For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I am sure that we have all heard this passage before. The premise is that God wants to bless us. And His blessing is very specific at that-to bless us materially.
Over and over in the scriptures I see how God’s heart is for the material blessings of his people. Whether it be property, families, finances, the honor of the nations, prestige, he loves to see his people happy and prosperous because He is happy and prosperous.
However, juxtaposed with this fact is another theme I see in the New Testament: Persecution. And so this brings me to a very important question:
In the course of our lives, how do we reconcile walking with the God who promises material possession but who has also promised that we would be persecuted and would endure hardship in this life (for ex John 15:18-25)?
The lack of understanding of these two seeming poles can lead us astray.
One one hand, we may be so focused on the goodness of God that when hardships should come, we are surprised and end up being offended at God. On the other hand, we may anticipate so much hardship that we have no joy in this life (which of course, is a fruit of walking in the Spirit).
It’s probably helpful at this point to just say that, in life, our lot will be both.
We will receive both the blessings of God always, as well as the hardship of the world. Be not surprised at either. Nor be confused of God’s character when one leans one way for a season or another.