Imagine a giant bowl filled with roughly 7.4 billion slips of paper. On each of those slips of paper is written the name of someone alive on earth today.
Your job is to close your eyes and—on your first try—pull your name out of that bowl.
Sound difficult? It should. One in 7.4 billion is pretty crummy odds—so let’s make it a little easier. Instead of grabbing just one slip of paper, you can grab 800. As long as one of those slips has your name on it, you’re good. Those are better odds, right?
Well … only technically. But they’re still not great. If you crunch the numbers, it turns out you have a slightly better chance of getting hit by lightning during your lifetime.
Okay, so let’s tilt the odds just a little more toward your favor. Instead of grabbing 800, what about scooping out 600,000 names in one go? This time, surely, you have a better chance at choosing your name. And it’s true, you do!
This time, you’re only slightly more likely to be struck by lightning just once in your lifetime.
In other words: there are a lot of people out there, and you’re just one of them.
As you’ve made your way through these Journeys, you probably noticed that many religious organizations flying the Christian banner aren’t necessarily teaching what the Bible teaches. Think about it—the plan of God as revealed by His feasts; the potential for every human being to not just be with God, but to be like God; an eternal kingdom to be established here, on the earth—how many organizations are teaching all that? How many even know all that?
Christianity might be the world’s largest religion, but in some ways it’s the world’s most confused religion, filled with beliefs that contradict the very words of the Bible—beliefs about where we go when we die, what it means to be forgiven, how God wants us to live and even our ultimate purpose in life.
In the second and third Journeys, we learned about Satan and his desire to thwart the plan of God—Satan, the “great dragon … who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), who “transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), who aims to “deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Consider what that means. Satan, a “liar and the father of it” (John 8:44), a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), has deceived the whole world. Not just a portion of it. Not just a handful of people. Not just those who don’t believe in God, not just those with a different religion—the whole world.
As hard as it might be to believe, that includes mainstream Christianity. The gospel, Paul writes, is “veiled” to a world “whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). It doesn’t matter how dedicated or sincere we are—on our own, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Between now and the return of Christ, unless God the Father specifically removes that veil (John 6:44), it’s impossible for any of us to truly understand His Word.
So … why you?
You’ve been reading these Journeys. You’ve been digging through the Bible, the Word of God—and it’s been making sense. The pieces have been coming together, and you’ve found yourself understanding more and more. For you, the veil doesn’t seem to be there.
Out of 7.4 billion slips of paper, how did your name get pulled out of that bowl? How did you beat those odds? Are you somehow more important than all those other names? More special? More indispensable to God’s plan? Or are you just some kind of fluke?
As it turns out, none of those things are true—but there is a very specific reason God has opened your eyes to the truth:
He has a job for you.
The apostle Paul described the Church as a “body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies” (Ephesians 4:16). He further explained that “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:18).
If God is calling you into His Church, it means He has a place for you there. It means He has something for you to be doing; some way you can contribute toward the growth of the body.
It means there’s somewhere you belong.
Does that make you special? Absolutely. But here’s the catch: God didn’t call you because you’re special. You’re special because He called you. It’s not like God looked down and realized that He needed you, that He just had to have you in His Church. On the contrary, the Church has gone on for centuries without you, and it could carry on for centuries more just the same.
God is calling you because He wants you. Because He knows your heart (Acts 1:24), He knows your mind (Jeremiah 17:10), He knows everything there is to know about you (Psalm 139:15-16)—and in you, He sees someone He can work with. He sees a mind He can teach, a heart He can mold and a life He can use to shine His light into the world (Matthew 5:16).
It’s not about being qualified. In fact, here’s a little secret: none of us are qualified. Not you, not the thousands who were called before you—not even those who will be called after you. God isn’t recruiting the strongest and the smartest and the best-looking of the world. He’s recruiting the unqualified instead. Why? Paul explains:
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world [what the world calls foolish, J.B. Phillips New Testament] to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
This isn’t about what you can do. This is about what God can do with you. There’s a world full of intelligent, strong, beautiful people out there who don’t know God—who either want nothing to do with Him or just don’t know Him in the first place.
In the previous Journey, we looked at the plan of God—a plan to rescue humanity from its sins, to restore peace to the world and to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10).
You get to be the proof.
When it’s all said and done, God wants to present you to the world as His child and say, “This is what I’m capable of. This is the change I can bring about. This is what I want to offer you too.” And at the same time, you’ll be able to offer hope to the terrified survivors of humanity’s darkest hour—and you’ll be able to tell them, “I understand. I’ve been where you are now. I’ve been overwhelmed and afraid and lost—but there’s a God who can give you strength and comfort and purpose, just like He did for me.”
There is a place for you in God’s Church, if you’re willing to accept it. There is a place for you among brethren who are seeking what you’re seeking and heading where you’re heading, if you’re willing to join them.
But where are those brethren? Where is the Church of God today? And, most important, how are we supposed to find it?