Ever heard of health and wealth gospels? You know what I mean, the minister/ies that teach that if you love Jesus and have faith you will be healthy and rich-- blatantly disregarding the mountain of struggles that early Christians faced. Well, I'm hear to tout something new. I'd like to advertise the death and poverty gospel. Wanna join?
One of my favorite worship songs is You Never Let Go by Matt Redman. The song quotes mostly Psalms. It is beautiful. It reminds me that my faith or Christianity is not about my happiness, my health, or my wealth.
Christianity is so much deeper than our earthly comfort. I know plenty of parents that scoff at the concept of a happiness doctrine. You see, they have all kissed their babies goodbye. They are faithful under the most horrible of circumstances. They live out a faith-filled gospel everyday. They have faith in eternal reunion otherwise what is the point of going on?
The truth is Jesus did not promise us happiness. The truth is Jesus did not promise an easy road. Why should we have an easier road than our savior who walked before us? Do any of us deserve that? I don't.
When your world is rocked,
when your job is gone,
when you say goodbye to a precious one,
when you face disease,
when you are alone,
when you live in poverty,
when you are spiritually/emotionally/financially bankrupt,
when you look a gun in the face,
that is when you know what the death and poverty gospel is.
When you are clinging to Jesus and crawling through the worst storm of your life, he will provide. When you have lost everything you value, he is still there. He will not abandon you...ever.
Faith, true faith, is believing with all you have when you have nothing. Faith is what keeps the empty going. It is why parents who've tragically lost children can go on. It is why the lady in your congregation who has been in physical pain every day of her life keeps coming and keeps believing and keeps praying and keeps lifting her hands to praise. It is why the apostles kept sharing the gospel even when facing certain death. Faith that HE will bring us home is real faith.
If you keep waiting for life to get easier...you may be waiting a while. Trust in HIM and not in self. Live for Him. Believe He will provide, because He will. He always does. His provision in times of need brings a joy that earthly excitement can't match. So I say,
Bring on the pain.
Bring on the poverty.
Bring on death and disease.
Bring on famine.
Bring on the armies who seek to kill us.
We are on the right side. Praise God and sing His praises through it all! My friend Paul said, "To live is Christ, to die is gain." Move past the earthly temptation to earn more, acquire more, and please self more. He is why we are here. I feel that if you are living for yourself, you will be rewarded...here. If you are living for HIM then life may hurt, but you will be rewarded...there. I don't think you can have both. I think you have to choose.
There will be an end to the struggles here. It will come swiftly although it seems slow now. He will be faithful to us, if we are faithful to Him. He will never let us go. He will be with you...always...through it all.
"I will fear no evil, for you are with me." Psalm 23:4
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." 1 John 4:18