Trials of Prosperity
by Alex Crain, Editor, Christianity.com
“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
A friend of mine who lives in another part of the country (let’s call him Joe) works as a recruiter. He specializes in finding jobs for lawyers, consultants, and accountants. When Joe places someone in a job, the hiring firm pays him a percentage based on the annual salary. A few years ago, when housing prices began taking a nose dive and the job market dried up, my friend nearly lost everything.
Every week, Joe and I would talk on the phone and pray together. We asked God to provide for our families and help us not get consumed with worry. God faithfully met our needs and the answers to prayer for Joe’s finances came in small quantities, until just recently when the floodgates opened.
Last year, Joe made a couple of moderate placements while he tapped away at something he called his “needle in a haystack.” A law firm in Asia was seeking a senior partner whose starting annual salary would be around $3 million. The bonus for Joe would be the biggest in his career if he could land it. Well, Joe’s candidate eventually got the job. When Joe called me to share the news, we rejoiced and praised God together.
Then, because this less-than-joyful bit of news was fresh on my mind at the time, I shared with Joe (anonymously) about an acquaintance who was no longer living for God. He had inherited a good amount of money around the same time Joe’s income had dried up to a trickle. The inheritance money fueled secret vices that eventually led him to the point of abandoning his wife and six young children for another woman. My wife and I stayed in this family's home just a few years ago. We still can't believe it.
Joe and I still pray on the phone and ask God to bless his business and keep him close to God as he tastes financial success. In light of the tragic break up of this other family, we’ve become more aware what a blessing it is to just have daily bread. The temptation to forget God in times of abundance is strong. When God allows trials of prosperity in our lives, we need to depend on Him even more.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Though it might sound cliché, Satan will destroy us if he can. As Luther’s hymn says: ‘His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate.’ No matter our circumstances, God wants us to trust Him, not piles of money.
8 Things Contentment Opposes, by Tim Challies