I once heard an older pastor recount an incident in his ministry when he was meeting with a man and a woman involved in an illicit affair. The man had a wife and two children but said he was in love with this other woman and the two of them had been “struggling in prayer” over whether or not it was “God’s will” for him to leave his wife and children so the two of them could get married.
“I can tell you right now what God’s will for you is,” the old pastor replied without hesitation. “God’s will is that you leave this woman, go home, and be a husband to your wife and a father to your children.”
A man abandoning his wife and children for another woman is so obvious a transgression of God’s law that it takes little, if any, effort to discern “God’s will” in the matter. The man may claim he is “struggling in prayer,” but the wise and godly counselor will have little time for such false piety.
Godly counsel is rarely, if ever, pleasant to the ears of persons merely seeking affirmation for ungodly endeavors. David, after railing in righteous indignation when Nathan told him of the rich man who stole and slaughtered the poor man’s ewe lamb, hardly expected the next words out of the prophet’s mouth to be, “Thou art the man!”
David had committed a most egregious sin, lying with and impregnating another man’s wife and arranging for the murder of the man in order to cover up the deed. He repented after Nathan’s rebuke, even penning Psalm 51 as one of his several acts of contrition.
David could count it a blessing that he had in his court a prophet whose first allegiance was to God, and not to him. Nathan was willing to tell David something David did not want to hear. The prophet courageously confronted the king and called him to account for his sin.
Kings and princes, presidents and governors have often sought counsel on matters spiritual from persons of a spiritual inclination. The best of such counselors have been those who, like Nathan, have never forgotten their first allegiance is to God, and not to any human authority. The worst have been those who have forgotten this and simply given affirmation to and massaged the ego of the person in power.
President Donald Trump needs someone advising him on matters spiritual who is unlike him in every way; someone who will speak to him honestly and courageously, unafraid to look him in the eye, when necessary, and say, “Thou art the man!”
The president’s reliance on the counsel of prosperity preacher Paula White is cause for great concern. For a position of such significance, Trump has chosen someone who is like him in every way.
Like Trump, she is thrice married and twice divorced.
Like Trump, she has gained notoriety more from being a celebrity and friend of celebrities than from being a legitimate person of substance in her field.
Like Trump, she has built her fortune by convincing gullible people to invest in questionable financial deals that often turn out to be scams and confidence games.
Suffice it to say, this is not a person who needs to be anywhere near the nation’s chief executive.
The landscape of American religion, although somewhat more fallow than in years past, nevertheless still offers a rich field of pastors, priests, and prayer warriors who can provide the mature, wise, and godly counsel the president undoubtedly needs.
Sadly, he will not be getting such counsel from Paula White.