Thursday, January 1, 2015

Does God Want Happiness, Health and Prosperity for Us?

Many people believe God's goal for us is to be happy, healthy, and prosperous. I have had women tell me this and that there is NO way their God would want us to live in misery. Why would God, the Creator of the universe, come to earth to a poor family and even be born in a stable if this was the case. Then, at the young age of 33, He was crucified on a cross for us. He spent His entire life, not pursuing happiness and pleasure, but serving others. {It's ironic to ponder how the Antichrist will come, with power, wealth and fame. I think this tells A LOT about what is important to God.}

When I wrote my post Finding Happiness in Your Husband? a very good discussion took place. Some women thought we should be happily married since God doesn't want us to be miserable. An anonymous reader wrote this very insightful response ~

When I read the Bible as a whole and especially look to the life of Christ, I do not believe this statement to be true: "He wants His best for us which to me means happiness, health and prosperity." This is what is wrong with the 21st century church...the very destructive message of the prosperity preachers of the world who are leading millions astray and leaving them disillusioned. Uuugh!! God's best for us goes MUCH deeper than this.

 My husband and I have been in a relatively "miserable" marriage for many years. We just can't seem to get on the same page and we are both believers. So would you say God's mad at us or doesn't love us? Or maybe it means we are not really Christians if we are not happy since that's what God wants for us? I take offense to the prosperity gospel because I have not "prospered" in many ways. 

What about the Israelites who suffered for many, many years, and God gave them just enough manna for one day at a time as they wandered and wandered? {Such a beautiful symbol of Christ wanting to be our daily sufficiency in hard times!} I wouldn't call that prosperity. Or Paul being jailed or Stephen being stoned to death. 

You are extremely blessed to have a precious hubby who brings you endless joy. {She was responding to a reader who said that she was extremely happily married and every one should be the same.} Not everybody can say that, but I don't take it to mean that God isn't loving or paying attention to people who are not happy. And what do you say to those dying at the hands of ISIS, Ebola, or gendercide; or being jailed and persecuted for their faith; or the jobless, homeless, and suffering in daily pain, etc., etc. That God wants them to be happy, healthy and prosperous? Really?? 

Actually, we were promised that in this fallen, sinful world, life would be full of trials and troubles which will be relieved at the return of our Savior when he will wipe away our tears. Until then, we learn that true joy comes best from knowing him deeply, walking with him THROUGH trials, and looking forward to eternity with Him. Perhaps you've never really experienced suffering, but if you ever do, you will be quite bewildered by the theology that God wants you to be happy, healthy, and prosperous. 

I had bought into that for years and didn't even realize it, and I'm having to re-learn TRUE theology now that I've got a difficult marriage. How many times have I thought, "Wait, God, I thought you wanted me to be happy! What's going on here??? I thought I could trust you!! I guess I was wrong!" See the confusion? If God really wanted me to be "happy," then I could justify my leaving. But he says leaving would be a sin, so what do you do with that? That would be a contradiction of his character!

 This is why I am so thankful that Lori pounds today's message into our hearts. She understands that marriage for many people {albeit, not everybody} is HARD and many people are NOT happy in it because we live with sinful people who do hurtful things to us and we ourselves are sinful. There is a deeper truth, a deeper level of knowing Christ that we who were not blessed with an easy marriage delve into. He cares much more about our sanctification than our happiness because he has ETERNITY in mind, not this fleeting life. 

I'm with you; it would bring me so much happiness to see my kids happy. But there is a much greater experience of walking with God through suffering that I would rather they experience than to never be unhappy. Sorry, I think I'm beginning  to babble and I certainly hope I don't come across as angry. I'm just very passionate about this topic! 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

***Do not make marriage your idol because if you do, you'll leave or be discontent when you're not happy. Make God your idol, then your husband's eternal life will be more important to you than your happiness.