Are you superstitious? Superstitions are those illogical feelings that some magical force influences the events of our lives. Few people in every era of history have been entirely free of them.
Many of today’s common superstitions descended from older ones whose origins have become lost in the passing of time.
For example, the belief that a broken mirror brings bad luck for seven years stems from the ancient notion that a person’s reflection in water portrays the soul, and the ripples in the water destroy it.
The horseshoe is roughly crescent in shape, and derives its magical reputation from the Egyptian worship of the moon; it supposedly gives good luck. Its iron makes it even more potent, because the first known specimens of iron fell from the sky as meteorites. I’ve seen horseshoes hanging above the entrance doors of homes with ends facing up, so the luck doesn’t fall out.
In pagan Britain, the hare or rabbit was an object of worship. With the advent of Christianity this practice was outlawed but old habits die hard, and many people still carry a rabbit’s foot for luck.
The number 13 has been a symbol of bad luck for centuries. Where did this superstition come from? In ancient Babylon, the council chose 13 people to personify the gods in certain religious rites. One person always sat apart from the others, and was put to death at the end of the ceremony—bad luck for that person.
You may be surprised to know that some powerful people had pet superstitions. Black cats terrified Napoleon; Winston Churchill used to pet them for good luck. General Eisenhower carried a gold coin as a good luck charm, and John D. Rockefeller clung to a lucky stone from an eagle’s nest.
Even the scoffers occasionally knock on wood—just to play it safe. And when uncertainties crop up, few resist crossing their fingers for good luck. Most of us laugh at these silly superstitions.
There is a better and more certain way to face each day’s challenges. The Creator has given us the capacity to deal with life through logic and common sense. But sometimes we encounter situations beyond our ability to find effective solutions. During those times, seek God in faith, ask for wisdom, and He will give strength for living to deal with life’s frustrations.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).