We Reformed folks have…issues…with prosperity preachers. We see them up on stage, stalking back and forth, wiping their sweat-sheened foreheads with silk handkerchiefs, saying, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper-uh,” and we think, deadly. By the way, all good Southern Pentecostal preachers end their sentences with a forceful, “Uh!” We hear them say, “Your best days are right around the corner-uh,” and we think, Not necessarily true. Our blood gets to boiling when they say, “God has good things in store for you, and he wants you to name it and claim it today-uh!”
When we hear these things, we feel compelled to remind everyone that God allows us to suffer for his glory and our good. We feel it is our doctrinal, biblical, dad-gum duty to tell the world that God does NOT necessarily want them to be rich, healthy, and always sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic mattress. “Do you think Job was sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic?” we proclaim, thrusting our finger into the air.
BUT…in our zeal to remind everyone that God allows and ordains suffering, let’s not let the prosperity preachers steal God’s incredible promises from us. See, here’s what the prosperity preachers get right: God’s promises are great and precious, and they are intended to give us DAILY hope.
Does God promise that we will be wealthy? No. But he does promise in Psalm 84:11 -
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
If something is good for me, God WILL give it to me. That promise is intended to be rocket fuel for my faith. I can stake my life on that promise. God will not withhold a single good thing from me. He knows what is good for me, and he gives me what is good for me.
Does God promise me a suffering free life? No. But he does promise to be with me, step for step, as I walk through the Valley of Death (Ps. 23:4). He promises that I will not be burned when I walk through the fire (Is. 43:2). He promises to work and weave every circumstance together for my good and his glory (Rom. 8:28).
Yeah, the health and wealth gospel is unhelpful, unbiblical, and very harmful. But they get the faith part right. They understand that when life stinks, there are really only two options: faith or fear. You can curl up in the fetal position and let your circumstances pummel you, or you can stand strong in faith. Faith is the God-honoring, biblical response, and through his promises God has given us every reason to have extreme, uplifting faith.
How will you walk through this day? Will you walk in faith or fear? Will you exercise the muscle of faith by grabbing hold of God’s promises? Yes, you may suffer. Yes, God may ordain sadness for you today. But don’t let the prosperity preachers steal all the good promises! Fight for faith!