The Wizard of Odds

I’m not much of a gambling man, though I once ate boiled peanuts at a Sabbath potluck dinner. The boiled peanuts weren’t as bad as I’d expected—they were much worse.

Now, I realize that not every gamble in life ends up being a near-death experience like that one. Still, if you’re thinking of taking a gamble, it’s good to know your odds.

The term “odds” is another way of saying “What are my chances?” Let’s illustrate this a bit further. Turn to the person next to you right now and ask him or her, “What are the odds that I am irresistible to the opposite sex?”

After the person has sufficiently recovered, they will say a couple of numbers, such as “976 to 1.” In this example, the large difference between the numbers means the person
associates you more with Chuckles the Chimpanzee than with one of the world’s 100 most-beautiful people.

You probably know that state lotteries stay in business by causing people to think they can “beat” the odds. They want ticket buyers to believe that they’re so lucky that winning $70 million is virtually assured. In reality, the odds are somewhere around 70 million to 1 against this actually happening.

You’ve probably had chances to beat some odds. For example, you may have thought something similar to this: I’ll bet if I offer to give Luke Wylie my Choco-Shocko candy bar, he’ll be so impressed with my giving spirit that he won’t have the heart to actually deprive me of the joy he knows I will experience as I ingest the blissful treat. You finish off by thinking, What are the odds that Luke is so self-centered and thoughtless that he will actually take me up on my offer?

“This Choco-Shocko bar sure lives up to the advertisments,” Luke says, licking his lips to ensure that none of the blissful treat has gone to waste.

So it turns out that misreading the odds can be pretty easy sometimes.

I thought I could beat the odds with Loree McMillan back in sixth grade. She was the girl of my dreams, mostly because I had painted her name on my bedroom ceiling in fluorescent paint.

“Randy,” Loree would often say, “it’s still hard for me to believe that I’m the one you chose.”

I would just smile coyly as she went on.

“When I think of all the girls who would love to be seen with you,” she told me more than once, “I just feel so special to be ‘the one.’”

Yes, that’s what Loree said so many times in my dreams.

In reality, I just couldn’t seem to beat the odds.

Not so with Jesus, though. A simple example involves whether or not you can feel secure about going to heaven. In this matter there is genuine good news: He has beaten the odds for us! That’s why we can celebrate these words found in Scripture: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, italics supplied).

So it’s a sure thing­! You can know that you’re saved—if you trust Jesus as your Savior and life Guide.

So what are the odds that Jesus will take you to heaven when He comes again? If you trust in Jesus as your Savior, it’s a sure thing.

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The Wizard of Odds

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