DAY 104: I have a little ritual that I go through during the months of January and February each year.  Every morning when I sit at my computer to check my email, I go to the website of my favorite home and garden channel and fill out the entry form for a chance to win a fabulous Dream Home.  They have been giving away incredible custom homes for about 10 years that are always located in spectacular resort towns.  They come completely furnished, with a brand new car in the garage and $500,000 in cash. 

For months leading up to the drawing to give the home away to a lucky viewer, it is featured on the website.  I love taking the virtual tour through the house to see all the incredible finishes and perks built into every room.  I'll admit, I can see myself living in each and every one that has been built. I dream about special family time there, inviting friends, and making it a retreat for missionaries on furloughs. Oh, I have plans. So every year, I attempt to win by filling out the on line entry form during the two months the contest is open.  There is no purchase required, just blind faith that it might be me on drawing day.

So far the give-away days have come and gone without the "surprise team" showing up at my door with flowers and TV cameras to announce that I am the dream home winner.  It's funny, even though the chances are one in a billion that I would get the keys to a brand new vacation home, I always have that little bit of hope that it could be my name drawn for the prize.  After all, someone has to win, right?  Someone always does - just not me. I admit, there is always a little disappointment.  I had such great plans.   

So I watch with the other billion losers as one person is overwhelmed by the surprise.  Whether they nearly faint from the shock of it, fall down in hysterical laughter or collapse in tears, I find it impossible to begrudge them their blessing. As much as I would have enjoyed it myself, at the end of the day, it wasn't my name announced so I only had two choices: I could rejoice for the winner or lament for myself. Rejoicing is so much healthier. 

As I read about a big give-away in the Bible today, I wondered how those who didn't get the prize felt.  Israel was finally occupying the land God had promised so long ago to Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  Finally, all the land was divided among the tribes. There were no losers because all of the land God had provided was good.  Some tribes were near the sea. Others were in the valley.  Some were by the river.  The tribes would settle in the land they were assigned.  There was only one parcel left to give out.

"... Israel gave a special piece of land to Joshua as his inheritance.  For the Lord had said he could have any town he wanted.  He chose Timnath-Serah in the hill country of Ephraim."Joshua 19:49-50

Israel had looked forward to moving into this promised land for hundreds of years. I imagine that as the people traveled through, scouting and conquering this amazing land many of them fell in love with specific places.  Last year I traveled through the northeast for the first time on a trip with my mom.  It was fall and the leaves were bright red.  We traveled along the coast near Boston and through the quaint towns of Maine. I know exactly which house I would choose to live in if I were given the choice - the one by the lighthouse. I'm sure many traveling the new land of Canaan set their sights on some choice property, too.  But only Joshua was given a personal choice of any town he wanted.  Everyone else was assigned land. 

I have to say, when I read this I thought about the TV dream home.  In essence, it's like Joshua won; but not by some random chance.  God chose a special blessing to be given to this faithful man.  It was God's choice. No one had a right to be jealous or angry. Nothing was taken from them.  It was God's land to give - just as God had given a different inheritance to all the tribes. The only reasonable reaction to God giving what is God's to give is to agree with God's right to give it - and then celebrate His choices.  Israel did, and it is a great reminder to me that God's sovereignty is far reaching.

The next time I feel a twinge of jealousy because something good happens to someone else, I can remind myself that the choices are God's to make whether the blessing is a house, a job, an award, a child, a talent, a ministry or a relationship.  It's all His to give to whomever He chooses. As long as my eye is on some "prize" I will miss the real blessings. Only when my eyes are on God Himself can I keep from being disappointed.  It's just NOT possible to be a looser when I put myself in God's hands because His gifts are so much better than a dream!

Day 104 of 365
Joshua 19
Joshua 20
Luke 19:28-48
Psalm 88:1-18
Proverbs 13:12-14


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