WAITING in line at the supermarket, I heard a conversation that went something like this: Cashier: No lottery ticket today?
Customer: Not today. Just not feeling lucky.
Cashier: I had an instant winner this morning. Nice retired lady on social security won seventy dollars. She said she really needed extra money now.
Customer: God is good.
Many people, myself included, would agree that God is good. But the implication that God might send us special help via a lottery ticket first amused, then troubled me. Statistics suggest that many people are trusting chance to meet genuine needs or to fulfill dreams of sudden wealth. Yet the Bible urges us to trust in God and speaks of the law of the Lord. Is it possible that laws of probability are an aspect of divine providence?
If we accept the concept of a God who distributes material benefits randomly, aren't we also believing in a God who might strike down the innocent child or the hardworking parent for reasons beyond human comprehension? When we consider God to be responsible for the chance distribution of good fortune, we accept, even if unwittingly, divine approval of the statistical probabilities of accidents, famine, and other disasters. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``God is the lawmaker, but He is not the author of barbarous codes.''1
The Bible tells us that Christ Jesus visited the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. Many sick and crippled people surrounded the pool. They believed that an ``angel'' sporadically stirred the water and endowed it with power to heal the one who first plunged in. A man crippled for thirty-eight years poured out his hard luck story to Jesus: someone else always got into the pool first because he had no one to help him. Jesus' response refuted the idea that one must compete for a mysterious beneficence. He told the man to rise and walk, healing him instantly. But Jesus stressed the importance of moral regeneration, telling him: ``Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.''2
Clearly, then, Jesus' teachings do not encourage us to rely on chance for our health or provision. As we endeavor to understand and trust God's law, do our best to let it guide our thoughts and actions, our needs can be met in ways that are sometimes humanly unforeseen.
Some time ago, as a graduate student, I was having considerable difficulty making ends meet. It seemed impossible to find a worthwhile part-time job in the few hours I could spare from academic work. But I knew there was a deeper, more fundamental need than only more dollars each month. I prayed for a better understanding of God as the source of infinite good -- not an infinite source of material supply but of the intelligence, intuition, and love necessary to recognize the solution to this and every problem. I reasoned that my true spiritual identity, Biblically described as the image and likeness of God, could not be lacking.
It suddenly occurred to me that a friend might like to use my small but conveniently located apartment while I visited my family during a school vacation. The friend, a teacher at another university, expressed great appreciation for the offer but was unable to accept it at that time. She asked me, however, if I would teach in her place during my vacation. (What a turn of events! I had not realized that the two universities were on different academic calendars.) Housing was no problem because my family lived in the same city. How grateful I was to be of service! And the salary I received in those few weeks was more than I could have earned in months of the part-time jobs I had investigated.
This experience wasn't a ``lucky break.'' Prayer had released me from seeing myself as a poor, struggling graduate student. And I found an interesting part-time job with flexible hours and good pay.
The Bible assures us, ``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.''3 The source of all good does not, like the planets, shift position or change from light to dark. As we strive to live with consistent morality, and come to understand the true nature of God's universe as spiritual and totally good, expressing His nature, we begin to grasp the impartial, invariable goodness of divine law. And we see increasing evidence that our resources, health, and happiness are not dependent upon chance.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 381. 2John 5:14. 3James 1:17. - NO DAILY BIBLE VERSE TODAY -