My first semester of college was about to start. I had all of my tuition covered through grants and student loans. I had a backpack. I had a car for the drive. A full tank of gas. And a little bit of money for lunch. But I lacked one really important thing…books.
I owed $175 for books, of which I had about four dollars. It was Saturday evening. School started on Monday. What was I going to do?
Thankfully, I had been watching a good amount of health and wealth teachers that taught me to plant my seeds of faith. If I would put God to the test then he would certainly bless me. I only needed to believe.
I was very new and immature in the faith. I wasn’t even very good at the whole health, wealth, and prosperity thing. So I wondered what would happen if I took my four bucks, used some faith, and tried turning that into $175 bucks.
I got all prayed up, and nervously ventured to the local gas station. “Four lottery tickets please,” I confidently told the cashier. She pulled off the four tickets and I took them to my car, knowing in faith that I would be back in a few minutes to claim my jackpot.
First ticket. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch…nothing.
Oh, well. God is testing my faith. Ticket two. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch…still nothing.
Third ticket. This time I scratch off the winning amount side first. There are sweet prizes to be had. Surely, this is the winning ticket. My scratching routine reveals the same as the first three…a big fat nothing.
Last ticket. I nervously scratch it off, feeling a bit like a fool. I didn’t really feel like the Lord let me down. I just figured (rightly) that I was being an idiot. This one, though, was a winner. Free Ticket.
That God sure is a trickster. He really ran me through the ringer. So, I jaunted back into the store and claimed my ticket. Which I knew would give me a huge blessing once I unveiled it’s tender mercies. I couldn’t wait to get it back to the car. I scratched it off at the register. And to my shock it revealed that I had won…
NOTHING. A big fat zero. Now I had no money even to eat lunch.
The next morning I went to church, still smarting from my painful demise the night before. I sat towards the middle of our small church singing worship songs. I still had no idea how I was going to get books. Or what I would eat the next day. I figured that I would have to get by until my next paycheck when I could buy books.
I don’t remember the song that we were singing, but my worship was interrupted by a somewhat shy man that tapped me on the shoulder. With tears in his eyes he informed me that the Lord had moved in his heart to give me a check.
I thought maybe it would be $50 bucks. Maybe that’ll buy me food for the week. I looked down and noticed a two and a zero. “Twenty bucks”, I thought. Then I glanced again. It was $200. This would pay for my books and my lunch.
You see I didn’t put one dime in the offering plate that morning. I couldn’t. I had blown it on lottery tickets. I was “trusting” God but in a way strikingly similar to the Israelites of old. It was as if I went to Assyria and Egypt to play the role of God’s little helpers. I had betrayed the Lord.
But I still had a $200 check in my hands and a lesson that I will never forget. Yahweh is faithful to His people. Not because I was faithful, but just because He is. I haven’t bought a lottery ticket since that day. I don’t need it. My God supplies all my needs. The Lord will provide.