I’ve listened to plenty of prosperity teachers, and they have some good points. God’s Kingdom is undeniably limitless in resources. But for those who are struggling through life: the sick, weak, disabled, disadvantaged… prosperity theology can make them feel failures – that they are to blame for their own difficulties – that they should just have more faith and all would be made well. I am not convinced the bible says that. David, in Psalm 31, was going through terrible times, as did Jesus himself. Many faithful Christians have been called to the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom, and many more have been called to ministries that were not reimbursed in this life.
The words of verse 5 are familiar to many of us, as the final words of Jesus on the Cross. Handing our lives over to God for his safekeeping does not buy us a life of ease, as Jesus knew only too well. Strangely, the place of refuge, which God certainly is, is also the place where a life is laid down, where rights are relinquished, and consequences no longer our responsibility. Complete faith is the place where the outcome is not my worry; that God will keep me on the planet for just as long as he has work for me to do here; and that he is storing up my rewards for me in a place where moths and rust and economic crashes cannot touch them. I can’t lose, whatever happens.
As Jim Elliot put it, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”