If you breathe, you know disappointment. Whether its finances, physical sickness, death, abuse or relationship drama—life happens. The simple truth is that we live in a fallen world full of bad things. And there really is no way to escape it. There are those “prosperity” people who say if you pray enough, serve enough, give enough, believe enough, God will bless you and bring only prosperity and good things to your doorstep. Unfortunately, that’s not Biblical. You cannot earn God’s favor. It is a free gift, and what’s more it is a Spiritual gift, not temporal.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Consequently, God does not promise rosy skies and silver linings. He doesn’t promise abundant riches and fancy cars. There is no magic spiritual formula outlined in the Bible to get you those things. We need to remember that Christ himself walked in our world. Did he live in the biggest mansion of his day, waited on by hundreds of servants? No, he lived in less than prosperous circumstances. In Luke 9:58 a potential disciple who had seen miracles and heard of Jesus’s fame came seeking some of His prosperity.
“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
In other words, I have my work, my mission and ministry, but nothing else. Jesus did not come to earth for fame and fortune, instead He came to die a brutal and undeserved death. If this is our master, our Savior, our leader, why would we think life will be any less difficult for us?
I realize that this is not an easy lesson to learn. We live in a day and age when comfort is our highest calling. We want luxury, fabulous, splendor. Society teaches the ME philosophy. I deserve a bigger house. I want more clothes than so and so. I need this or that. To embrace less sets us against current trends and culture but it moves us a little closer to the Biblical mind frame. As I said, God doesn’t promise the bigger, better, more lifestyle. Take 1 Peter 4:12-13’s warning to heart.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
But here’s my encouragement. Two promises God makes to His people. Words that cannot be moved or shaken. Words that can quicken your very spirit.
As I said, you will see hardship. You will see pain. You will suffer. But promise number one is that no matter what you are going through, you don’t have to go through it alone. God promises to “never fail you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Nothing in this world is so terrible that it can separate us from God and His love.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Promise number two is where I see prosperity entering the picture. Not only will God walk with us in this life, He is providing a better life for us in the hereafter. A life where there will be no drama, pain or hardship. Revelations 21: 3-5 puts it this way.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
Hallelujah! The Lover of my soul is coming back for me. He has prepared a place for me. And no matter what I suffer in this life, it won’t matter because I have all of eternity pain-free and glorious to spend with Him!
What encouragement do you find in these trying and difficult days?
Jesus wants obedience and faithfulness. A former pastor of mine said that “Following Jesus means one must be willing to go where He went.” And he ultimately went to the cross! Thanks for this much-needed article.