What if the things that we seek aren’t what we really want? What if our definitions are skewed, resulting in a compass that directs us towards goals that hold no value or satisfaction once we attain said goals? What if the stuff we really want isn’t stuff at all and what if our deepest and Truest desires are much better than the substitutes we strive for?
Much is made, both positive and negative, of what is often called “the prosperity gospel.” Those that are proponents of the prosperity gospel, in it’s most popular form(s) suggest that faith, giving and declaring God’s promises results in riches, health and happiness. The critics of this line of reasoning point to suffering and other Biblical calls to humility and poverty as evidence that God is not a deliverer of wealth.
What if there is Truth in each of the two sides? I’m not going to go passage by passage to support each position, but I am working from the premise that each side believes they have Scriptural evidence of their belief. They use Scripture, not hocus-pocus, to develop and support their framework.
So if there is Scriptural support each way, then what? Maybe it’s both-and, not either-or.
God, as Father, wants only good things for His kids. He is the owner of cattle on a thousand hills and we are co-heirs to all of it. He meant it when He challenged us to test Him on the rewards of tithing. He is love and is the Giver of all good things.
God, as Father, also chastens His children to grow them up. For what father would fail to allow their children to experience adversity when that father knows that the adversity shapes their character? That developed and mature character enables that child to receive the inheritance set aside for them without squandering it or destroying themselves with it.
The thing about it is, once our character is developed it is a maturing of our relationship with the Father. It is a deeper sense of His provision, protection and promotion as well as a greater appetite for only the Eternal things He desires for us. It is a character that no longer values the temporal rewards of wealth as that character turns the eyes of the holder to a distant shore where few seek to travel.
Prosperity? Sure. The only catch is that he very definition of what that looks like, feels like and provides is completely changed by the time that our character is positioned to receive it. That change comes through adversity.