In Joel Osteen’s best-selling book, he stated we can “Have Our Best Life Now”. Lots of good health, much money, happiness. How many people “come to Christ” thinking that He will deliver them from their poor health, lack of money, and unhappiness? I am very concerned about the number of people deceived by this type of thinking, especially in today’s economy. If the health and wealth “gospel” weren’t bad enough (because Jesus NEVER promised an easy life this side of Heaven), these dear people are then told that they are not healthy, wealthy, and happy because of sin in their lives.
As I read the Word of God, I see people who are linked to suffering at every level. Think of the disciples. They were stoned, beaten, pierced with swords, crucified, and thrown from the temple. Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, knew cold, hunger and thirst. The woman who gave her last two pennies wasn’t guaranteed an easy life. Jesus Himself was scourged, spit on, betrayed, denied, and mocked. Who are we to think we are above Him? (Matthew 10:24) Instead, we are told to “count it all joy” when we are tested and tried (James 1:2-4). Acts 9:16 reiterates all this when it tells us that we must suffer for Him!
While John 10:10 is so often quoted by the health and wealth group, the true abundant life is not one that is free of tragedies, but rather an abundant life we experience when our hearts are hidden in the Savior. That sweet abiding…Jesus in me and I in Him. This is the life that brings peace. The troubles will come, but oh, that sweet peace. The world can’t give that kind of peace, and praise God, the world can’t take it away!