Blessing, Suffering and Faith
Usually what we mean is this: Good stuff is happening to me… Life feels good… Life is comfortable… It’s almost always said with a smile because typically it means we have stuff goin on that’s worth smilin’ about.
Ever notice how we equate God’s blessing with stuff? So for example, because we have stuff we conclude that we are experiencing the blessings of God. We equate having jobs and money to spend with blessings. It follows then that so long as we have jobs and homes and cars we are blessed.
… only there are lots of folks with stuff like we have who are not believers… some who are downright wicked! In fact, some of the people who have the most money on the planet are the most wicked!
Tell me, how did we get to the point where we equated our possessions with the favour of God?
A couple of weeks ago I read a report of a church in Nepal where something like 400 people were congregated when the earthquake struck. Though the number of deaths in this earthquake has topped 8000 everyone in the church survived!
Here’s the thing – shortly after reading that report I heard another report. Apparently, there were lots of other believers, in lots of other churches which were not designed to be quake-proof. Some of those buildings collapsed and there were a number of Christians who died as a result. That’s just one example – pick any type of natural disaster, any type of calamity or sickness and I’d wager that there will be numbered among those who suffer and die a healthy number of faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
How does that reconcile with your definition of blessing?
What’s my point? We are on dangerous ground when we use our circumstances as a barometer of our “righteousness before God”.
In Luke’s gospel he recounts an interesting incident in which Jesus makes a similar point (Luke 4:24-30). The reaction of the righteous was to try to silence Jesus by killing Him.
Which perhaps leads us to the strongest argument against material wealth and comfort being proof of the favour of God…