It was the early hours of the morning here and those shows were on television. You know the ones. I think of them as “Praise the Lord and give me money” shows.
There are so many of them. In every one some evangelical preacher exclaims about the love of God and how much God wants me to send my money to them so they can use it to do His work. They all promise me I can have a life free of poverty, sickness, unhappiness. They tell me I don’t have to tolerate bad things happening to me and all I have to do is have faith. They say a good place to start is to have faith in them and send money to support their work.
I watched the water for life couple interviewing the pillars of health couple and I saw showmen with well trained wives plugging their books and pet projects. I saw men in complete control who were going their own way believing they are doing Gods will.
I saw women who were trying to support their men but who were not really important to “the cause”. The men seemed to simply tolerate their efforts to participate and treated the women as if they were just charming accessories.
They were talking about health and claiming it. The whole “give thanks for what is already yours because By his stripes we are healed” sermon and I saw something I have never noticed before. I have always felt there was a flaw in many of these ministries but I could never say what it was. This time I saw it.
They were preaching “The Secret”.
In a previous blog entry I explored what I believed God had to say about the “Law of Attraction“. In a nutshell it was this. God is the personification of existence and the material from which all things are made. All that exists is part of him and all his parts long to be reunited into a whole. Thus one part, you or me, can call another part, a car or house, to join with it but you will have to answer to God for anything you get because it all belongs to him!
The focus in The Secret and the law of attraction is on personal effort. The implication is that if what you want fails to come to you it is because you have failed to call properly.
These ministers are saying the same thing! They are just altering the words and, instead of saying the universe will give you what you call for, they say God will give you whatever you believe for. The implication is that if God doesn’t give you what you want it is because you have not had enough faith.
These people talked about their grandchild being born with Downs syndrome and a congenital heart defect. They talked about how they refused to accept these illnesses because they were from Satan and how their faith was strong enough to heal the child’s heart and get rid of the Downs syndrome.
In the same breath they were talking about giving thanks to God for all things yet refusing to accept things they didn’t like. They seemed to be saying they were given a sick and disabled child just so they could show the world how powerful real faith is.
How can that be true? How can God let such things be inflicted on people for such a self-serving reason? I don’t believe He would! I don’t believe he ever lets us suffer just to prove how great he is! I think they missed out on a lot by insisting on healing for that child as soon as she was born.
God honours faith I have no doubt about that and he can heal us but the question is should we ask that of him? How can you say “Thank you God for this child” and also be saying “I do not accept this child as she is”?
Jesus said if we have faith we will be able to order a mountain to go to the sea. He didn’t say “provided that is Gods will for the mountain”. Just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should!
That isn’t real faith in my opinion. Real faith is trusting that whatever comes our way IS a blessing! Real faith trusts God not its own power to change the things we don’t like!
I thought of my own tribulations. I have been through many things and all of them, I know, were thrown at me by Satan. I have been molested and abused as a child, raped and traumatized as a teen and attacked as an adult.
I believe all those things were blessings! Satan threw them at me to try and destroy me but God used them to bless me!
I’m sitting here thinking how glad I am I did NOT know “the secret” or have “the faith” and was not, therefore, able to refuse to go through those things! I believe I could have refused to go through them and God would have answered my prayers for rescue if I had known then what I know now.
I am just very glad I never asked to be spared those experiences!
I am 100 percent GLAD I was molested and abused as a child because, if I had not been through those things, I would not have had the knowledge, passion and drive I needed to ensure my children would be safe from such experiences!
Most parents know how much easier it is to suffer yourself than to have to watch your children suffer and my children would have been molested if I had not been. I know this for a fact!
One night I was going out and my babysitter canceled at the last minute. My friends teenage brother offered to babysit instead and my children begged me to let him but I was paranoid because of my own experiences.
I canceled the date and stayed home. I was embarrassed by my paranoia but I couldn’t leave my children alone with him no matter how sure I was they would be safe. Years later I found out he had been molesting his younger brother and sister so he most certainly would have molested my children.
I thank God from the bottom of my heart for sparing me the agony of having to see my children go through that!
I’m glad I was attacked by five people in my own home and had my car stolen because it showed me who I really am and I needed to know the things I learned from that experience.
There is nothing about my life I would change because all things were good for me in the end. If I had missed out on any of those experiences, good or bad, I would be the loser now!
At the end of the show the evangelists plugged their respective pet projects. They told me how healthy I would be if I bought Dr X’s Pillars Of Health package and showed a film explaining how I could help save hundreds of lives by contributing to their “200 wells for Africa” project.
Then they started over again with two new guests. They were Graham & Treena Kerr. Graham Kerr was once a celebrity known as “The Galloping Gourmet” but he gave it all up for Jesus.
I watched these two people and I saw God in them. I watched and felt ashamed. I saw how I should be and I wanted to be like them. I saw how far below standard I am when it comes to the Christian life. They were so happy, so full of joy, so much in love with each other. They were like children, laughing about how their mobile home had lost its roof, so secure and trusting that this was nothing to worry about. They were obviously so connected to God and their message was so simple. I have no doubt it comes straight from God.
“Turn the things that harm you into things to help others. Give up something harmful and use the money to help others.”
I felt God convicting me of my sins. I knew what I should do. I should give up smoking and drinking gallons of diet coke and use that money to help others. If everyone did that there would be no poor, no sick, no needy people in the world.
I watched as the wells for life minister rushed to assure people the life the Kerr’s were living was the life God chose for THEM but that didn’t mean viewers would have to sell all their worldly possessions and go on the road for Jesus.
He was clearly worried people might be turned off, and turn off, if they thought that was being asked of them.
How ironic, I thought, that I could do that but I can’t give up the harmful habits.
Graham Kerr said “The light went out of my possessions” and that was how he was able to sell it all and go on the road for Jesus.
I knew exactly what he meant by that. After I was attacked and my car was stolen the light went out of all my possessions. I like the things I own but I don’t have any part of me invested in them any more. It hurt too much to have my beloved car snatched from my hands by thieves and I realised the same thing could happen to all the things I own. Theft, fire, flood, earthquake, or even just me in a clumsy moment could cause the loss of any one or all of the things I own and the light went out of them. They simply stopped being important to me.
I could easily sell everything I own and walk away from it all without a backward glance. I could go on the road for Jesus if the Lord wanted me to. No problems but I know he is not asking me to do that. That is not part of his will for me or at least not now.
No. Right now all he wants from me is to give up the cigarettes and diet coke and let him use the money to do his work.
I know that’s what he wants and I can’t do it. I have improved over the years. I have slowly moved from not being willing to even entertain the thought to wanting to do it.
Just not right now.
I am such a lousy Christian!
Those television evangelists may be barking up the wrong tree when it comes to what real faith is but they are trying to do something for God and maybe that puts them streets ahead of me.
Every day I have to ask God to forgive me for the same sins and it should be so easy to stop committing them but, for me, it just is not. It has taken years to get to a point where I even CARE that I haven’t quit smoking yet!
I’m just so thankful that God is willing to forgive me, and keep on forgiving me, until the day arrives when He is able to change that about me too.
He has changed me so much. He will help me change this. I know that. It isn’t a case of “if” it’s a case of “when”. I am a work in progress and I will be until the day I die.
But last night I saw two glowing Christians. I saw how life could be for me if I really followed the Lords will! I saw and I wanted.
I want to be like them Lord – make me like them!