Yesterday I was talking about seasons — and how a marriage (or any relationship, for that matter) grows even through hard times.
But what about the growth that comes during good times?
As Christians, I think we can sometimes fall into only talking about God’s faithfulness, nearness and strength when times are tough. Out of a desire to empathize with the hurting and bring hope to the faltering, we can unknowingly rob God of His glory for bringing us through hard times to a place of strength, provision and joy.
A couple of years back I sensed the Lord wanted me to remind our church not to apologize for God’s goodness. In this word of encouragement I specifically addressed those who were prospering financially when many others were struggling to make ends meet. “Don’t be ashamed of the outpouring of God’s provision when it seems the windows of heaven are pouring blessings on you when you stand among those who are weary and needy.”
Are you in a season of God’s blessing on your finances? Is your marriage thriving, with evidences of God’s help and grace abounding? Are your friendships growing? Are your kids getting along and being relatively respectful and compliant?
A sovereign God chooses both our trials and our prosperity. The Puritans talk about the Great Pharmacist who, like physicians in pre-pharmacy times, meticulously and wisely measures out a healing remedy for each ailment. Our God doesn’t dispense mass over-the-counter remedies! Rather, he personally and lovingly combines the perfect amount of ingredients — some harmful on their own! — to produce spiritual health and vitality.
Perhaps you are enjoying a season of blessing when former remedies God designed for you are producing delightful fruit! If so, please don’t be ashamed to boast in His goodness.
The morning I shared those encouraging words for our church a lady approached me to say thanks. She and her husband were in a season of joy and prosperity. His business had recently experienced some robust profits. Longstanding challenges in their marriage on which they had been working for years were a lessening problem. Her children were thriving in a new school and a difficult relationship with a family member had been recently reconciled.
“I’ve been feeling so guilty,” she said. “Many of my friends are really struggling and I feel badly for them. I haven’t even wanted to talk about how God is blessing us right now. It feels like God has now given me permission to talk about His goodness. I just don’t want it to seem like I’m being insensitive to others who are hurting.”
“If others struggle with your prosperity that’s between them and God,” I responded. “You obviously care about your friends and what they are going through, but this is a wonderful opportunity for them to rejoice with you just as you have wept with them, don’t you think?”
Boasting in the Lord’s goodness doesn’t have to be self-centered. Communicating His provision and blessing could tempt some to jealousy or bitterness. But it doesn’t have to. For those who truly love you, hearing of God’s faithfulness can bring fresh faith for them to persevere through the hardships that have gotten you to this place.
So go ahead…boast in your God. Just as God uses trials and suffering to grow and strengthen us, He also sanctifies and changes us through seasons of sweet provision.
Do you have a brief testimony about this? I’d love to hear it.