen! I so much appreciate this reminder of where our true hope comes from–and that He is faithful and has promised to help us!

    • Hi Susan, we live in a scary world with danger on many fronts. As believers our security is in Christ, and nowhere else. When we put hope in other things they will ultimately let us down. As a mother and grandmother I need this reminder continually. The safest place to be is in God’s hands. And that is where we are.

  • Chérie

    Hurricanes and their aftermath are so symbolic of the troubles we have in life —are they not.
    Hearing of these people wading through bacteria-laden-waist deep-flood water to try and salvage even a child’s school picture has had me on my knees with overwhelming sorrow and grief so many times these last few days.
    Being in a hurricane of our own with my husband suddenly laid off with no warning (along with 880 other company employees nation wide), I cannot imagine crossing my fingers to “hope for the best”. It is hard enough with the real hope we do have.

    Janet I love your honesty about not sharing the gospel with that individual. Been there ….done that.
    Thank you for your ministry that has touched my life immensely.

    • Hi Cherie, so sorry to hear about your husband losing his job. Our hurts come in multiple layers: financial, relational, health…
      May the Lord meet you each day with new mercies. Hold on dear one.

  • Diana Binford

    This made me smile when I thought about relying on crossed fingers, or rabbit’s feet or whatever else we might dream up. You are so right about recalling Scripture for all those appropriate moments; nevertheless, I know that you have the Word “hidden in your heart” and sometimes when it doesn’t come to us in the moment, I truly think that that moment might not be the right moment. God protects us too from speaking out when the ears of the receiver are not ready to hear. Discernment is so very important.

    I have to say that you have inspired me to get back to memorizing again which I had put on the back burner in lieu of other things. At 66, it is much harder. I thank you for your encouragement and I often refer back to your blogs or your book to make myself continue when the results don’t come as quickly as I think they should. Inch by inch my progress continues.

    May God bless you richly!

    • Hi Diana, so great to see you on the blog. I am now 62 and have been memorizing since I was 35. It doesn’t matter “how much” you memorize, but that you are thinking and meditating on God’s Word every day. Even if it takes you longer to get through a passage (sometimes that happens to me too), don’t be discouraged. Keep your focus on the Lord. The great commandment is to love God with all your being. That’s the goal and memorizing helps us do that. Press on dear sister!

  • Nancy

    I like this and think you’re right, but I find this ironic coming from one getting flu shots every year!

    • Hmmm, never saw any contradiction in getting a flu shot and putting our hope in God alone. I also wear my seatbelt and have car insurance.