LUCK! How big an influence is it in our lives? Does everything seem to depend on happenstance or chance? Advertisements for lotteries, contests, bingo games, sweepstakes, promise a solution to our desire for happiness and peace of mind. But can they deliver?
The full impact of this type of thinking hit me recently as I glanced at a letter that came in the mail. It informed me that I was in the final drawing for a $10,000,000 sweepstakes. Included was a folder portraying beautiful pictures of mansions, cars, boats, trips to foreign lands. The message was that, as a winner, I could have all the things that I ever wanted.
As I discarded the mailing, the phrase ''all the things'' struck a responsive cord in my thought. Wasn't that the offer the devil made to tempt Christ Jesus? In Matthew's Gospel the Bible tells us that after showing Jesus ''all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,'' the devil promised, ''All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.'' Christ Jesus immediately detected the nature of what was being offered to him. Because God is the source of all good, Jesus knew that he couldn't be deprived of anything real or desirable by rejecting the devil's offer. So he replied: ''Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve'' (4:8-10).
How different were the things promised by the devil from those we receive from God. Jesus would have been well aware of the consequences of disobedience to God's commands and of the many rewards for obedience. Indeed, it was Jesus' obedience to God's direction that enabled him to feed the hungry, to heal both sickness and sin, and to restore the dead to life.
We too can turn to God for guidance. Putting God first in our thoughts, we are listening for His guidance. And the Bible, in Proverbs, assures us that we will find it: ''In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths'' (3:6). The book of Isaiah goes further and shows us how specific and immediate this guidance can be. ''And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left'' (30:21).
Naturally, to benefit from God's guidance, we must be obedient to it. When we are, the protection we experience has nothing to do with chance or happenstance, as I found one day while I was working in a chemical laboratory testing metal alloys. The testing process involved dissolving metal shavings in glass flasks by using boiling concentrated acids. As the timing was crucial to getting accurate results, the person running the tests generally stood directly in front of the large gas hot plate and removed each flask as it reached the proper state of dryness. As I was doing this that day, the thought came to me very clearly that I should move across the room away from the hot plate. Trusting in God's guidance, I did so immediately. As I reached the other side of the room, I heard a loud crash behind me. Turning, I saw that a large metal plate-approximately three by five feet and half an inch thick-had fallen from the ceiling vent. The place where I had been standing was covered with shattered glass, boiling acid, and metal fragments. Had I not moved, I would have received the full impact of these things in my face and upper body.
My decision to move, however, wasn't ''lucky.'' It stemmed from my ongoing desire to listen to God and be obedient to His direction. When we put God first, we are assured that we can trust God, who is Love, for all our needs under every circumstance. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: '' 'God is Love.' More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go'' (p. 6).
In divine Love's provision for us, there is no chance or happenstance, no favoritism, no failure. Genuine safety, peace, abundance-all these things, the things that truly satisfy us, come from God, the giver of all good.