god shot

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A “god shot” is when God miraculously causes something beneficial to happen to you or for you.

(If you arrived here after listening to the excellent World in Words podcast about “god shot” and other Christianese terms, welcome!)

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‘Tis the season to believe in miracles.

Ah, miracles! As I’m writing this, it’s a few days before Christmas, and this is the season for thinking about miracles. People talk about “Christmas miracles” (though they seem most often to refer to snow on Christmas Day) and of course we have that timeless Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street.

But despite how much the word miracle gets thrown around these days, it’s still a hefty word. When a hiker who was presumed lost is finally found, we say it’s a miracle. When a sick person recovers against the doctor’s prognostications, we call it a miracle. When the laws of physics clearly seem to be being bent or broken, we say it’s a miracle.

But what about the more modestly sized blessings that happen to us from time to time? Such as when we’re running late and suddenly a parking spot opens up right where we need it. Or when we’re thinking of somebody and they suddenly call us up on the phone. Or when we need money or help in a hurry and through mysterious mechanisms we get what we need. We need a word smaller than the weighty word miracle that we can use to mark and honor these blessings that we suspect God may have had a hand in making happen. Previously on the Dictionary of Christianese we’ve talked about divine appointments and Godincidences and God winks. And along with these playful phrases we also have the word “God shot” to describe those times in our live when, like a shot out of nowhere, God does something unexpected and fortunate for us.

Christians use the term “God shot” as a convenient yet respectful way of giving God credit without using tricky and complicated words like miracle and supernatural. Oddly enough, I think terms like God shot, Godincidence, God wink, and divine appointment also have this in common: they are ways that Christians alter their vocabulary in order to show some humility after they’ve received a small unexpected blessing. After all, who wants to brag that God expends his miraculous powers just so we can park closer to the door or have enough for an unexpectedly high electric bill?

From my research into the term “God shot,” I suspect that perhaps the term has its origins with Christian participants in the various 12 Step programs. Recovery programs like those are a place where surely both the large miracles and the small Godincidences and God shots are all gratefully and humbly received.


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