Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Two Guarantees You Have In Life Have Nothing to Do With Health and Wealth

There is as much power in the testimony of a Christian man who dies of cancer while in love with Jesus as there is in the testimony of a Christian man who is healed of cancer and is in love with Jesus. There is no more of God's grace and favor on the life of a woman who is miraculously rescued from a sinking ship than there is on the life of another woman who drowns as a result of the sinking of that same ship. I have heard stories of Christian women who have been saved "by angels" from the wiles of rapists and murderers, but I also know wives of Christian missionaries and pastors who have been brutally raped and murdered. God's love, favor and acceptance reside upon the latter group of Christian women as much as the former group.

I recently heard a minister who says that God told him to "give away everything" and then God multiplied his wealth ten fold because of his obedience. That message is preached to the shouts and applause of thousands. I would love to hear a Christian minister say God told him to "give away everything" and when he did, he became materially poor and has remained so for years, but he possesses all the riches he needs in knowing Jesus Christ. I would also love to hear as much thunderous applause from those who hear that startling kind of message. Why? Because there is more power and substance in the latter testimony than in the former.

Why is it that we Western evangelicals put so much emphasis on "victory," success," and "material blessings?" The only guarantees any of us have in this life is that God loves us and He will never leave us. You may not be healed. You may not be materially blessed. You may not have a successful marriage. You may suffer at the hands of a brutal criminal. You may find out you are dying and there is no cure. You may receive bad news today. Yet our lives in Christ are built upon a much more of a solid rock than our perfect circumstances.

Some of us ought to go live in 10/40 window among radical Islamists, massive poverty, and barren wastelands of dry, dusty earth. It might help us realize that when our Christian messages of comfort revolve around material answers to our desparate prayers, the content of our message has been materially corrupted.

One of our church members received some difficult news the other day. I sat down and wrote a letter of encouragement. I felt impressed to send a poem with the letter and penned the following to lift the spirits of our church member. Maybe today God can use the poem to encourage those of you who may not be having  things happen in your life the way you want, or worse, the answer to your prayers are exactly opposite of what you have requested.

My Lord's Guarantee

There are days you’ll hear news that burdens your soul.
Words will come that cause you to feel less than whole.
Those times are planned by Me for a special reason,
To give you My comfort in your particularly dark season.

I may not make always make things perfect and secure,
But I will show you two things that are absolutely sure.
My unconditional love for you will never change or abate.
And your life is not in the hands of earthly chance or fate.

I have taken hold of you and supported you by My hand,
To ensure the evil around you will not forever stand.
Assurance of My love is found not in what you can see.
It is established in the personal faith you have in Me.

It may be that I designed this afflication to end with death.
For this reason you must trust Me with your every breath.
You came to this world with nothing but My love for you,
And it is this unfailing love that will see you through.