There’s more to life than luck

Struggling to make ends meet despite her best efforts, a woman turned to God for guidance. The result was inspiration that lifted her out of down-on-my-luck thinking and, soon afterward, into a whole new line of work.

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It often seems that many aspects of life are determined by luck, that life is just a series of shots in the dark because there’s some unknowable element that defines circumstances and opportunities, either for good or bad. Is it possible to see past this unreliable and shaky viewpoint and experience more consistent good in daily life?

This was a crucial question for me during a very difficult year some time ago. A career pursuit wasn’t coming together. I was working seven days a week, exhausted, just trying to make ends meet. It certainly appeared I was a little down on my luck.

But countless times before I had sincerely turned to God in prayer, inspired by what I’d been learning in Christian Science about the nature of God as Love, and had found help and healing. I had glimpsed how natural it is for God’s children to feel Love’s tender care and presence and to listen for its plan, which includes only good. So I turned to God again in this situation.

There’s a Bible verse from the book of James that has consistently lifted my thought above a dark, uncertain, material perspective of opportunity and possibility. It says, “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” (1:17). The Bible also says, “The curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2), which means to me that we cannot be cursed because curses have no legitimate cause.

A deepening understanding and awareness of the spiritual fact that God, good, directs our lives enables us to feel the power of these promises. Divine Science, rooted in the Bible, gives the name Principle – among other names, such as Love, Life, and Mind – to God. This divine Principle is the one and only true source of each of us, and governs with the supreme authority of good.

And because God, Principle, is also divine Love, the only plan and outcome for His beloved children – you, me, and everyone, wholly spiritual and constituted of Love – is abundance, satisfaction, and progress.

The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in her writings the importance of aligning thought with this spiritual reality. For instance, in her primary book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she says, “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” (p. 424).

During that year, I strove more diligently than ever to listen for divine Love’s direction day by day. This meant not giving in to anxious thoughts trying to run the show, like ruminating on how I would go forward or pay the bills. I recognized that these thoughts were not from God. I was dedicated to more fully understanding that no matter what it looks like at any given moment, God is in charge of all our lives, and that this spiritual fact is the reality.

And something totally unexpected happened. One night while I was praying along these lines, a certain idea for work came to my thought that had never occurred to me to pursue. I didn’t know what steps to take, but I felt it was a divine prompting, so I kept the idea close to my heart. Some months later I saw an ad in the newspaper for this exact work, and responded to it. I intuitively knew it was the right fit for me, and it turned out that I was offered the position right after the interview. This gave me a whole new perspective on possibilities.

That practical outcome was wonderful, but most importantly, I saw unreservedly that God is in charge of His creation, which we can experience in tangible ways. It’s a lesson I’ve continued to treasure since.

The feeling that our experience is determined by luck – whether good or bad – loses its seeming power and ability to dominate our lives when we dedicate thought to listening for and following God’s direction. Then we can say with the same conviction of the Psalmist, speaking of God, “Thou art good, and doest good” (Psalms 119:68). Following divine guidance, in which there is no chance, brings the certainty of untold blessings.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.