BRITAIN has recently inaugurated a national lottery with a great deal of fanfare. The advertising for it features a finger that points at an ``ordinary'' citizen, with the message ``It could be you!'' implying that the hand of chance can lead to instant happiness.
At the time that this promotion was going on, I also noticed an advertising campaign for a publication running an article on what it calls ``the lottery'' faced in combating a disease that's usually considered fatal. The contrast between these two examples of the effects of chance to me sums up what the problem is with betting. Betting, gambling of any kind, demands that we bow to the belief that our lives are the sport of chance, for good and bad. Accepting the hope that chance will work in our favor, we necessarily accommodate the belief that chance can also work against us. It's impossible to have one without the other.
In understanding God's law, however, we find freedom from the uncertainty of chance, both good and bad. Every aspect of our lives is governed by God's law of good, which fortune cannot create and misfortune cannot overturn. The truth is that God's blessing irrevocably rests on His creation. His law of love punishes only the sinful thought and behavior that would lead us astray from our conscious oneness with Him.
This is illustrated in the Biblical book of Numbers. Seeing the children of Israel camped in the plains of Moab, the Moabites' king, Balak, called on Balaam to curse them. Yet Balaam couldn't do as the king wished. The Israelites were blessed by God, not cursed, and nothing Balaam could do or say would change that. He could only tell Balak the king: ``Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it'' (23:20).
To the degree that we free ourselves from ungodlike thinking and actions, we will find the same conclusion true for us. God's blessing rests upon us irreversibly. In truth, the living God--the God of infinite love proved by Christ Jesus in his healing works-- blesses His entire creation, eternally. Just as Balaam couldn't inflict a curse on the Israelites in defiance of God's plan of good, so human experience cannot inflict a curse on God's offspring.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes the following remarkable statement in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``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).
Who wouldn't be happy to know chance has no power when such knowledge averts accidents? But it seems we're less happy to stick to this knowledge when a jackpot is dangled as the lure to accepting chance. Yet we ``change the notion of chance'' only by challenging its reality in every form it takes. To want ``good'' chance but not ill fortune is a misapprehension of the basis on which chance needs to be challenged. Only by challenging the underlying belief of limited, material life--the canvas on which both good and bad luck find portrayal--is chance truly disarmed. Affirming spiritual life as man's real life, as the Bible reveals it to be, we perceive ourselves to be rooted in the security of good that comes from being under God's law. On this basis we fear no bad luck, and we lose all self-deceiving notions of harboring a desire for good luck. Divine law infinitely outweighs luck!
We can reject a lottery easily by throwing away any tickets we may have been tempted to buy--or by not purchasing any in the first place. And that's a good idea. But it's even more important to throw away the notion that life, health, and happiness depend on chance. This is both infinitely wise and divinely right. God does not fashion and form us in that mold, but embraces us all in the certain Science of Christ, mandating our provision, health, and happiness by His almighty, unvarying, spiritual law of good.