In Turkish we have this idiom, "God does not have a stick" which means that God has His own way of punishing. (Say you make fun of somebody for his shortcoming, and soon you suddenly have that same shortcoming.)

Is there an equivalent in English?


5 Answers 5


Man proposes, God disposes dictionary.com

The phrase "Man proposes, but God disposes" is a translation of the Latin phrase "Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit" from Book I, chapter 19, of The Imitation of Christ, a 15th-century book by the German cleric Thomas à Kempis. wikipedia

A painting: inspired by the search for Franklin's lost expedition which disappeared in the Arctic after 1845 Landseer


Grandma always said,


...a common American English proverb that isn't directly quoted from the Bible, although loosely based on a hymn by the devout Christian, Thomas Cowper (1731-1800), who is thought by many to have based his lyrics on Habakkuk 1:5 (KJV, Old Testament):

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Following the link to Bible Tools we may find a discussion of the proverb in question and how it relates to both, the hymn and the Bible verse:

What is astounding is how He chooses to [work] because He does it far differently than we would. As the old saying goes, "God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform." [quoting Cowper's hymn lyrics]. To a man's way of thinking, His works are truly mysterious; sometimes, we do not have a clue how He works.


Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind:

Every decision has consequences; a person's actions will come back to him.



That sounds like karma or what goes around comes around.

Karma [...] the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering [...].
Western culture, influenced by Christianity, holds a notion similar to karma, as demonstrated in the phrase "what goes around comes around".


Some people say karma is like a boomerang.


I would say "serves you right".

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