I finished my classes yesterday around 8:50 pm. Walking to my car, I was almost overwhelmed by the beauty of the environment around me. The air was clear, the sun was setting, the temperature was a perfect 68-70ish…and Western’s campus is beautiful anyways, regardless of the day.
Whenever I become particularly enchanted by my environment, a song lyric comes to mind which has always been impressed upon my heart since I heard it. It’s from a Caedmon’s Call song by Derek Webb called “Faith My Eyes”, from the album 40 Acres.
But I get turned around
I mistake some happiness for blessing
But I’m blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I’m dressing
That part about “I mistake some happiness for blessing” continues to return to my heart, gently reminding me to be careful not to assume my spiritual life is perfect merely because my environment seems to be.
Times of prosperity do not necessarily indicate God’s blessing. As we see in the Psalms, this is one of David’s struggles:
For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
In his case, this struggle was about interpreting the blessing of his enemies. Why did God allow it? Only he knows. It isn’t just the Osteens of the world who make us believe that prosperity equals God’s favor…it’s something deeply embedded in our hearts. Certainly God favors those who trust him, but that doesn’t mean we’ll always be able to track that favor by watching our bank account, our social lives, or the weather.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. (Ps. 37:7)
…The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. (29)
…I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.
Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright;
For the man of peace will have a posterity. (35-37)
The exhortation here is to trust in the Lord, thereby making your conduct righteous regardless of circumstance. This is the one, certain way to ensure an eternal reward. Though we or someone else may “Spread himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil”, the ultimate measure of a person is not the present blessing he experiences, but the alignment of his soul.