Luck is not enough

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

A friend of mine was getting ready to interview for a job she really wanted. The day before, she had taken her "lucky suit" to the cleaners so she could wear it to this important meeting. This was the same suit she had worn when she got her first job.

"Wish me luck," she said as we finished talking on the phone.

There is certainly nothing new about wanting good fortune. And we'll be hearing about it a lot more, apparently; recent news reports indicate that promoting luck is a major advertising and promotional trend. This "luckocentric marketing," as it has been called, is being applied to everything from magazines and Web sites to groceries and clothes.

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If we think about it, this trend exposes a gigantic insecurity among people. Good is something fragile and unpredictable for many people. My friend probably doesn't really believe she got her new job because she wore her lucky suit. But she wouldn't go to the interview without wearing it. It's certainly more rational to believe that she got her job because of her experience and abilities. The idea that we are dependent on luck suggests that life overall is irrational and that good, in a way, is accidental.

If good is accidental, then it is not surprising that there is so much insecurity. But this notion that good is irrational, or even an aberration, needs to be challenged. One book that does that is called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The author, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote there, "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony" (pg. 424).

God is good and the cause behind all that is real. Throughout the Bible, we find that the more people grew to know God, the more they discerned that He is good. They grew spiritually. They began to see that it is God's will that goodness appear throughout His creation. Good was seen as evidence of His power and presence at work in our lives. One of the Psalms exclaims, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" (107:8).

If we acknowledge God as the source of good, then good begins to have a firmer foundation in our life. It's not ephemeral. It is dependable, constant, sure. The basic mission of Jesus was to reveal the goodness of God - and its transforming, healing impact on human life. The crowds of people who came to him for healing were all healed - not just a lucky few. His many works illustrated the universal goodness of God.

Jesus' teachings continue to help people to see that good is natural in our lives. A life that is lived close with God - that is, with the consciousness of God's presence and power - is a life that is close to good. This includes a confidence and assurance that luck can never bring.

Good luck, advertisers may say, gives us a warm feeling inside. But this ignores one of the features of luck: it comes in two flavors, good and bad. The familiar song lyrics "luck be a lady tonight" illustrate the uncertainty that always lies beneath the surface. Just how warm and cozy can that feeling be, if circumstances are shadowed constantly by the possibility that bad luck may be our lot?

At any rate, I'd hate to think that my effectiveness today depended on wearing a lucky suit or eating lucky cereal for breakfast. That's demeaning. On the other hand, if there is a law of God - a divine force that is good, that establishes order and harmony - then every one of us can draw on it and benefit from it.

God causes universal good. Prayer helps people see that there is a divine law that acts to promote good in human lives. It's a law that illustrates how God cares for us. It's a law that defends us from even the idea of bad luck. It's a law that causes good to appear in whatever form meets people's needs, here and now. It is the work of divine Love.

You can read other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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