I hate the health, wealth and prosperity gospel. Pastor John does as well:
In D.A. Carson’s book, How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, Carson goes directly at the question of sin, sickness and death. These are hard subjects, but he looks at them through a Biblical lens.
And in a few short sentences, he puts a dagger into the health, wealth and prosperity gospel on one of their worst principles – that God will automatically give us what we want if we just have enough faith:
Practically speaking, this means that it is almost always wrong, not to say pastorally insensitive and theologically stupid, to add to the distress of those who are suffering illness, impending death, or bereavement, by charging them with either: a) some secret sin they have not confessed, or b) inadequate faith, for otherwise they would certainly have been healed. The first charge wrongly assumes that there is always a link between a specific ailment and a specific sin; the second wrongly assumes that it is always God’s will to heal any ailment, instantly, and he is blocked from doing so only by inadequate or insufficient faith. D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord?, p. 101.
Personally, nobody has ever hinted at a) in my presence, and usually just the opposite (citing John 9:3). But I’ve heard hints of b) a few times. Neither one is helpful.
Rather, let us hold tightly to Jesus in the midst of great suffering! Jesus knows suffering. And God knows what he is doing, and he wants us to ask him for help with our full knowledge that he will provide what is best for us. So, let us continue to ask from the one who can supply and trust that he loves us to give us the best thing!
To repeat from yesterday something Pastor John wrote (emphases in bold mine):
But let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct him how he should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see and savor the glory of God forever and ever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God.