I see the preachers.
A hundred-thousand dollar purchases, parading fancy suits on t.v. Claiming Jesus equals earthly pleasure, material reward, physical prosperity.
They say if bad things happen, it is because of lack of faith, it is because sin is hidden and it is likely that you haven’t repented yet.
And while many might agree that “bad things happen”…
Weesled somewhere inside the fabric of our thinking can be the root of a lie that permeates,
“The rich are blessed, the poor are cursed”,
“The prosperous know Jesus, while the weak are unworthy of His reward and full-redemption.”
My little girl looks up at me. Coming recently from the audiologists, getting a fitting to her hearing aid because she can’t hear in one ear. She was born partially deaf.
Brought into our family through adoption, she has a story that might make even brave men bend low and weep a little. Her beginning, anything but “fair” or “good”.
But then, she whispers one morning over breakfast, unexpected, “Will my hearing ever get better”?
I am taken back, breathe slow, reminding her tenderly, “God can and still does miracles, like He did in the Bible”.
At the same time, I tell her, “But, if God doesn’t ever heal you, He has a plan in all this. He will use it for good. God doesn’t let bad things happen without a specific purpose.”
I find the book of Job. The one most of us skip past because our other-religion god detests a God who pays double for our suffering.
Satan scans the whole earth over, looking to find someone to destroy…
And it is unbelievable learning, God actually chose Job for persecution. He chose Him as a vessel to be tested, working out Godly character through the loss of everything.
Yet, Job was blameless, upright, feared God, and shunned evil.
The battle around seems to be increasing. Do you sense it too?
Darkness working overtime, trying to drive a force between God and his people.
Still, how much easier to point fingers, blame the one suffering, instead of considering a just God could actually allow hard things to happen to good people.
And why is it easy in our culture to forget what scripture teaches, the sun sets on the just and un-just. The effects of sin can worm their way into any and all circumstances.
Evil is no respecter of persons.
And yet, with this false, “we deserve mentality”, can’t we find it easier to ignore…
- Christian persecution?
- Syrians wandering without home or possessions?
- Children dying?
- The faithful crying from painful diagnosis?
- Those suffering horrific things they never expected in a thousand years?
I mean, how do we find our way to a good God among pain we didn’t deserve, explain away the lie that says, “good people will never have to go through hard things”?
And how can those we love most, turn on us, intentionally bringing upon us painful thorns?
How can those we serve most turn to now find joy in bringing us real scars?
It is then I hear Him whisper. “Did not I suffer persecution? Was I not scorn and ridiculed by those who said they would do anything for me?”
And I wonder about the lepers, the prostitutes, the cripples. Where were these ones Jesus healed when He hung upon a cross?
Where were those He touched, those that followed Him those three years when the Roman’s shed His blood and pierced Him to a tree?
And I am reminded by Job and Jesus that despite the gods of other-religions, Jehovah cares more about our character than our title or prosperity.
Do we know what Job did after He lost all He had and before He was rewarded double and given back everything that was stolen?
And the challenge is, can we too worship when we have lost what we think we deserve most?
I tuck tight to my adopted daughter. Look at the Bible and realize our suffering is short, this life is but a season.
And could it be that our death is the very key to revival and true resurrection.
Instead of despising those prosperity preachers, I feel sad and now want to weep knowing, they are far from the Kingdom of God…
For in the end, they know nothing about the true gospel. A gospel that says we must die (to self) or else we won’t live.