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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chance to Win!

I cannot count how many times I've seen or heard "You have a chance to win ..." and they list fabulous prizes ... or not. If I call Taco Bell's line and tell them what I thought of their service, I could "have a chance to win a new iPad2!" (I went to their website and looked at the list of previous winners. The list was empty.) I could sign up with Publishers' Clearing House and "have a chance to win a million dollars every year!" I am so on top of that. It seems like everywhere I turn I'm faced with "a chance to win". Odd. Why don't I ever win?

I joke about it. I tell people I'm unlucky. No luck at all. Indeed, I tell them I'm a "luck sucker", that the people around me become unlucky as well. I am joking. You see, I'm pretty sure that "a chance to win" is simply a lie. Well, okay, misdirection. Not true.

What is "chance"? We think of it as "fortuitous" or "luck", but it's not. Chance is defined as "The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause." Do you see that? Chance is not some "lady luck", some "prize fairy", some entity outside of the events. Chance involves the elements of the thing in question that are simply too complex to predict.

Consider a coin toss. What are the chances of getting heads every time? Well, as it turns out, mathematically it is "50-50". What does that mean? It means that there are unknown and unpredictable elements in the process of tossing a coin that make it impossible to actually predict. There is the pressure of the thumb as it flips the coin, the position of the coin on the hand, the air currents as the coin flies through the air, what the surface is on which it lands ... oh, you get the idea. There is a lot of stuff going on. So if every element became known and predictable, chance would play no part in the equation. But chance is not a thing. It is simply the mathematical "guess" we apply because we don't know.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Chance is predicated on not knowing everything. There is, however, someone who knows everything. To Him, then, "chance" does not exist. There is no such thing. Add to that fact the reality that this someone is omnipotent and Sovereign, and you have an entirely different story unfolding here. Not only is the outcome of every contest and coin toss known, but this Sovereign can determine that outcome. So much for chance.

Chance is a factor to human beings. There are many elements of many circumstances that are unknown and unpredictable. It may indeed appear that there is "luck" or "fortuitous circumstances" in the human realm. I'm just letting you know that from God's perspective no such thing exists. There is no "unknown", no "unpredictable", no luck, no chance. The outcome is certain, and, thanks be to God, it is good. The trick, then, is getting my head to the place where I see as good what God sees as good.

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