This morning, on FOX and Friends, an atheist was being interviewed. He was part of a movement encouraging people to skip Christmas. Well, during the conversation he said something chilling, “The best way to make someone an atheist is to have them read the Bible.”
I thought to myself, “Is he talking about the same book I read, study, enjoy, and preach? Has he not read God’s Word that offers truth, hope, and wisdom? Why is he not intoxicated with the story of God’s grace to undeserving men and women? Why is he not infatuated with God’s divine revelation that has ministered for thousands of years, transformed millions of lives, and has resulted in billions of blessings?
I then remembered the quote, the same sun that melts wax hardens clay. When men go to church, read the scriptures, and practice religion, this results in either tender healing or further callousness. The same Jesus who was precious to some was odious to others. Yes, it is true, the Word of God softens some while it hardens others.
Then I gave thanks!
The modern hymn writer, Aaron Shust, sings, “I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed what God has planned. I only know at my right hand, is one who is my Savior.”
The ancient hymn writer, Isaac Watts, penned the words, “Why was I made to hear thy voice and enter while there’s room, when thousands make a wretched choice and rather starve than come?”
The most ancient one, Jesus Christ, preached, “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27)
I don’t know why God safeguarded two-thirds of the angels.
When I read the book of Genesis, there does not appear to be anything especially pious about Lot, his wife, and his daughters. This could also be said of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah.
I do not know why Ishmael could not have been selected as the special son?
God’s reason for his decision to grant special grace to Jacob and not Esau is not presented. Yet he did so when they were yet in the womb, before they were born, before they had sinned, before they had willed or chosen or believed anything.
In looking at biblical history, some have said in poetic fashion, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.” What was it about that idolatrous nation that made it distinct from other idolatrous nations?
Why exactly did God bypass many sick lepers in Israel in order to divinely touch Naaman from Syria?
Why were some Gentiles in Joppa granted the gift of repentance? (Acts 11:18)
And why was I born in “One nation under God?” Why was I granted believing parents who fed my mind and soul with Gospel truth at a Bible-preaching church and in Bible-teaching schools? And why did God continue to address my unrepentant soul — time after time — when many others had not even heard his Gospel offer? And why was I granted the twin gifts of faith and repentance when others were left to the depravity of their free will? Why have I learned to cherish the scriptures so hated by atheists and others? Why did I win the divine lottery even though I was not interested in playing?
I do not know.
I am not skilled to understand.
I am graced.
I am humbled. (I am learning not to be an arrogant Calvinist.)
I am thankful.
I am happy.
And I am eager to invite my family, friends, and neighbors to join the movement, the mission, the family, and the party. Oh, I do not know in whom the Spirit is sovereignly working. However, this I do know — those who find themselves longing to submit and dine with Jesus, they are those being sovereignly worked upon by my Savior and Lord. There are many who are going to win the divine lottery, even though they aren’t interested in playing.
2 thoughts on “I Won The Lottery And Didn’t Even Play”
Joe, Thank you for your posts. You are my “on-line” pastor! I am praying for you, for you are actual pastor and friend to my son and family. Praying that through the power of the Spirit they will be confronted with what the Lord knows are their deepest heart needs. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas, Rosemary Holt Hebrews 12:14-15
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Those of us who learn from you know why you were granted the gifts of faith and repentance!