I've consciously avoided writing about everything that is going on with the economy. But, I just can't. I'm certainly not going to talk politics, that is way too controversial - I'll stick with something safer like religion.
The markets are the lowest that they have been in five years. Large institutions have failed. Banks are going under. Unemployment is up. The tight credit market is making it impossible for some businesses to make payroll. The last I saw, and it was a few days ago so the number would be bigger now, more than $3 trillion had evaporated from the stock market. There is world-wide economic unrest and concern. Yesterday it was predicted that the global automobile industry could collapse in 2009. Things are definitely shaky.
Before I go farther, I want to be very clear to say that nothing that I am saying here is downplaying, in any way, the concerns that many people face - people have lost jobs, had their houses foreclosed upon, or are struggling to keep relationships together under the stress of economic difficulties. All of us need to be reaching out to friends and neighbors in these situations. All of us need to be reaching out to strangers in these situations, too.
This morning in working through the materials for our youth small group, I was directed to Haggai 1:6. To me, the passage talks about our inability as people and believers to be satisfied by earthly things. One part of the passage seemed particularly appropriate in light of the developments in the economy - "You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Boy, isn't that the truth.
There are countless passages in the Bible that tell us to put our faith and trust and hope and future in God, rather than earthly things. People are probably familiar with a lot of them - Matthew 6:19-21, 25-33; Isaiah 55:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:8; etc. (Go ahead, take a minute to pull out your Bible and look them up) This morning I was lead to focus on one of them:
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Having that degree of faith is a lot easier said than done. I worry all the time and try to figure out how I can control things to protect myself and my family, to insulate us, to make sure that we are protected from anything bad happening. But, ultimately, I know that I can't do that. So, I draw comfort and strength from the Lord and His promises, which he never fails to keep. I hope that anyone reading this can find such comfort as well. He offers it to all of us. And He does so without judging, or questioning how we got in the situation we are in or where we have been for so long - I know that from personal experience.
We will get through this. I don't pretend to have the answer to the economic mess. Frankly, some of it seems irrational to me. But, we can try to use it as a reminder that at least some of us (myself included at that front of that line) focus the wrong direction. God will meet our needs. In fact, in the most important way of all, He already has. See John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.")
God Bless You, and have a great weekend.