Pastor's Column: God wants you to be richer than prosperity preacher could ever dream
October 29. 2013 1:32PM
Unless you're totally out of the church scene or don't get cable TV, you have probably heard or seen somebody confidently proclaiming in God's name that God's will is for his children to be materially prosperous and physically healthy. That will is only thwarted by our lack of faith. If we would only believe (and sometimes send in a contribution), healing and wealth would be ours so we could praise God while living the good life. One pop singer put it this way: “My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that’.”
Never mind the truth that the Founder of Christianity went through a royal Roman beating, scourging, and crucifixion. Never mind that Jesus promised his followers that they would have trouble in the world. Never mind that the Apostles - the real ones, not the self-proclaimed modern ones - stayed dirt-poor, persecuted, and driven from place to place by livid mobs as they preached the Gospel. Somehow the seduction keeps being spun, and we keep falling into it, that a God of infinite love is so shallow as to promise goodies and morphine for the stress of life in exchange for "more faith."
Friends, the biblical truth is that God has far more riches to give than money or deliverance from disease, though He does choose at times to provide those. He promises to give us his own presence as we walk through painful earthly trials, and to bring us safely through to an unspeakable glory in the new heavens and the new earth. Here's what the apostle Paul had to say about the matter: "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
In other words, for the believer in Jesus Christ this life and all its struggles - lost love, disease, tragic loss, temptation, depression, alienation - seem unbearable at times, but compared to the sheer ecstatic bliss of being in the presence of God forever in the next life, they are "slight" and "momentary." Or as Paul says somewhere else, "I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).
I wonder if that's your view of God: big enough, valuable enough, satisfying enough, glorious enough, loving enough for it to be worth it to endure any hardship in this life if only you can belong to him forever. If not, let me encourage you to trust Jesus Christ for your salvation. For those who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ, there is a true and final Healing that will make all our petty dreams about money or pain relief pale beside the blazingly brilliant light of such a Savior.