It was in 1955 that Mrs. Schuller and I came with a dream; an impossible dream. Fantastic dream to give our whole life to building one church, only one, for the glory of God and for the greater glory of His kingdom all over the world.
Well, this is what I’ve learned. I went to bed the other night and I prayed through all of the possibilities of what would be the opening message of the year. And I got ideas in my mind and I said “Arvella, don’t bother me, just give me paper and a pen. I’ve got to go to write.” So I went to the library with this yellow pad and with a ballpoint pen and this is what came out. And I feel it; it's from God so I probably could read most of it. Get real. Listen to me. I’ve been there and let me tell you, life is one long lucky road. Lucky? Yes. I’m talking to the secularist. The Christian would use the word blessing. Life is one long lucky road, up or down, good luck or bad luck, but at the end, to the believer it’s all good luck. Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good to those that love God and keep His commandments.” And to you who say you’ve never experienced God, He’s up there someplace and yes you believe in Him but you really haven’t had Him in your life. You are so wrong! Everybody listening to me has experienced what you can all call good luck or bad luck. That’s not a fantasy; that’s a reality.
And after 50 years here experiencing it, well I preached possibility thinking all the time. I still do. You have to make it happen. You have to be responsive and responsible. You have to have the courage and the faith and the determination. I’ve lived it. It works. I’ll preach it the rest of my life. But let me put a little frosting on the cake. In the final analysis it comes down to luck. After all you’ve done, all you’ve paid for, you land up with good things like this. You have to admit life’s one long lucky road.
And if you’ve never experienced something lucky in your life, then you can be an atheist. People say he’s a lucky guy, you bet. Secretly I would call it I’m blessed, but let’s just look at the reality of luck in life. This is my testimony. God is real. Check my life, if you want to. It’s been written, “My Journey.” Let me show you how God blesses you on this lucky road. How does good luck happen? Number one: God blesses us without consulting us first. We get an idea. We didn’t ask for it. We get a dream. We didn’t plan it. Boy what a lucky idea I had. God blesses us without consulting us first.
Two: God blesses us without our approval ‘cause He knows we wouldn’t agree. We would see the price or the peril or the pain or the problems and we would show Him all of these difficulties and obstacles. So He doesn’t seek our approval. He doesn’t want an argument. He gives us the dream.
Number three: God blesses us where we need it most and we could never guess where that is but He knows. That’s why He doesn’t consult us. That’s why we don’t see or sense. We could talk to God now and if God would say to us, He would say to you, I’m going to bless you. I’m going to bless you with a blessing you ask for with the blessing you want Me to give. But listen; make a list of all the blessings you’d like.
I often, you know, traveling the world give people blessings and I often say may God bless you where you need the blessing most and He knows that better than you. Make a list of all your blessings. One, two, three, four down to ten. I know what some of you would put number one. That chemotherapy will do the trick. I know what others would put. That you’d run into more and better money, get your bills paid. I know what others would list as the number one blessing, that you’ll rise to the top in your job. List all these blessings. Someone else that she’ll fall in love with me because I need her and love her. List all the blessings you could possibly hope for. Make a list, show it to God then say God bless me where I need it most. And guess what, nine times out of ten it’s not number one, it’s not number two, it’s not number three or number four, it may be something you never even thought of. It might be that you need more than anything else is more faith. Oh. More trust. Oh.
I had lunch with Don Ayers. And he reminded me that on a Saturday night he and his wife, there was a knock at the door, they opened the door, two men with a gun, they made them lie down in the floor and he said my face was in the dust. They stole, they didn’t shoot us, but I could still remember the steel touching the skin, the gun on my temple. We didn’t want to go to church the next morning. But we went anyway. And Dr. Schuller, you threw out a line. You tested it with your wife, she said don’t use it, it’s silly. But you used it anyway. The line was “when your face is in the dust, all you can do is trust.”
God blesses us where we need it most. He knows you a lot better than you do. He knows the future. You don’t. So you’ll be blessed with surprises of joy and you’ll say, oh, a great thing happened you can’t believe.
Number four: Life’s one long lucky road. Our values too easily are not priced right in our mind. We put too high a value and pay too big a price for lots of things. God knows it isn’t worth it. That’s why you don’t get it. God loves you. So we don’t get the job we want or experience the relationship we hoped for. Oh, or get the invitation to the event and others got a ticket. Why didn’t we? We don’t see that missing it is a blessing. What we call bad luck is good luck.
Number five: God blesses us where we need it most when the timing is right. And we all need humility but we don’t know it. He does. We need humility because without it, the blessings of good luck would spoil us. And I’ll tell you, every time before I got a big blessing, I went through pain. God was going to make sure that I could be trusted with the big blessing He was going to give. I would have to be humble. You know what happens to us may hurt us or disappoint us, but in time we will see the rejection was important conditioning. Soil preparation to the farmer. Soul preparation so that we can be trusted with the big thing He has for us.
Number six: God blesses us with good luck coming out of what we thought was bad luck. And at my stage of life, I can see it; I can tell you that every time I’ve had bad luck, it always turns out to be good luck. May take 30 years, or 40 or 50. My life’s been one long lucky road up, down, up and down. But good luck, good luck always comes through pain or tears or hurt or hardship or trial or testing. For all of life, all of life is birth and death. It’s living and dying. It’s beginning and ending. And every end is a new beginning so every death is the first phase of a great new birth that’s going to happen. The pain of childbirth. Wow. There’s no newness of life without change. And change is almost always painful. But God knows that pain is always the prelude to new birth. So pain is proof that I’m alive. It’s a sign of progress. All of life is good luck.
Romans 8:28. This is an ah-ha moment. Now we can see very clearly how God blesses us without consulting us first. God blesses us without getting our approval. God blesses us before we pray for it. And God blesses us even though He knows we probably won’t like it at the beginning. And God blesses us without checking our schedule and our calendar. God blesses us always. Whatever we call it good luck or bad luck, if your face is in the dust, all you can do is trust. Trust tomorrow. Yes, and so we trust God anyway! We live hopefully through life’s stages of trial, trouble, yes terror knowing that God will have the first word and the last word and both will be good.
And while we’re going through the storm, listen to me. I’ve 50 years behind me here. When we go through the storm, we cry out where is God? And I’ve walked with many of you as a pastor through the storms. As tragic as anything you can imagine. Cry out, where is God? I’ll tell you where He is. He’s back stage designing a rainbow. Look! Somebody says. There’s a storm. Look at the rainbow! And listen! Do you hear the birds sing? Breathe deep and smell the fragrance of fresh raindrops on the green leaf.
Friends, family that’s my life. That’s my testimony. Life’s been one long lucky road. That’s why I could never, ever, ever be an atheist. Luck, good luck, bad luck. Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good.” That’s why I urge you to take the Bible seriously and know that Jesus knew what He was talking about. And that’s why I say to you don’t throw away tomorrow.
So we can be thankful every day, we can be hopeful when we’re hurting, we can be optimistic when tomorrow looks bleak and black. Good luck or bad luck, God loves you, He really does. And you’re experiencing Him through moods, through memories, yes, God is loving us in our laughter, in our tears, in our labor and in our leisure, in our rising up, in our lying down, in our birthing and in our dying until we come to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset and no sunrise, only eternal life and light and beautiful music forevermore. Amen.
God, You’re becoming more real to us. Thank You. Your love is coming through. We’re really feeling it. Thank You. Hallelujah, Amen