I really hope this column will bless you. You can read the most recent column below and previous columns at the archive.
God’s plan for life does not necessarily include being rich.
I know there are members of a growing theological movement who would disagree. They would cite the way God answered the prayer of Jabez and made him wealthy (1 Chron 4:10). They would look to instances of poverty and suffering in Scripture and universally call them punishment from God for a lack of faith. Even Job, they say, didn’t have enough faith.
This line of thinking is often referred to as the health and wealth gospel, or prosperity theology. Wherever this thinking comes from, it’s not from the Bible.
Scripture, in fact, reveals something quite the opposite.
I am convinced that you and I have a friend in common. That friend who always seems to make really bad decisions, who’s always reading and talking about success, who’s always talking about the next big accomplishment — except the last big accomplishment didn’t pan out. It wasn’t that friend’s fault, though.
Then there’s that other friend I’m sure you and I both have. This person has seen some hard times. Times that the other friend can’t even imagine. Somehow, that second friend has managed to come out on top, weathered the storm and still managed to be successful.
I’m sure you’ve found out by now that life is not a walk in the park.
In fact, life hurts. We get injured, sometimes seriously. We get sick. Friends and loved ones betray us. Sometimes everything just falls apart.
When things do come undone, and we are hurting in ways we didn’t know we could, it’s easy to think of God as an incompetent nincompoop who can’t help us, at best, or a sadistic despot, at worst.