Friday, October 9, 2009

Prosperity Less?

It's been somewhat of a bummer of a day in the Dean home today. Last Friday night at a party that we hosted for our college and career ministry at Heartland, we found some wet areas in our carpet and discovered a leak in our dishwasher had created quite a mess.

We called a friend over and he helped us realize that the problem that we had was worse than we initially thought and after pulling back the furniture and then the carpet, discovered mold growing and the area soaked under the carpet with water.

Not the easiest feeling in the world to deal with.

So we decided to file a claim and go the whole insurance route. It took about 5 days, but the adjuster came out today and proceeded to tell us that it was a slow water leak that we could've prevented so the insurance wasn't going to help us at all.

When asked how we could have prevented it other than walking around each day of the week and lifting our furniture to inspect for surprise leaks, the adjuster didn't really have an answer only to tell us that he wasn't going to be able help us.

As he left, Kendra was very upset. I know she was fighting back tears as her house is so important to her and now carpet needs to be replaced in the house as well as the dishwasher and cabinetry, but the finances aren't currently there to make it happen, although through a little saving and extra work, the Lord will provide.

But that's not the really interesting thing that happened. The most interesting thing that happened was the conversation that we had after the fact. As we rallied and began to encourage each other, we acknowledged that the enemy was attacking us and that we didn't need to attack each other. This little tool that our marital and spiritual mentors, Fred and Anna, taught us is so important in marriage. So many times, we blame our spouses and turn them into our enemies over things that either of us really are in control of. Acknowledging that you know who the enemy is, is so important.

There's no coincidence that the enemy has come against us after just starting our small group, hosting parties, as well as ministering to several individuals recently who needed guidance over some pretty significant issues. The timing is too familiar...we know that Satan hates it when people use their home as a blessing to the Lord.

But then our conversation really inspired me when Kendra said that she was surprised that this news was so upsetting to her and the fact that she had even cried over it, stating that she nor I wanted to be controlled by our stuff because stuff is afterall...just stuff.

It was a huge moment for both her and myself as we laid all of our "stuff" before God and said, "we're not sure how you are going to fix it, but we're just going to rest in the fact that you will."

I think of the famous preacher, John Piper, who talks about the prosperity gospel and how it's sabotaged and fooled people all over the world. God is good and only wants good for us and because he only wants good for us, it means that he gives us whatever we want if we have faith. The only problem is that there were people in the Bible like Jeremiah who God gave a mission and from the beginning told him that he'd fail.

Faith in God often is determined often too often by what we have instead of what we don't. But the real gospel of Jesus shows itself to others when someone experiences loss and can stand refusing to be defeated and say, "regardless of what are still enough and I trust in you."

The prosperity gospel is true. But it doesn't show itself in BMW's and shows itself by the family who can prosper regardless of when bad things happen to good people. "God will prosper me even when my finances don't."

The reason why God could tell Jeremiah the end result of his ministry was because God knew that he would be faithful to complete the task regardless of the outcome...because he trusted God.

It's a great prayer for all of us to pray on this day...
"God, I don't know how all things work together for the good for those who love you...and I realize that the finances may not flow richly the way that I hoped that they would on this day. BUT, I know that regardless of what happens financially, I know that the blessing will show itself in some way...and so I trust you, embrace you and look forward to the blessing that comes from either the successes or failures that I experience as I follow you. In this life, I'd rather fail and be yours, than succeed and by owned by this world."

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