Have you ever wondered if it is presumptuous to call God, “Father”?
He asks us to consider Him in such a way.
For six months, I attended a church with a world-renowned pastor. This man is a great teacher, a wonderful and sincere Christian and also quite rich. He is one of the best Bible teachers I have ever sat under. At last, I was compelled to leave his church because I could not agree with his ideas of prosperity.
God may indeed make many of his children to prosper. There are plenty of scriptures that allude to that.
Yet, how does one explain such a concept to the millions of Christians persecuted in Muslim lands? How does one explain prosperity gospel to starving children in Africa? How do you explain name-it-and-claim-it to low-wage workers or those who have given up looking for work because there are no jobs?
Do we tell them they are suffering because of lack of faith? Starving because they never properly understood that God wanted them to prosper? Beheaded because they didn’t claim prosperity when they tithed?
I know God blesses whom He pleases. But I think that many Christians have been led down the wrong path by pastors who worry more about raising money for a new jet than raising money for food banks.
Along with promises of prosperity, the Bible is full of promises that Christ’s followers will be persecuted as He was persecuted. They shall have nowhere to lay their heads at night. They are to go spread the gospel, taking nothing but the clothes on their back. Christ told the rich man to sell everything and give it to they poor then come follow him.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see the kingdom of God.
Life more abundantly is not necessarily life with more money. It is a life full of God’s love and Spirit, no matter what your circumstances. It is Grace to endure all the world throws at you. It is an extra measure of faith when you don’t think you can face another day. It is forgiveness when you have failed. It is a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Such desperation can be heard in the words of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the late and infamous atheist. For those readers too young to remember, O’Hair is the woman behind the supreme court decision that removed Christian prayers from our public schools. Those words, “Somebody, somewhere, love me,” were written in her diaries a half dozen times in her life.
What pain she must have felt. What misery she endured. The words imply a deep loneliness, solitude, distraught.
I think about the conflict she created in her life-threatening and the many run-ins she had with Christians, and I wonder if any of those Christians ever demonstrated love. I wonder… How would our world be different if she would have seen true Christian love?
As Christians, we are the beneficiaries of God’s love. He is merciful and cares for us. He comforts us. All he asks in return is that we love Him and love others.
Love one another. Love our enemies as ourselves.