“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” —
1 Corinthians 2:9
Oracle’s Larry Ellison dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died, and held odd jobs for eight years. His net worth: $41 billion (as of September 2013).
Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African-American TV correspondent in Nashville, Tennessee. Her net worth: $2.9 billion (as of September 2013).
What we call a challenging and sometimes hard life, God calls preparation. We’ve learned that when we do consistent repetitions of putting extra weight and stress on our muscles, it helps us to get the desired results of a stronger, more attractive body. But when it comes to dealing with our spiritual health, sometimes we have to go through the fire so we can come out as pure gold.
Have you ever wondered why you went through what you went through and still came out all right? Oftentimes, we see others go through similar situations and begin to curse the very God who blessed them in the first place. It’s amazing that two people can be raised in the same house, same parents, same church, same income, same area, but as God prepares them, one draws closer to God and the other turns to drugs, alcohol and other vices to try and make it through.
The Bible gives us clear examples with Cain and Abel and the prodigal son. Cain worshiped God with a rebellious offering and continued in sin by murdering his brother, while Abel gave the best of the best and was excited about his gift. The prodigal son wanted everything right now. He took and wasted the best that his father had to offer, then found himself returning home with nothing. He didn’t want to go through the process, but the process of preparation helps us to become good stewards of the blessings God has afforded us.
In Job, we see a man whom God allows to be directly attacked by Satan. He is an example of faithfulness as he loses everything important to him yet remains faithful to God. Its purpose is to illustrate God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during a time of great suffering. In the end, Job answers God by saying, “I have declared that which I did not understand.” God then blessed Job with twice as much as he had before his trials began.
Many of us can testify that we’ve been through the fire, but God has never forsaken us nor allowed us to be found begging for bread. That’s how we understand that our soul has been anchored in the Lord and that everything that looks good to us ain’t good for us! He’s preparing us to minister to nations, lead the choir, take over the ministry, train up godly children, play instruments before great men, financially bless the ministry, cover my pastor, minister to my husband, minister to my wife. Stand! Continue to walk with God as he prepares you for your future in him.
Hayes is the pastor of New Day Community Church and president of the United Ministerial Alliance.