I received this excellent question from a friend:
“How can I tell the difference between a blessing and dumb luck? A series of events [that occurred] over the past three months has me questioning my understanding of how things work. These were events for which I have no rational explanation.”
There are various theories, ranging wildly from those that claim there is no such thing as a “blessing” all the way to those that hold there is no such thing as “luck” or a “happy coincidence.” The truth seems to be somewhere in between those extremes.
We tend to lack the proper context to even evaluate whether something is a blessing or not, because we lack certain knowledge of the future and we view things from a limited, human, carnal perspective. However, one verse we can trust (if we can understand it) is James 1:17 —
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
So, if we mistake our luck for being a “perfect gift,” yet it later turns out to our detriment, we can finally assess that it was not from God. Conversely, if we mistake our perfect gift as something bad, when it later turns out to have been perfect, we can assume it was from God.
Mistaking a gift from God as “luck” would seem to simply illustrate a lack of faith. I don’t think there is any lasting harm in trying to give God credit and praise for whatever seems at the time to be a genuine blessing. If we later find out we misjudged things, I don’t think God holds that against us. I try to “err” on the side of giving Him praise as opposed to withholding it.