The Christian Church seems to have concluded that God wants us healthy, wealthy and wise. It’s easy to see how we got to this point. We have concluded that the point of life is happiness and we “know” that to be happy we must have our health, we need things and we need worldly wisdom. We then march to the conclusion that those who are not healthy or who do now own a lot or who act “foolishly” are out of touch with God. When we do that, it is we who are out of touch with God.
The God I know wants me and the worldly situations He puts me through have as their purpose getting me to Him. He may need me healthy to do something He wants me to do; but I may need to suffer illness to learn what He wants me to learn. He may give me the things of the world; because He has something He wants me to do with them. He may keep them from me, because He knows they distract me from Him. I may seem wise in the ways of the world, but I have no wisdom of my own. Every good thing I know He tells me. Every proper way to act he shows me.
What has this to do with today’s words from OC? He speaks of worship and intercession. If our understanding of the ways of God is worldly we intercede for others by telling God: Make them well; Give them this or that. Make them wiser. But if we really understand God when He puts someone on our hearts we go into His presence and there we seek His will for others. We don’t try to dictate to God. We commune with Him and with Him our concern for them moves to something closer to His love for them.
“Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying.”
When I hear it said, “God wants you healthy.” I wonder if the speaker has spent time with the Father and has gotten His mind for the sick one or if the words are simply a broad and not always correct conclusion about God’s desire for all. When I hear words of prosperity, I remember His words about treasures in heaven and lilies of the field and birds of the air and I wonder if the speaker of such words is concerned about my prosperity or his. When I observe technology and “great” minds of business and industry, I remember we are to trust like children. Our greatest thoughts are silly to Him. I think I’ll stick to trying to learn His ways.
OC says something fascinating today: “Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.” I am not completely sure what he means by that. But my thought is that in preaching we sometimes go further than just pointing to Jesus. We try to tell others His intentions for them. It’s a three party activity: God and me and others and I find myself interpreting for God. In intercession, it’s me and God. He and I have great concern for those others, but He has greater love, greater wisdom and greater power. Why should I who doesn’t have all the answers for me, think I know the answers for others? My job is to say “I don’t know about happiness or health or prosperity or wisdom, but I found my joy in Him. Maybe you should check Him out.” I think I should let Him handle them and I’ll just rejoice in Him and