This morning as I was walking in my garden praying, enjoying the cooler morning air I was drawn to a certain banana plant that is growing there. To give you a bit of explanation, bananas grow on a plant that is continually starting new plants around the base of the large one. Typically you find one mature plant with other young ones of different ages around it. The interesting thing about this plant is that there seemed to be three mature plants in one. These three plants all are bearing fruit of a large size--highly unusual. As I looked at the plant I felt I could hear God speaking to me about our lives. What I felt was that this plant was symbolic of the coming year, 2012 for the Britton family. God is going to bring abundance...
Often when someone talks about abundance or prosperity, our minds are drawn to physical wealth. We think of big cars, full bank accounts and large screen televisions. But when living day in and day out with the poorest of the poor, expectations come in a different form. Animist cultures (such as Uganda) typically live life in a state of fear concerning the spirit world, often living a life of appeasement to the spirits before them. The impressions of “God” are of a police officer keeping them in line, where if they get out of line punishment comes. But the Bible paints such a different picture of our God. The Bible tells us that God leads the bound into prosperity and that when we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desire of our hearts (Psalms 68 & 37). For the poorest of the poor they are only hoping to not annoy the spirits, and often can’t imagine God giving them good things. Much of the prosperity message has not left room for other biblical topics like suffering or hardships. The poor of the world have struggled to find themselves within the message and actually believe they are poor because they are cursed or have done something wrong. The problem is not the message of prosperity, but the way we view prosperity, and, for many, the way we view God. God is inherently good and despite our opinion of what it means to prosper, He desires good things for our lives. If we don’t truly believe God is good and has a good plan, when suffering or hardship comes we quickly lose sight of God’s goodness. We question, “what have I done?” and we struggle to trust and believe for a good outcome rather than draw close to Him and feed on His faithfulness (Ps 37) How do you see God? Do you see a good Father who enjoys giving good things to His children (Matthew 7) or are you just hoping to survive?
As God has spoken the word of abundance into my life, I am not so much expecting financial riches (though I won’t refuse). I am expecting an abundance of fruit, a deepening relationship with the God who loves me and along the way having more than enough for my physical needs, enabling me to share with those around me.
Today God used me to deliver a message to our church here in Uganda that I am praying will truly kick start our year. Encouraging our church, which is dominated by the poor and orphans, that God is good and we need to approach Him with that understanding. The understanding of God being a good father (Matt 7) who gives good gifts to His children. Feeling free in his presence to ask for and believe that He will provide good. And to understand that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11), are you willing to seek Him? May 2012 be a year of seeking and finding. A year of God’s provision in all areas of life spiritual, emotional and physical.