Advent: Day 14
Haggai 2:9, Revised Standard Version
It’s always dangerous to take Scripture out of context and say, “This is what it means.”
But sometimes I like to court danger, so today I’m going to lift a snippet of Scripture right out of context and play with it: “in this place I will give prosperity.”
I don’t have the authority to say to my readers, “This is what it means.”
But I do have the authority to speak from experience and say, “This is what it means to me.”
I teach in a school in a remote area of the United States. It’s hard for me to be “in this place.” I have a long litany of complaints, but let me focus on just one: The principal gives lip service to supporting teachers, but in practice some teachers get thrown under the proverbial school bus.
Friday Mrs. D, the teacher-advisor for student council, received an e-mail from the principal, saying that she was no longer allowed to ask one of the office staff to make the nearly 100-mile round-trip to the nearest town for snacks to sell at basketball games, even though this has been the practice for many years at this school.
Mrs. D demanded, and got, an audience with the principal. “I don’t have time to make that trip. If you don’t let Ms. So-and-So help me, I’m not going run student council anymore.”
“Fine,” the principal said. And that was that. Mrs. D is no longer the faculty advisor for student council.
I have other complaints as well, but as I sit here thinking about them, the words of the Advent Scripture keep interrupting me: “…in this place I will give prosperity.”
Wherever “this place” is, God is able and willing to give prosperity. The place may be a prison. It may be a hospital bed. Or it may be a school nearly 50 miles from the nearest town, a school with an unsupportive administrator.
The place may also be an unemployment line, or a house that’s about to be lost to foreclosure, or a marriage that no longer seems tenable.
Every one of us has been in “this place.” It goes by different names, but we’ve all been here.
And it is precisely here—not somewhere else—that God promises prosperity.
If I am quiet and open my eyes, I will see the prosperity of God, what one of the New Testament writers calls “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” right where I am. In this place.