Personally, our family sees it as very important to give our children an accurate understanding of the Scriptures, even in the area of persecutions and tribulations. If we do not, when we are hit with trials, it will possibly burst their bubble of a "prosperous Christian life" and possibly lead to doubts and struggles that would be unnecessary. The Christian walk has enough struggles without adding to it a false idea of that "bed of roses."
And if we think that we are forever safe and secure from religious persecution, we need to wake up. I believe it behooves ourselves and our children to understand the persecution of the prophets and the great tribulation and suffering experienced by the early Christians. We also need to continually remind ourselves and teach our children of the persecuted Christians who are burned, raped, kidnapped, plummaged, arrested, and chased into hiding even this very day. Why? Who is to guarantee it won't be us and our children just a little down the road?
How foolish are we if we continually fill ourselves up with ideas of health and wealth and deserved prosperity and do not study the entirity of the Word to prepare ourselves for tribulations the Scriptures say will come.
Might I add how foolish are we if we do not prepare our children for the same.
To help you understand a little of how Americanized this "prosperity gospel" is, follow me to Central America and promise such things. If this is an accurate view of the Bible then why does it not apply in 3rd world countries?
At a recent pastors' conference my husband was leading in one such country, a faithful pastor who loved the Lord and exhibited a fervor and excitement for the gospel often not seen here would take rice from the lunch table and stuff it into his pockets. Why would he do such a thing? He told my husband he had 15 families in his church who were all hungry and probably wouldn't eat that day. Hmmmmm. . . . .try to take books on health, wealth, and prosperity to them.
What about poverty-stricken countries in Africa? Why are the very ones in persecuted countries of the world who are faithful to the Lord the ones who are martyred?
You see, these false ideas don't hold water when you look outside our culture.
It is the Word of God that stands true and can be applied universally. It is for all who believe, no matter how wealthy or poor or in what environment they live. Even no matter their circumstances.
Last week some friends were sharing struggles they were having with work and with family. Do you know what Scripture popped in my head? I shared James 1:2. Here is the context:
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience [endurance]. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:2-5).
No promises of health and wealth here! Just a promise that the trials are good for us! :-) We should count it joy! It will produce endurance in us!
What would you share with someone struggling? What verses have ministered to you when going through trials? Please share!
In the Heart of our Home,