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October 2017 Newsletter 

An ongoing series of informational entries

When ‘Winning the Lottery’ Isn’t What We Think It Is

by Laurie Nichols

October 1, 2017

I just celebrated another birthday. With so much brokenness in the world, I am increasingly feeling as though I won the lottery.

     My neighbor has thyroid cancer. She is 35.

     A friend’s family member was convicted of child pornography. His daughter is 9.

     A friend just got word that her brother is getting out of prison. After serving 15 years.

The list goes on. I know it’s not the lottery. The hands that hold up our world, with all its beauty and brokenness, are far beyond any earthly influx of ‘blessings.’ Scripture reminds us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights.

My (current) stability is from the hand of God. My neighbor’s (current) instability is from the same hand.

     Job knew this well. “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name forever.”

      Paul, too, knew this well. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

     And Jesus knew this all-too well. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will,  but yours be done."

When we look at our lives, do we see it from a place of wholeness, or brokenness? I am learning that both are important. Without the darkness of the rainstorm, we wouldn’t have the contrasting brightness of the sun. Without the sun, we wouldn’t know the good of the dark. Rainbows only occur when both are present.

What’s the lottery to you? Is it health and wholeness? Or is it pain and brokenness? Although nearly all of us would say the former, I think our theology is big enough to hold both to be true, for without the despair of the cross, we’d have no hope of a tomorrow.

So how can we find the ‘good’ during ‘bad’ times? And how can we discover the importance of the ‘bad’ so that we are moved closer to the ‘good’? The deep, deep love of God, I reckon, is found when we feel we have won the lottery, and when we have lost it all. For we never lose the love of God.