Many Catholics are very concerned right now about avoiding the “prosperity gospel” snarky comments about Hillsong United and any other Christian organization that talks about God as if He might possibly heal people or change things are fairly common. Then, it’s also common to hear prayerful surrender about how God never promises He will make things better, just that He will help us deal with it. Comments about how God is not a genie. Or even more intensely, God desires us to suffer. Catholics, please stop saying this stuff!
A painting I did after a loss that almost broke me
I understand that it is coming from a place of making sure that we do not think of God like a vending machine we press and only good things happen, and also wanting to help people who suffer because God does not ALWAYS fix things, but it is wounding people deeper than you can imagine.
I’ll start with God’s desire for us to suffer, I held so much resentment and fear of God for so long because He wants us to suffer. Nothing was more terrifying than turning to God because if I did, He would only make my life a living Hell. What a horrible way to think of God! Especially a God who promises beautiful things for His people over and over and over throughout Scripture, rescues hundreds of slaves, feeds 5000 people with 12 fishes, and heals the blind, the sick, and the dead. It doesn’t make sense to say that this God wants us to suffer. The defense is usually that Jesus was crucified, but God didn’t WANT that to happen. Jesus Himself cried and begged God to let that cup pass from Him, but God allowed it to happen, that doesn’t mean He wanted it.
a painting I did while mourning my Emma Rose, feeling completely enveloped in despair.
Secondly, “God does not promise to make things better.” That’s just not true! In the last two years, I have been inundated with ways that God promises good things to us! He also asks us to ask for them. He does not promise us that everything will always be good, and nothing bad will ever happen, but there are thousands of promises. “Ask and you shall receive” does not just mean, ask me for strength for all the suffering I am going to send you, “9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him“(NIV Matthew 7:11-12) [evil here does not mean evil the way we think of it, but “lacking” as in imperfect.] In the Old Testament, God leads people to homes, He saves the vulnerable and the poor, He finds people husbands and wives, He wins wars, He leads people to rest. Throughout the epistles, the apostles promise that Christians will heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the blind. This does not sound like a religion without earthly promises.
My own personal monument to God’s good gifts, is our boho bungalow which is so much more than we ever dreamed.
Something to understand about Hillsong United and Bethel Church and the popular Churches that many talk about as “prosperity gospel” preachers, is that most of them actually do not teach that God grants all of our prayers. There is a sect of Christianity that does that, but the fact that these Churches ASK for God’s healing does not mean He will do it every time, but He will do it sometimes. They believe that if He doesn’t answer there is a reason, but we should always turn to Him and ask. I did an article about Bethel’s church leader who prayed for her baby to be healed, but to summarize it-we SHOULD be praying to heal people and raise the dead. It may not happen everytime, but it can and does happen sometimes. Our faith is one of glorious and unimaginable promises.
“He leads me by still waters, into mercy.”
Ok so what is so wrong with teaching these things? Based on what I am talking about it’s not true, but how is it harmful? If we only turn to God for help with spiritual things, won’t He see us as wanting Him only for Himself and not for His gifts? If we are only concerned about ourselves, maybe.
Me with my ‘double rainbow’ the term for two healthy babies after a loss. We had years of fear and loss before we saw these shining faces, but God brought us here.
But I am here to tell you that our God is beautiful and amazing, and He wants good things for His children and for those who don’t know Him yet, and if we teach that He does not care about those things, then we are not telling His lost children how much He can help them. We are telling them, He doesn’t care about their suffering. YOU may be willing to suffer as much as possible for the kingdom, but some of us are tired, and have suffered and we need a God who loves us and who will give us rest from our suffering, and help us when everything seems impossible. The kind of God who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” And does not just mean He will make you happy while you starve to death, but will “Give us this day our daily bread.” Our God rescued slaves and sent down manna to the Hebrews, He did not just put them in a good mood while they starved to death.
The wreath God sent me last week when I turned to Him stressed about spending my Christmas money too quickly
So please, Catholics, and Christians who are caught up in this. Please stop teaching that God does not care about our earthly needs. He does care so much about our every single little need, and He hears all of our prayers, even the ones we think are dumb. He is a kind, good lover, a beautiful Father, and a loyal friend, who wants all good things for us. We have to ask Him for them. Sometimes, if He absolutely has to He will say no, but when He says yes, and you see His dreams for you, you will glow in the light of His love for you.
When God says, He leads us by still waters-He means it. ♥️