image of a man standing in a rain of money

Hope, the Lottery, and the Streets

“I wait patiently for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope”
(Psalm 130:5)

I may very well watch a little too much TV. That’s my confession for today.

Lately, I’ve noticed that the number of lotto ads has significantly risen. Promises of wealth and freedom packaged in warm and fuzzy advertisements about how amazing life could be if you only won the lottery are rampant. It seems as though the lottery people have figured out how to manipulate our hopes into convincing us to buy a ticket so that we too can enjoy the amazing things that only money can buy.

When I looked up the word ‘hope’ in the Bible, I discovered that it appears 129 times. That number alone implies there is something very important about the idea of hope. A definition of ‘hope’ is to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

Hope is about expectation. It’s about trust. It’s about faith.

So where do we at The Salvation Army put our hope? There are more than enough examples all around us of how placing all of one’s hope in money or the hope of money leads to destruction. The one man I personally knew that won the lottery was destroyed by it. More ‘friends’ came out of the woodwork than he knew ever even existed. In one year he was broke and died a lonely man whose only friend was the bottle. And that friend took his life.

Biblical hope implies perseverance amidst struggle. It promises that God will ultimately turn things around. God makes us assurances that those who wait patiently on Him will not be disappointed. The Bible warns against the emptiness of placing hope anywhere else but in God. We were reminded yet again just last week of what placing our hope in a gun can do.

Hope placed anywhere else but in God leads to emptiness, fear, anger, violence and death.

In our work, we see and experience struggle every day. We encounter people living lives of pain, alienation, abuse and sickness at every turn.

A lottery ticket can’t fix this.

Only the Creator and Sustainer of the universe can make everything right. So we persevere, we try, we struggle, and we place our certain hope in God who has committed to not letting us down.

And in the meantime we continue striving to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.


I lift my eyes up unto the mountains
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You,
Maker of Heaven, Creator of the earth

Oh how we need You Lord,
You are our only hope
You’re our only prayer
So we will wait for You to come and rescue us
To come and give us life


(slightly adapted from a song by Brian Doerksen)

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