How is life like Texas Hold ‘Em? First, we’re dealt two cards. In life, before we can play, we get our genetic heritage (nature), and our environmental surroundings and formative experiences (nurture). In the game, the dealer now flips up a total of five cards face up, and we decide how to play our two cards, combining them with the up cards to make the best five card hand we can. In life, we’re dealt good and bad cards and we make the best of what we’re dealt. So where does God come in?
Well,God is good, and He promises to always give us an extra card here and there to improve the hand we were dealt. In Romans 8:38, He even promises that no matter what hand we’re dealt, He will help us make something good for us: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Jesus showed us how to pray, asking for daily bread, the one card that turns up for that one day, that one moment.
Exodus chapter 8 is a wonderful source of wisdom, because it comes directly from the mouth of God. Remember how manna was only good for one day? God wanted us to learn that we don’t just live by what we produce with our own toil, but “by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
At the risk of beating this metaphor into the ground, as in poker, the two cards you’re dealt don’t determine the outcome. Sure I’d rather start with “pocket rockets” – a pair of Aces – but anything can happen if you know how to play them. Of course I’d rather start life with a 150 IQ and a gorgeous body, and be born to parents that have enough to get me a good start. But many have started with very little, and managed to come out “winners”.