But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
2 Peter 3:13
There was a moment in my life journey when I actually hit a jackpot. I won the Michigan lottery. It was random. I paid ten bucks to play. I paid very little attention to the numbers I picked. I never played this before so I was pretty unenthusiastic about it. I very nearly blew it off completely and then relented under pressure at the last minute. I haphazardly picked eight numbers. The correct eight numbers, $10,000 worth of eight numbers!
I didn’t pray over the card. I didn’t fast for 3 days. In fact I am not sure it was a very “Christian” thing to do at all, to play the lottery. I didn’t pick corresponding numbers, birth dates, anniversary dates and I don’t believe nor claim to have any “lucky” numbers. I just picked them. I just said yes.
“You just won $10,000!” he yelled as he thrust his hands up into the air like Rocky Balboa. A loud ‘yeah” rose from perfect strangers in this place as I covered my mouth and stared in awe. The feelings inside of me for the next few hours are what I remember the most. I experienced amazed, giggly unbelief! It was like being soaked by sunshine, stopped in your tracks, bonked on the head without any pain, seeing stars but in a good way! The smile on my face eventually made my jaw hurt, but it just kept popping up anyway.
People who didn’t know me were affected by my joy. My relatives all made comments concerning money for the next several hours. Even the guy playing the guitar at the place where I won, all of a sudden realized that the words ‘lottery’ and ‘ten thousand’ were fit-able into nearly every song he sang! I remember the last thing I said out loud that night was “I want to do it again!” Not really because of the money-but because of how fun and alive I felt. And the next morning, although I was still happy, the moment had faded just a tad….already.
I think heaven is going to be like that ‘winning’ moment times a gazillion! I think the amazed giggly WOW! will not be unbelief in my Jesus or the Father, but in the experience itself because it will far exceed anything I can think or imagine! It will happen in the place of all places, dispersing the joy of all joys, causing the smiles of all smiles, making my jackpot seem like sadness in comparison. Not random, not unplanned, not haphazardly put together, but a plan in all knowledge, in full light, without deception, in perfect love with all peace, singing all praise and with full understanding. Writing about the possibilities almost gets me giddy!
But what if…what if? What if I never said yes, albeit a reluctant yes, to participating in the lottery that night? What if I drummed up some deep philosophical argument about the randomness of the universe and the dictates of the numerical order. (Is there such a thing?)
What if my choice had been different? Nothing. It would have meant nothing. Right? No giggling, no laughter, no corny songs from the guy with the guitar. No anticipation of picking up a check, no joy in giving some away, no happy in the dreaming about it and spending it sixteen times over in my head. Nothing. Nope. Nada. But I would not even know what I missed! Strange right?
We go along in this life thinking it’s just life. There’s not much more. When it’s over, it’s over. But what if we are wrong? What if we are one choice way from THE most amazing YES! mankind could EVER receive? What if in today; this life, but in tomorrow; your dreams…all rolled into one indescribable perfect place your heart recognizes as ‘home’? What IF everything you’ve ever done, ever, was totally forgiven, and the responsibility of the consequences of your choices fell fully onto someone else leaving you with NO thing to repay, restore or return?
Understand this: this is what Jesus came to this earth to do. He came to take all of IT…for you, instead of you and on your behalf. He brings with him the ultimate joy, the reason for the smile above all smiles, excitement your earthly mind cannot even comprehend as he brings you salvation. Period.
Listen…when my heart got it…that I had won a lottery…it was crazy, amazing. It was also temporary. It lasted a moment in my lifetime, but then, along with the dollars, it was gone and became another memory.
But my knowledge that even though I’ve made some horrific choices in my life, I am destined to be with God and Jesus in another dimension after this one, brings a very solid, quiet, peace-filled joy to my heart. It comforts in my sadness. It encourages on my down days. My mind cannot fully grasp it. I ‘spend it’ over and over in my head and each time it’s more incredible than the last. I can NEVER cash in this check! I can NEVER spend it all away! It will never fade into a memory long past. And it cost me nothing!
There was a moment in my life when I actual hit a jackpot. But there was a moment in my life when I actually realized I was died for, cried for, bled for and sacrificed for. I was loved so far beyond my own imaginations of what love is that sometimes I cannot fathom a tiny speck of what my future looks like. My jackpot was unexpected and fun and temporary. My salvation? Absolute, complete, life altering, forever changing, never running out perfect, giggly joy…overwhelming and absolutely free. Forever. For me. For you. Just say yes.