prosperity & loss

Today I sat on a hammock (wearing my shades, observing my sliced-to-order sashimi) and thought (for the millionth time) about how much my job feels like I am getting paid to go on a cruise for three months. And I felt guilty! So guilty and strange and maybe anxious too. If you hang around me enough you might know that I am always going on about suffering and pain and how I am longing to experience God’s grace in the midst of deep sorrow. That has been the dominant theme of a long and precious season, and I treasure it deeply. But notice that Paul learned “learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”. And as I sat there half-praying, half-musing, I was reminded of a sermon early in the year about trials coming in the form of prosperity. I want to worship in the midst of great opportunity, success, and material comfort, but it’s such a foreign feeling it’s almost bizarre. Also, I am afraid of how easy it is to fall into self-deceit. I am afraid of becoming myopic and numb. Mostly I am afraid that I will start to believe that all of these things are mine.

God reminded me (still on my hammock) of Job — and it’s interesting to think about the very overlooked, pre-test Job in 1:1-5. He was the picture of a man who honored God above his wealth. His heart was preoccupied with pleasing God! This was absolutely the foundation that allowed him to respond to Satan’s testing as he did. And God grew a great and complete faith in him, because he experienced God’s sovereignty in prosperity and loss. God is good and glorious independent of circumstance.

So I guess the challenge for me is to flush all this silliness (guilt, imposter-syndrome, anxiety, etc) out of my system, and keep my heart (& heart) straight. To count everything as loss, but accept every situation as a very very divinely-ordained season in which I have GOOD WORK to do, and lots lots more about God to discover to enjoy.

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