Reminders of how things could have turned out

Today, I just want to thank God for how my life has turned out.  Sometimes I get an email or call from someone I grew up with or I see things on Facebook and am reminded that things could have turned out much differently for me than they have.  I could easily be the person in line at the church food pantry or at the homeless shelter in Cumberland.  And it’s not that I’m not any more deserving than anyone else.  I know I’m not.  But when I gave my life to Jesus in 2000, for some reason He decided to bless me.  I have as close as one can get to the perfect wife (and beautiful), great sons, great churches to pastor (past and present), and great peace.

I know that becoming a Christian and following Jesus does not always bring happiness and prosperity.  The preachers who portray God as one who always gives His followers a financially blessed and trouble-free life are preaching a false Gospel.  They are often just trying to get people to believe if they give the preacher money, God will bless them and  give them money.  I know God will not bless my giving if I am giving just to get Him to give me more than I gave Him.  He’s not stupid.  But today is not about money.

I would like to think that I would be just as happy I gave my life to Jesus if I was running for my life on a hill in Iraq, if I was worried about my babies drinking dirty water in the mountains of Haiti, or if I was living at the homeless shelter.  I don’t know and I honestly don’t want to find out, but I would hope I would have no regrets in this life about choosing and trusting Jesus.

Some people think the biggest mystery is why some people become Christians and some don’t.  I believe we’re all so lost that it’s a miracle anyone turns to Jesus.  The biggest mystery to me is why God allows some of Jesus followers to live a life of relative ease and others to live such difficult lives.

I know what I deserve and I know what I’ve been given.  And today, I offer thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow.  Things could have turned out so much differently.

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