"Let the Lord be exalted, who delights in the prosperity of his servant." Psalm 35:27
What is prosperity? Is it threads of life weaved into a bright outcome? a full cup? ample riches? worldly applause? an unbroken circle? No! these are often a snare; received without gratitude; dimming the soul to its nobler destinies.
Often spiritually, it rather means God taking us by the hand into the lowly valleys of humiliation; leading us as He did His servant Job of old; out of his sheep, oxen, camels, health, wealth, children; in order that we may be brought before Him in the dust and say, "Blessed be His holy name!"
Yes! The very reverse of what is generally known in the world as prosperity forms the background on which the rainbow of promise is seen. God smiles on us through these rainbows and teardrops of sorrows! He loves us too well. He has too great an interest in our spiritual welfare to permit us to live on in what is misnamed "prosperity." When He sees duties languidly performed or coldly neglected, the heart deadened, and love to Himself congealed by the absorbing power of the present world, he then puts a thorn in our nest to drive us to the wing and prevent our being grovelers forever!
I may not be able now to understand the mystery of these dealings. I may be asking through the tears, "Why this unkind arrest on my earthly happiness? Why so premature a lopping of my boughs of promise? Why such a speedy withering of my most cherished gourd?" The answer is plain. It is your soul's prosperity which He has in view. Believe it--your true Ebenezers will yet be raised close by your Zarephaths (the place of furnace).
His afflictions are not arbitrary appointments. There is righteous necessity in all that He does. As He lays His chastening hand upon you and leads you by ways you know not and which you never would have chosen, He whispers the gentle accents in your ear, "Beloved I wish above all things that you would prosper, even as your soul prospers."
Rest in the quiet consciousness that all is well. Murmur at nothing which brings you nearer to His own loving Presence. Be thankful for your very cares, because you can confidently cast them all upon Him. He has both your temporal and eternal "prosperity" too much at heart to appoint one superfluous pang, one needless stroke. Commit therefore, all that concerns you to His safe keeping, and leave it there!
- John MacDuff