Football of Chance?
HAVE you ever felt that, like a football, your life was being kicked around by random forces? Many people today seem to see themselves and our world that way! There are many indications that chance is an accepted part of today's society: everything from grocery store bingo and lotteries to astrology and predictions based on so-called laws of averages. In my part of the world our mountain towns and desert cities are even now filling with gambling casinos.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, vividly describes the results of adopting such a limited, material view of things in her book Rudimental Divine Science. She points out, ``Accepting the verdict of these material senses, we should believe man and the universe to be the football of chance and sinking into oblivion'' (p. 5). But no one has to accept unpredictability and chance as forces that make life a roller coaster! We're subject, not to unpredictable circumstances beyond our control, but to God's wholly good government. Mrs. Eddy makes this clear in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, where she assures us: ``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).
What is chance, anyway? One dictionary definition of chance is ``a risk or hazard; a gamble.'' But in a deeper sense, isn't it the false belief that life can be controlled by unintelligent matter? Do we accept life as a gamble? Then, we're believing that God, omnipotent Principle, can be absent. But we can never be separated from our creator, God, who is divine Life! God's law is never subject to chance and can never be destroyed. It can't even fluctuate. This is the only law we're ever subject to.
Christ Jesus' ability to heal had nothing to do with ``the odds,'' and statistical probabilities tell us nothing about the dependability of God's care for His creation. Jesus didn't put trust in chance on the one hand and God on the other. He knew that God's law is always effectual. This law enabled him to feed multitudes, walk through an angry crowd unharmed, heal the sick, raise the dead.
Each one of us, too, can be assured that as God's image and likeness, as His beloved creation, we aren't subject to luck or chance. Through prayer, trust in God, and obedience to His law, we are kept safely on course, protected from the hazards of random evil. As we read in Proverbs, ``Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he'' (16:20).
Once I was riding a horse in the mountains. Something frightened the horse, which started bucking. I was thrown over his head and onto the rocky mountainside. The surprise fall was alarming and painful. I turned my thought at once, however, to God's nearness and constant care, and prayed, as I always do as a student of Christian Science. I refused to accept the fear that I had broken a bone --or even that I'd spend some days suffering from an aching body.
Was I taking a chance to trust God's law of harmony and healing power? I certainly felt as though I had been bounced around like that football and that chance had interrupted my joy and strength. But I was certain that I would be taking no chances in relying on God! I got up, but when I couldn't put any weight on one of my legs I was taken by truck to our cabin. There, I continued praying and opened Science and Health to read. That sentence, ``Accidents are unknown to God,...'' stood out to me as if it had been printed in bold type!
Suddenly it came clear that I was not dependent on chance or bodily conditions, but on God. The ranch owners had expressed much love and concern. Their fears were lessened by our confidence that all was well. I felt the healing power of Christ, Truth, giving me peace and strength for right activity.
I returned home three days later, where I asked a fellow Christian Scientist to pray for me, as well. Within about two weeks, I was walking freely.
Man, everyone's genuine identity, is forever safe in Spirit, governed and protected by God's law of good. Neither good fortune nor ill fortune rules our being. And life is never, ever, ``the football of chance.''