Last week I wrote this piece about the creeping prosperity gospel. It seems we associate God's favor with favorable outcomes. The discussion in the comments was uplifting, introspective, and enlightening. I'd like to add a bit of clarification today. We should rejoice in God's mercy in favorable seasons. But the more poignant question is what do we make of God's favor, his mercy in seasons of drought?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death... ~Psalm 13:2-3
Scripture is filled with examples of the torment of the righteous. But the righteous of scripture are marked by their understanding of salvation's source, of providence even in the midst of torment.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. ~Psalm 43:5
All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face at the sound of the taunter and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger. All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant.
Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! ~Psalm 44:15-17, 26
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~Romans 8:18
The troubles of my present life are nothing compared to those of David, Paul, or the modern persecuted church. In fact, things are looking up around here and I'm grateful. But if things should take a turn for the worse, I hope I'll still recognize God's faithfulness, his salvation, and the glory brought-on by suffering. Even in the dark days. Those seem to be the marks of the righteous.
Today, Jennifer Dukes Lee writes more on the topic of faith and suffering. She writes:
Faith is not believing in a false promise of prosperity, but in the abiding presence of Christ.
Would you take a gander at her words today? It'll be worth your time; I promise.