The Lord’s lottery
We all would the love to win the lottery – BIG MONEY! It would change our lives drastically in every way. But what are the odds of that happening? According to Lottery USA, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million and the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. Basically, slim to none; and yet, you cannot win if you do not play. Besides, it’s just a game of pure and total luck anyway.
I am not a believer in luck, mere chance or coincidence. In my opinion, everything happens for a reason; to hinder you or to help you. You choose how it affects your life, which in turn, will affect the lives of others around you. Our actions or inactions directly or indirectly will impact someone else.
This was the first week a new Women’s Bible Study group met that I am a part of. There are 7 of us, with our leader/organizer being the only woman I knew. After our meet n greet, we were asked to select a random number between 1 and 7, and that our leader would tell us who we randomly selected. Then we were to reach out to that person, be their encourager, supporter, and prayer person for this course of Bible study.
I selected #7. Within a few minutes, my leader responded with the name of the lady I was to reach out to. As I was scrolling through my ‘person’ on FB’s page, she messaged ME, and said, “I am always in awe of how God orchestrates things, as I picked your number to pray for you!” It was an incredible moment, as I knew this was a divine arrangement. For whatever reason, the Lord had paired us together for this season.
She mentioned that as she heard a snippet of my story of adoption, that she felt drawn to it, and had wanted to talk at some point. Well, God took care of that. Now we are praying for each other, as well as for those that she loves who are struggling with relationships that stemmed from being adopted. Isn’t it awesome how the Lord works?
I look at it this way:
it is a modern day example of the Lord’s lottery!
Do you remember the story in Acts 1 where the 11 remaining disciples needed to replace Judas with someone else? There had been MANY other Jesus followers for those 3 years, so how would they choose who it was to be? Here is how Luke, Paul’s companion and the author of the gospel “Luke”, wrote it:
“‘May another take his (Judas’) place of leadership.’
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.”
Cast lots? It sounds like a form of gambling, right? Well, in those days, this was a way of solving a problem by trusting an undeniable outcome. Rolling the dice as it were. It was believed that a higher power, or in this case God Himself, would make the selection; and He did.
Coincidence, luck, or the stars aligning would be how the world views these things, but as believers, we know better. We know who holds all things, who is in control of all things, and who has the ultimate plan. His decisions are never wrong; only our way of dealing with them can be.
GotQuestions.org says it this way:
– a biblical definition of coincidence would be “what occurs together by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances.”
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
My being paired with my new friend is a blessing from God. He has a purpose for it, and for that, I am thankful. This is why being a child of God is so exciting! We can trust that He knows what He is doing, and rest in that. Our job is to go with His flow, and fulfill what He asks us to do.
Years ago, having been adopted, I was trying to find my birth family. Long story short, after learning some basic info, I began calling churches in Fargo, ND, and asked if there had ever been a pastor there by my grandfather’s name. The 3rd church we called, yes, only the 3rd, said, “YES!” Whoa! They gave me the number of a woman that was a parishioner there who was ironically still friends and in contact with my biological grandfather. This woman was 1 of only 2 people in the entire world that knew I even existed as I was given up for adoption right after my birth, and only immediate family and 2 close friends, 1 of them miraculously being her, knew about it. She had been friends with this family for over 40 years. Coincidence? OH NO!!! How awesome is that? God had kept her in place, in contact, and around for me to find my birth family.
Our being surprised by a chance(?) meeting, or some similarity that reminds us of something or someone, or a freak(?) occurrence that never in a million years would take place again, points to a sovereign Lord who is wise, patient, and purposeful.
The Lord’s lottery is freely given to those that love and serve Him.
“Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.
Food for thought: In the Lord choosing Matthias over Joseph, aka Barabbas/Justus, did that mean that the Lord didn’t have a purpose or plan for Joseph? By no means! It meant that he was not the one chosen for this particular mission for whatever reason, but that the Lord had other work for him in another capacity. He had been a faithful Jesus follower since the beginning. Perhaps he felt overlooked, but I bet God had other plans for him. In heaven, we can all ask Joseph!
Fun facts: 1. A woman discovered that the hair stylist whom she got along so well with for the last 6 years was in fact her biological brother. 2. In 2011, two men got lost at sea and were adrift of 33 days before washing up on an atoll, where they meet a descendant of a long-lost uncle. The uncle had also gone adrift 50 years earlier.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Rainbows end at Lucky Farm