Now, granted, some activities are a little more risky than others. Like a lot of people, I watched some of "Shark Week" recently on the Discovery Channel. I was repeatedly assured by the experts that it was entirely okay for me to get in the ocean, even on beaches where 20 ft. long Great White Sharks swim freely in as little as three feet of water. Why? Because I was much more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bit by a shark.
I believed him. Or at least I did until he was bitten on camera by a Bull Shark and lost part of his leg - all while standing in three feet of water filming a documentary wherein he had literally just stated that sharks did not bite people!!!
In thinking about all of this, I was led to do a little research on the subject of accidents and the like. As I did, I came across an article titled “What Are the Odds?” It poses the question: “What are you preparing for and what are the odds of that actually happening in your lifetime?” The answers are informative to say the least. Check out the following list of odds.
The chances that you or I will...
Get Heart Disease: 1 in 6
Get Cancer: 1 in 7
Have a Stroke: 1 in 29
Die in a motor vehicle incident: 1 in 98
Die from Intentional self-harm: 1 in 109
Unintentional poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances: 1 in 126
Falls: 1 in 163
Assault by Firearm: 1 in 321
Car occupant death: 1 in 368
Pedestrian death: 1 in 701
Motorcycle rider death: 1 in 761
Accidental drowning and submersion: 1 in 1,103
Exposure to smoke, fire, and flames death: 1 in 1,344
Cyclist death: 1 in 4,381
Firearms discharge death: 1 in 6,609
Air and space transport incidents death: 1 in 7,178
Death from exposure to electric current, temperature, and pressure:
1 in 12,420
Death from exposure to excessive natural heat: 1 in 13,217
Odds of being murdered: 1 in 18,000
Cataclysmic storm: 1 in 29,196
Death from contact with hornets, wasps, or bees: 1 in 79,842
Death from earthquake and other earth movements: 1 in 97,807
Death from legal execution: 1 in 111,779
Death from lightning: 1 in 134,906
Bitten or struck by dog: 1 in 144,899
Odds of dying in a Tsunami/Flood: 1 in 558,896
Odds of an asteroid or meteor killing you directly: 1 in 625,000
Death from fireworks discharge: 1 in 652,046
Odds of dying from parts falling off an airplane: 1 in 10,000,000
Odds of zombie apocalypse: 1 in 345,957,987,900, 042 (possibly less)
The article concludes with this keen bit of insight:
Some events are much harder to predict, as they are more likely to occur somewhere else, and will only impact you remotely to a lesser or greater extent.*
As a result of having read all of these statistics, there are several things that I have concluded. To begin with, I still do not know what the odds are of actually getting bitten by a shark. However, if they are greater than getting struck by lightning, then they must be greater than 1 in 134,906.
Of course, at this point, it doesn't really matter, because in order to avoid a Tsunami, I no longer intend to live near the ocean. Nor do I intend to live even remotely close to a fireworks manufacturing facility, or within 100 miles of a major airport, or, for that matter, anywhere at all near a graveyard!
Seriously, there are probably some things on this list (such as Heart Disease or Cancer) that the likelihood or lack thereof of its occurrence we can at least hope to influence. I do find it interesting, though, that most of what is on this list is completely beyond our control.
The Bible, of course, affirms this very thing. The Biblical book of James (4:14) tells us that we have no way of knowing what will happen to us tomorrow. And there are some things we cannot change no matter how hard we might try (such as our adding an inch to our height or one hour to the length of our life). See Jesus' teachings in the sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel.
Because of this, we must always be willing to trust God to provide for us, as well as to protect us. Once again, His Word affirms that He will do these very things. In his Second letter to the Thessalonians (3:3), the Apostle Paul states: “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
Now this is not to say that bad things will never happen to us. In truth, sometimes they do. Bad things can and do happen to good people. As the saying goes, it rains on the just and the unjust alike; and sometimes when it rains, it pours. But even then, God has promised never to leave us nor to forsake us (Hebrews 13:5); and He has also said that He will never to more on us than He will give us the strength to endure (I Corinthians 10:13).
So, the next time you step out into this big, crazy world where the odds are arguable stacked against you at every turn, just remember that glorious promise from God’s precious Word (I John 4:4): “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!”
NOTE: The following web page has a great list of Bible verses declaring God’s love and protection for us: http://ww