I really, really don’t care for Joel Osteen — his teeth and his platitudes irk me.
Prosperity gospel? Pfffffttt.
“It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.”
How Mr. Osteen reconciles that with the bible verse about the rich man, the camel, and the eye of the needle is beyond my comprehension, but maybe I’m just not enlightened enough. *insert eye roll here*
Anyway. Never in the history of ever has God given any indication whatsoever that He wants us to be rich, temporally happy, or even healthy. What does He want? He wants us to delight in Him and Him alone. He wants us to delight in Him so badly that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to Hell and back so that we may know Him.
You didn’t think Christ’s suffering ended on the cross, didja? He paid the price for our transgressions, and that cost is Hell. Christ literally went to Hell and back for you. That’s all kinds of amazing, and something I can’t fully wrap my mind around, because every time I try, my brain figuratively explodes from trying to comprehend such a love.
I can’t even stand it when my kids bonk their heads or scrape their knees … the idea of sacrificing them like lambs so some ungrateful lot of vagabonds might have an opportunity to knock on my door and grace me with their presence? Inconceivable.
What God has done for us is so beyond dollars and cents, love lost and love won, life on Earth at all — that He must view us as squabbling children fighting over the favorite toy of the moment most of the time.
So when people like Joel Osteen say things like, “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity …” I scoff or roll my eyes or blow raspberries. Because I’m totally mature like that. But I’m pretty sure the creator of the universe invented the #facepalm, so I go with it.
God’s will is for us to love Him with our whole hearts and souls and all our strength and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Nothing more and nothing less.
So then what about the rest?
As much as I don’t like Joel Osteen or his cockamamie prosperity gospel, I do believe in living the best life you possibly can — now and forever.
Sometimes life hands you lemons — so go find some sugar and a pitcher and make some friggin’ lemonade. Add vodka if you have it, and invite some friends over. Or maybe even a friend will bring vodka! Those are the bestest friends.
Anyway, God calls us to suffer, but I think I missed the part where He said we’re supposed to wallow in it.
Yes, my marriage fell apart. For better or worse, no matter whose ‘fault’ it was, and not through any lack of trying to fix it — it fell apart. That’s one heck of a lemon, my friends.
And I’m handling it the best that I can. I’m putting on my big girl pants and trying to live my best life now as I put my broken heart in Jesus’ hands to heal. I’ll squee over sales at Target and find other ordinary things to appreciate. I’ll jump out of planes and I’ll spend what would’ve been my 11th anniversary weekend while my kids are at their first full week at their dad’s with my best friend in Texas.
It’s not flippancy; it’s recovery. It is joy and peace and light and trust in the God of hope. Every day I want to live my best possible life. Some days that’s just getting through without bitch-slapping anyone, and others it’s taking the kids to the beach to delight in His creation. Whatever it is, it is completely and totally relying on God to get me through.
My burden was heavy, but I took His yoke and am finding rest for my soul. And it is sooooooo good — lemonade for the soul level of good.
It’s my best life now, and though it may not look like it, it is my way honoring God, of thanking Him for the abundant mercies he has blessed me with. Thank Him even for the suffering. Because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
You may see a sandwich, or a glass of wine, or bowling with a friend, or veging out on the couch catching up on Nashville, or any other number of little things that make me happy … what I see is a Godsend.
It’s my best life now, because God did not leave me in the wilderness. He came and got me … somewhat brutally got me to stop placing my faith in myself and put it back in Him and relearn to trust in Him and Him alone.
And that is the joy that surpasses all joy, even in the midst of suffering.