Blessings on the Lord's Day!
We have never hung around the "prosperity Gospel" wing of Christianity. Growing up in rural eastern Nebraska, I learned a very different posture. Don't show off your stuff. Too much. Don't tell your friends at school that your parents just bought a new car. When we drive it to church the first time, don't show it to anyone. Pretend it dropped from the sky and your family had no choice, didn't know. Walk past and pretend not to notice.
Funny, since everybody I knew thought buying a new car was the coolest thing anybody could ever do or aspire to.
But there's a big shake-up going on around the country. Lots of people losing jobs, facing financial trouble, applying for food stamps for the first time. And the crest of the wave probably is months or years off. Read more about the local scale of it at: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/david/sarasohn/index.ssf/2009/03/a_new_wave_of_food_stamp_appli.html.
(Sorry if the above link only gets you to the newspaper website. Click on the name David Sarasohn, and it will be the second featured story.)
Sooner or later, the prosperity Gospel that seemed to work so well during the housing bubble is bound to prove to be a hoax to a few fervent practitioners of it. Maybe God isn't so much trying to "teach us a lesson", as we often want to think when someone suffers, but to plant the seeds of a different way of life in which no one does well unless all do. And that means having more of what we honestly need, not having ever more of what it's possible to want. There is a difference.
I like the way Rob Bell puts it in his short film OPEN. God wants to involve us in the answer to prayer. As Bell says, "Don't ask God to feed a hungry person if you have plenty of food."
Could God be up to a different kind of prosperity than we had imagined or hoped for?
I hope so.