This week a man emailed me to ask me a tough question. “I was listening to your message.My wife and I are Christians for many years. We both believe that God will and can prosper us. But we have no more money. I have no job. We have debt. My wife has diabetes. We believe in healing, but we have not seen it. We believe in prosperity, but we are broke. We believe in it, but it is not working.”
This is how I answered him…
God's will is for us to prosper and be in good health (3 John 1:2). But in this world, his will is often thwarted by the enemy, whom we know as Satan.
There are many reasons why this is possible, and it would take a long time for us to go through all of them. And, in fact, I don't know all of them.
What I do know is Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John [16:33])
Notice that he did not say that because he had overcome the world we would have no trouble. He said that we WOULD have trouble… and also that he has overcome the world, and we should take heart (not be afraid).
This tells me that Jesus supplies us with the ability to be unafraid even in the face of trouble in this world.
What Are We To Do?
So, what do we do about the fact that God wants us to prosper, and we are not prospering? That he wants us to be healed, and yet we are sick?
I think we can take a clue from the subject of sin. God says we are “dead to sin” (Romans [6:11]). Yet, as far as I know, every Christian still sins, at least occasionally. But it's God's will that we don't, right?
This doesn't mean that we can conclude that sin is God's will, after all. It doesn't mean that we stop trying to not sin. It simply means that we are in the process of getting closer to a standard Jesus set for us.
He showed us that there is a better way to live, and that he has the power to help us.
Frankly, I don't know why it has to be so hard at times. Why doesn't every person I pray for get well? Why doesn't every person who comes to the Lord remain faithful to him? Why do we have these troubles at all?
This is a mystery. But this much we do know: people do get healed, people do prosper, people do remain faithful to the Lord.
I have physical complaints of my own. Yet I pray for other people, and they are healed. I have a choice to make in that moment: I get to choose whether I will criticize God, and withhold my faith until he tells me “why”… or I can choose to simply confess that God is good at all times, and that there are things I don't understand.
When I choose to praise God even in hard times, then I also choose to pay attention to what he IS doing. And to pay no attention at all to what he is NOT doing.