|From The Bible In Pictures For Little Eyes|
I started this post a couple of years ago and for one reason or another have just never posted it. In the past couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to have conversation with several people about this topic. I have a fairly serious chronic illness. Sometimes I am well, other times I am sick and not able to get around. The point that I try to make is this: while God did not Himself create illness, He is able to use it for His glory and my benefit. This is where I lose most folks; the physical struggles that I deal with are His best for me. While there are days when this is beyond difficult to just plain hard, the things that God has accomplished in me as a result of my trials and struggles are things that I would not give up or trade for anything.
Mr. Marvelous and I have been reading some of Randy Alcorn's books lately; I've been plowing through his book on heaven, and Mark is reading his book on finances (and reading some of it aloud to me while I stitch). I have also been reading his novel, Dominion. The following is a quote from the novel and it is a belief to which I whole-heartedly ascribe! The scene is a sermon being preached by a Baptist pastor in a low-income part of town one Sunday morning. I am not including the congregational responses.
I say when we tell God He has to take away this illness or handicap or financial hardship, we may be telling Him to remove the very things He put into our lives to conform us to the image of Christ! I think (we're) trying to make God into a no-lose lottery in the sky. Like He's just a cosmic slot machine where you put in a coin and pull the lever, then stick out your hat and catch the winnings. It's like God's reason for existing is to give us what we want. Well, I got news for you, folks. My God ain't Santa Claus. He's the Lord God Almighty ~ and don't you forget for a moment He's on the throne and you're not!
Now there's some people that call God 'Master', but they act like they're the masters. And God's the genie. Instead of rubbing a lamp, they just quote a verse or say 'Praise the Lord' three times, and presto, changeo, alakazam, the smoky God with the funny hat and big biceps does whatever they tell Him to do! Like they're the ones that have dominion, not Him. And that explains why people don't care about good theology; they don't care about God. I mean, who cares what the genie's like? Genies serve one purpose ~ to grant us our wishes, give us what we want. Then we can just say, 'You can go now, God. I'll call you back when I think of something else I want'.
I've thought a lot about this prosperity theology. I've thought about it as I've read my Bible. I thought about it two years ago when I walked through the streets of Cairo's Garbage Village, shaking the grimy hands of the Christians who live there in poverty. I thought about it when I worshiped alongside faithful believers on a rough backless bench on a dirt church floor in Kenya. I thought about it some more when I met a pastor from China who lost everything because he stood up for Jesus. Well, this health and wealth gospel may look like it works sometimes in California, but it doesn't work in China or Haiti or Rwanda, now does it? And hear me now, folks. Any gospel that is more true in California than in China is not the true Gospel!