the lottery

image courtesy of photo

I don’t play the lottery. Oh I’ve bought tickets a few times, but that was a long time ago. I didn’t have a clue what a lottery was until I watched a film in grade school titled, you guessed it, The Lottery. Funny how a memory can be so vivid after so many decades.

The star of the short film was a lady with dark hair to match her eyes and wore it pulled back behind her ears. She had a typical house dress on with a sweater over it to keep her comfortable in the dreary morning air.

She was excited, animated by the events of the day in her not so small town. In the fictional film that was designed to make kids think, not an easy task for some of us, the town had The Lottery to help control the population. Winning in that scenario meant being the only loser.

The star was thrilled to take part in the lottery, and for good reason: the mathematical chances of her lottery ticket being picked were slim at best… not so different than the real life lottery.

I’ve wondered if the author of the best-selling books and now movie, Hunger Games, ever saw the short film that I did as a kid… They’re eerily similar.

When the announcer called her name everything changed. All the friendly banter with friends were gone with the wind. She screamed in horror for mercy as the town folks picked up rocks and began to stone her to death.

I think about things like the odds of me dying based on my actions. In life, what we do is a lot like playing the lottery with our lives. For many of us that figured we cheated death during the “all in” games we dared to play when younger, we have learned we didn’t cheat anybody or anything – We got a pass.

If we live long enough we figure out that with those passes or divine interventions, comes wisdom.

When I air up the tires on my bike, fill up the water bottles, and strap on that helmet, I know the forthcoming bicycle ride increases my chances of meeting St. Peter at the golden gate sooner than later.

There’s a reason the life insurance salesman asks questions like, “Do you skydive?” They might grasp the sovereignty of God… but they could also know like we should, that free will while mind boggling, can be a double-edged sword.

We’re not called to live this life in fear, but I don’t think we’re called to necessarily play Russian roulette either.

It’s a fine line between trusting in God and testing Him. That line could very well be in different places for all of us and maybe even drift a bit over the course of our lives.

I once treated the gift of this life like a lottery ticket from the old film I watched in grade school, but seeking and time have a way of opening our eyes to see beyond the surface.

I can tell you this: Along with all the prep work to get my bike ready to ride and more importantly the safety equipment I use, is the prayer I say before I go.