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Promises

This may seem strange but today I'm tired of hearing about God's promises.

Before you think me an unbeliever or, worse yet, a blasphemer -- hear me out.

There is a growing group of people in the evangelical realm who believe that if we live for the Lord and follow His word, and have enough faith -- that we will live in great "prosperity" and that only good and great things should and will happen to us.

Although I believe with absolute certainty that God wants good for His children, I take issue with the above belief system for the following reasons ...

One - I am no theologian but I heard a jewish speaker, some years ago, explain the word "prosper". He said that in biblical days that particular word, in Latin, meant this: to have health, food and clothing. Hmm.

Perhaps we've distorted this word just a bit or -- a lot. In Old Latin "pro spere" means "according to expectation, according to one's hope or, to thrive". I'm just guessing, but in bible days (or even ... for example ... in the dirty 30's) I think thriving would've included health, enough food to eat and clothing to wear. Maybe not expecting two hundred dollar jeans -- just sayin'.

Two - I think it's easy for us, in our western civilization, to believe success as having what we need but a whole lot of what we want, as well. Lets admit it. We are a spoiled bunch, living large in North America. We may experience hardships, of course. Everyone does. But overall, many of us sit in homes much too large for us as we eat food made by someone else in two minutes or less, easily thanking God for our prosperity. Although we often work hard for the material things we've attained, we still have it easy compared to MANY.

I freely admit that I've thought myself hard done-by after a brutal shift at work as I whine about my sore feet and lack of a lunch break but I think there's a bigger picture here.

If my idea of prosperity is focused on the hoards of money I dream of having, or the bigger house I'd like to live in -- well -- something BIG is wrong with my "faith".

Three - If my "prosperity" is dependent on the amount of faith I have, well ... that screams "works" to me, and since I don't believe for a second that I can work my way into heaven, I would fail miserably in that way of thought. How much faith must I have to get everything I want or the things I feel are "good"? It baffles the mind. At least, mine.

Sure glad I believe that His faithfulness is not dependent on mine. For by grace are we saved and not by works. Period.

Four - I believe only God can see what is really and truly "good" for each of us because He sees the whole picture. I believe to my core that He has only good things planned for me -- His daughter -- but that often comes with what I perceive as pain. The GREAT news? He's there for every one of those moments too. After all, if He only wanted me to dance about on top of the mountain, why would there be hundreds of verses in God's word to encourage us during our strife? Only common sense here but -- He knows we'll have trouble! "There WILL BE trouble" is written in the bible, more than once, but so is promise after promise that He will sustain us through each one.

Do I have faith that God can heal? Absolutely! Do I have faith that God can do the impossible? Without a doubt! I've seen people miraculously healed and I've seen crazy circumstances that have turned around of which can only be explained by God's mightily moving hand. But, I've seen what may look like ill faith and dismal circumstances continue, as well. My take on that is ... I'm not God. Only He sees the whole picture and His will cannot be discounted.

So, I will continue to pray in faith, that He will grant my requests but ... when His plan goes differently than I think it should, I hope I'll accept that too, knowing that He knows what is truly best for me and never lets go.

Like someone very dear to me once said -- "I'm praying for healing and I have complete faith that He can do it. But if God decides to take me home, I'll get more healing than I'll ever need. Either way, my prayer is answered." That man was healed a few short weeks later and I get to see him again someday! A fabulous and accurate promise!

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