Is life really ruled by chance?

For today’s contributor, who was anxious at the thought of being at the mercy of forces beyond her control, the idea that God’s plan for all is unequivocally good brought peace and lifted fear of an uncertain future.

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It can sometimes seem as though our lives are subject to an unpredictable and chimerical unknown, that things could go haywire because of whatever, whenever. The notion that chance or luck has power to control our lives can leave us with a constant sense of uncertainty. Is there a way to find a more permanent stability and certainty?

One helpful line of reasoning and inspiration lies in the idea that God, Spirit, is the one and only creator. Studying Christian Science, which is solidly rooted in the Bible, has highlighted for me that God’s plan includes only abundant good and freedom for each one of us. As God’s creation, our true being is entirely spiritual, governed by God’s beneficent care. Understanding this even just a little can make a real difference in our lives.

Years ago when I decided to buy my first home and applied for a loan, the situation seemed engulfed in contingencies, statistics, and uncertainty. I felt like a piece on a game board at the mercy of external factors, but I knew – because I had seen this so many times before – that turning to God in prayer would be a guiding light out of fear and fixation on the perplexing circumstances.

Over the years, some of the simplest verses in the Bible have brought me just such peace. One of them is this one, which affirms the presence and power of the one and only God, who cares for every aspect of His creation: “I am the Lord, and there is no one else; there is no God except Me. I will embrace and arm you” (Isaiah 45:5, Amplified Bible).

As God’s children, divine Spirit’s likeness, each of us has all the abundant good that God gives. In this way we are infinitely cared for. This enables us to lay off limiting thinking that accepts chance as inevitable and leads to fear of an uncontrollable future.

It’s not that I was praying specifically to get a loan or a particular house. What I was really seeking was a sense of peace that wasn’t vulnerable to circumstance. So I turned away from the notion of chance as a powerful force in my life in order to feel God’s, divine Love’s, plan of good for me. I also acknowledged that everyone involved in the potential home purchase transaction was governed by this supremely tender and constant divine Love.

One day when I was reading “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, the phrase “Mind, God, is the source and condition of all existence” (p. 181) jumped off the page. One meaning of the word “condition” is a term of an agreement. It flashed in my thought that a key “agreement” had always been in place and was in place right then: my permanent relation to God. God knows me – knows each of us – as His cherished child, and divine Love is a fountainhead of infinite benevolence, exempt from evil in any form. This “agreement” is actually a permanent state of being, fully authorized and maintained by spiritual law.

That was the moment when I felt completely at peace; and there I stayed.

A few days later, I received a phone call that the loan had gone through without further ado. How I loved that home! But even more, I loved gaining a greater conviction that life is not controlled by random forces that are sometimes good and sometimes bad. Rather, life is controlled by God and unfolds precisely according to His direction, which only blesses. Because God, Love, is the only true cause, the only legitimate effect can be good, which is never withheld from one and given to another, but is provided impartially to all.

As we awaken to God’s all-powerful presence and follow His perfect guidance, there is a natural lessening of the fear and uncertainty that hide the power of divine Love.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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