My finances tanked in 2007. One way I can describe the suffering that ensued is that a friend, Christian Smeltzer, gave me $20.00 one time and I felt very rich, I couldn’t believe I was holding $20.00 in my hands.
In all this, I thought God was surely with me, and that He was allowing me to be afflicted, just like Job, to build me up. But I was challenged one day by another friend, Alphonse Kongolo. He said, maybe this is God, but maybe this is the devil afflicting you also. Didn’t scripture say:
I have been young, and now am old ; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken , nor his seed begging bread. – Psalm 37:25
Well, that night, I prayed like I had never prayed before and through a series of events, God restored me to financial health.
There is the story in the Bible of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had all that money could buy. He had cars, mansions, women, jewelry, fame.., you name it. I imagine he thought God was surely with him. Lazarus on the other hand was very poor, ill treated and suffered with sores on his body. Even the dogs licked his wounds, yet God was with him. When he died, Lazarus was taken into Abraham’s bosom to enjoy an eternity of bliss. The rich man (notice he has no name, just the rich man) also died but went to hell, where he was tormented and damned to eternity .
I do not subscribe to the prosperity gospel, yet I do not subscribe to the suffering gospel either. I simply subscribe to the gospel. I know Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon and Job were extremely rich individuals who enjoyed God’s presence. And I also know that Lazarus, most of the disciples, and yes again, Job, were of little means, suffered, and yet God was with them as well. Your material prosperity does not mean God is with you and your physical suffering does not mean God is with you either. In fact, material blessings may be a sign that God is far away from you, and physical suffering may be “ICHABOD”, meaning the glory has departed. God is with you not because of you but because of Him. Think about that for a while. Because He chose to be with you. You can’t earn His presence, neither can you buy it. But this you can do. You can believe it. You can believe the good news that Jesus Christ died for your sins to save you. And if you do, you can be assured in sickness or health, in wealth or poverty, in success or failure – that GOD IS WITH YOU.