Also See The Prosperity and Word Of Faith Doctrines that teaches that God's will is that all believers are healthy and financially prosperous, and we can therefore "claim" or appropriate healing and prosperity.
Life is filled with hardships and disappointments, blessings and joy. As Christians, we have true joy because we have been given the absolute confidence that everything has meaning and benefit to the believer who follows Christ. Unfortunately we also struggle with the misconceptions that life is supposed to be Ďhappy all the timeí. There are many hymns that proclaim that we should always be happy and there are no more sorrows. If we fail to realize that this world is not our home, the hard times will be a greater struggle. Jesus made it clear that good times and hard times happen in every life. Look at Matthew 7: 24-27
" Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Jesus used two people Ė one believer who followed and obeyed Christ, one who did not. Both had good times and were able to build their house and both had storms that hit unexpectedly. The key to both of their lives was where they stood in Christ. The Word of God was the foundation of the wise man and Jesus is the Rock he built on. As Christians we often forget that this life has storms that both the believer and unbeliever alike will go through. God did not design life around our comfort zone. We are born in a fallen world and as believers we continue to walk in this life. The difference is that we have a higher calling and we have absolute confidence that God leads us through the path we are walking on. If our expectations are that God should insulate us from unhappiness or struggles, we will be greatly disappointed. Jesus even told us that He sends us out as sheep among wolves. We canít blend in with the wolves and go unnoticed and we canít be our own defenders. If we are sheep (true followers of Christ), He is our defender and He leads us through a world that is not and cannot be our home.
We are called to have an outward focus. This is counter to our human nature. When I look at the world around me, my natural tendency is to look at circumstances based on what is in it for me. I will always feel shorted when a circumstance takes away from my comfort, benefit or immediate happiness. Why do ball players who are making millions of dollars go on strike? It is because the eyes of man are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20). It isnít just millionaires; it is every human who has walked this earth. We all struggle to be content with what we have. A few years ago a poll was published where people were asked how much money would make them happy. People making $10K a year said they needed $20K. People making $20K said $40K. People making $30K said $60K. Almost across the board, everyone believed that they needed twice what they were making. To make matters worse, many churches teach that we need to ask God for more, and more, and more. Yet every time we see the principle of asking to receive in scripture, it is related to seeking Godís will. The Bible says that if we ask for the purpose of consuming it upon our own lusts, we will not receive, but if we ask anything according to Godís will, we shall receive what we ask.
In reality, we will never be fulfilled in this life outside of our calling of God. Money has not and will never make anyone happy. The suicide rate among the rich is higher than it is among the poor. When we get what we want, we are happy for a moment, but soon we see more and want more. People sacrifice marriages, jobs, their own children and will often throw away everything they have in the hopes of gaining more or even out of anger of not getting more. I heard a lady say once that she would gladly give up everything she owned if she could see Ďone of those rich peopleí have their BMWís taken away. If her wish was granted, do you think she would be happy? Maybe for a moment of envious glee but the next state would be worse than her previous one. That is human nature and this is what we become when are self-focused and self-absorbed. God has commanded us not to envy or covet because this blinds us to the goodness of God and feeds our destructive human nature. The Bible teaches that contentment is more valuable than possessions. Hebrews 13 states:
 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Just as our inward focus makes us discontented and envious, outward focus does just the opposite. When ĎIí am the focus, the personal benefit is always the driving motivation. Even noble deeds are done out of selfish motives. When we are followers of Christ, our focus takes a radical change. Look at Luke 14:
 Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  "But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  "And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
We all like to invite friends over and enjoy fellowship. There is nothing unbiblical about inviting friends over, however the fellowship is the reward in itself. The true reward is to do for those who cannot offer any benefit. Jesus also said that if we do good deeds for the praise of men, we also have our reward in that praise. The true outward focus is to quietly serve and reach out to those who need it the most and in ways that will never make headlines. Who wants to have a dinner party for the poor, maimed and blind? What is the benefit? God may indeed bless us in this life, but the reward is that Day when we stand before Him.
The outward focus comes from the Spirit of God that has been poured out in our hearts. I am unwilling to endure hardship, lay down my life, give of myself and shift my focus outward unless God is leading my heart and I have surrendered my life completely to Him. This is the foundation that must first be laid deep in the rock, or else my efforts will soon fail. 1 John 3 makes it clear that the love of God is evident when His love touches others:
 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
If someone claims to be a Christian but refuses to meet the needs all around them, the evidence is that the love of God is not in their life. If we donít have the love of God, we donít know God at all. If we claim to have the blessings of God and our goods are only used for selfish motives, it is not the blessing of God. Even a blessing can be a curse if it is taken outside of Godís plan.
Bless Our Enemies
Look now at Romans 12:14-21
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This sounds good until the time comes to practice it. When someone actually is my enemy and is actively trying to harm my life, do I really have it within me to bless them? Can I love someone who truly hates me without a cause? Can I pray for them and seek their good? This is so radically counter culture that only God can accomplish this task within us. One thing we must remember is that we were Godís enemies before He showed us grace. God is not asking us to do anything except imitate Him. If I am willing to receive this radical love from the hand of God, I have no right to refuse to allow God to show that same love to someone else.
God does promise to avenge those who trouble us and repay vengeance to those who harm us, but God first desires grace. God has stated from the beginning that He desires to show mercy above all things. If Jesus Christ shed His own blood for our enemy, can we rightly say that He is wrong for doing so? If we hate our enemies, we are also despising the mercy that Jesus extends to them from the cross. Human love is not capable of loving an enemy. God has poured out His love in our hearts and we allow Godís love to touch those around us Ė including our enemies. Godís love within us is the good that overcomes evil and turns hardened hearts to Christ. It is when someone refuses Godís mercy that vengeance is received. Even we have the option to turn away and refuse the love of God. God has placed us among those who are our enemies for the purpose of showing mercy, but we have the choice to refuse to allow God to love through us. We will be in disobedience, but we have that choice to make.
Is it really unfair?
Is life really unfair to those who follow Christ? As we stated earlier, the answer clearly is no. If anything we are favored above what is fair. The difficulty comes when we forget that our reward lies on the other side of life. If we are measuring our lives by the standard of the world, we will miss the whole point. When I die, my worldly success will die with me. My possessions will be dispersed to others and everything I thought was important will fade away. This world is passing away. The best car on the market will be worthless one day. My house will one day be torn down for a new house if time permits. Nothing is of eternal value. The apostle Paul said, ďI have lost all things and count them as trashĒ. We put so much value on trash that meaningless things become important. We get bent out of shape when we are passed over for promotion, yet in the end it will be so insignificant that we will scarcely remember it. People lament over a door ping on their car, but in a few years what will that mean to us?
Life cannot be unfair to the Christian who is following God. Look at Psalm 139:
1 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
Do you realize that every breath you take and every path you walk has been planned by God? Stop for a moment and think about this truth. Before you make a mistake, God has already planned out how to turn this into good once your focus returns to Him. The Scriptures reveal that God has our lives mapped out before we were born. God has His best plan for us and God has a plan based on our choices. We will one day see the perfect plan of God and the good God had intended for us. Jeremiah 29:11
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Even so, we are not perfect and we easily stray from Godís plan. When we go outside of Godís will, we canít undo the hardships that we encounter or the consequences that we have to face. However, God still has a plan for our life and works to bring us back into that perfect plan He has foreordained on our behalf.
The point I really desire to drive home is that if we believe Godís word and understand that He has a plan that is perfect, fulfilling and that works toward our good, then we will be willing to accept the things in life that we cannot control. There are times when God calls us to make a stand, contend earnestly for the faith, work hard to fulfill our calling and labor though this life. The fact that God has a plan does not nullify our participation. What it does do is give us comfort when things seem to go wrong. It also gives us determination to do what is right even when we are severely opposed.
If we know that God is in control, we know that our circumstances are by His own hand and are for a purpose. Only He has the good and perfect plan, therefore we know that when God acts contrary to the way we think things should be, He is the one who is right. Disappointment loses its sting when we believe that God overrode our hopes. We may not know why, but one day we will see clearly that our pinpoint perspective was not the whole picture.
God rights every wrong
It is ok for the believer to miss out in this life. God restores what the world takes away. When God gives, it is above and beyond what we have laid down for Him. Faith is the key. When we fight for selfish motives, we are declaring that we are our own defenders and we donít believe Godís plan is established for us. When we are offended and get angry at God, we reveal that we donít trust what He has stated in His word. When I am wronged, I can remain confident that God will see my affliction and reward my faithfulness. The Bible says that we should not allow ourselves to suffer for wrong doing but, ďlet those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful CreatorĒ (1 Peter 4:19).
When we are wronged, we commit our souls to God. We have a choice to take matters in our own hands, get angry and fall into self pity, or we commit ourselves to God knowing He has bigger plans for us. When we commit our souls to Him, we have the promise of Psalm 72:
12 For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper.
God is a much better helper for my needs than I can ever be for myself. The Bible tells us that the person who puts their hope in flesh is already cursed, but the person that hopes in the Lord will flourish like a tree by the river even when the hard times come. When life looks like a bowl of sour grapes, stop and remember the promises of God and the plan of God. If you believe God is in control, you can have confidence in His promises and your eternal inheritance when you seem to be missing out. Letís conclude with a promise in scripture that illustrates this clearly. Look at Psalm 37
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore.
28 For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, Nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
Are your steps being ordered by the Lord? They are if you have surrendered to Christ. Did you know that God delights in your way? God will never forsake His saints and you will be blessed when you follow Christ. Your role is simple, ďSeek first the kingdom of God and His righteousnessĒ. His role is to fulfill the rest. Read the passage above again and thing about each phrase. Remember how King Solomon was promised by God to have riches and honor above all before him and after him? People overlook the main point of Godís promise. God honored Solomon because he did not ask for selfish indulgences. Solomon asked for God to give him wisdom and discernment so that he could faithfully fulfill the role God had called him to. God praised Solomon for not asking for long life, wealth, or vengeance on his enemies. Because Solomon did not ask for selfish things, God gave him his request to have wisdom to lead and then gave him riches and honor above all before him. God is counter culture to our human nature. When we seek self-fulfillment, we gain neither self-fulfillment nor do we fulfill our purpose God has called us to. Yet if we seek Godís ways, Godís word, and seek His will in our lives, we will be fulfilled and will never want for anything. Remember the Psalm, ďThe Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not wantĒ. If He is not leading us, we donít have that promise.
If Godís law is in your heart, your steps will not slide; your enemies may seek to destroy you, but the Lord will not leave you in their hand. Keep Godís ways and He will exalt you to inherit the land. Who needs to seek their own good? God eagerly desires to bless our lives, all we need to do is seek Godís Kingdom and fulfill His purpose.
Life isnít fair and we should be thankful that it isnít. If I were given only what I deserve, I would be lacking in everything except condemnation. However, because I am blessed by God, I am given abundantly above what I can think or ask. For those who put their trust in Him, they inherit Godís goodness that exceeds anything we can lose in this life.