This past Wednesday I heard that the unemployment rate will likely rise above 9 (and could even reach 10) percent before the end of the year. With such dark predictions accenting the already gloomy economic landscape, one might be tempted to feel worried and upset. In all likelihood, you yourself have been affected by the rising cost of living and have perhaps suffered a wage reduction or even a layoff. If so, you might be discouraged, anxious, afraid, and even depressed. You might even be angry with your Creator for His having let things come to this point (especially if you’re feeling the financial pinch right now).
But consider for a moment if any of the above are appropriate attitudes. Oh, sure. God sees what’s going on. He knows how tight things are right now and even sees down the road all that awaits us in regard to job security, Social Security, and socialized healthcare. He already knows about future deficits, recession, inflation, and bailouts. He knows if we today are having to tighten our belts and do with less than we used to or if we are even having to do without many of the comforts and luxuries to which we’ve become accustomed. He knows if we’re having to alter our lifestyles and cut back on our more extravagant ideas of entertainment and recreation.
Yes, He knows all about these things. But if we would only sit down with the Scriptures and listen to God’s thoughts on the matter, we will find comfort when so many others can only see this as a very troubling time.
For example, Jesus, God’s Son, said, “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31, 32b, 33 NIV).
In essence, God both knows and cares about your needs. After all, how could He not? He is not only your Creator, but is also your heavenly Father from the moment you first personally receive His Son, Jesus, as your Savior. And while I’ll admit that you’re one of many, many children of God, you are still known to Him by name for His knowledge and memory and love are greater than all the oceans combined and are as limited in height and breadth as the sky above with all its teeming starry hosts. You are known and prized as a precious child of the everlasting God. So why worry? Simply seek first to be an earthly agent of God’s will on earth while you strive to personify His holy character, and watch Him open opportunities and make good on His provisions for you and your family.
If things seem tight for you and your fiscal future is in doubt, remember that He cares for His own. Not only that, but take pleasure in knowing that you are indeed so beloved as His own, that He moves in your life to remind you that there is more to life than getting (and keeping) stuff! “… Man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions…. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom of heaven. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:15b, 32-34 NIV).
If you have found yourself living in what seems to be a financially precarious place, don’t lose yourself to the pursuit of trying to upgrade your lifestyle. But instead thank God for allowing you be in a spot in which you can both truly depend on Him and focus on accruing the “heavenly riches” of introducing the lost to Jesus Christ, encouraging discouraged Christian brothers and sisters in their walk as fellow pilgrims, and focusing yourself upon a genuine and passionate God Who undertook the cross of Calvary for you.
And if you have found yourself in a genuine spot of suffering, having been brought to a place where real pain and loss has not only entered your life but has apparently come to stay, think of Job. Here was a man faithful and true as a follower of God, but singled out for suffering and sorrow. Though devoted to God and faithful in all areas of his life, God permitted him to lose everything (wealth, family, health, and reputation) in order to bring Job to an incredible encounter with Himself! Sometimes God strips good things from us in order to make room for better things.
So… if you’re worried about the economy, take heart. If you’re fretting over the future, take courage. If you’re God’s child through faith in His Son Jesus, take Him at His word: you’re important to the Lord, He has assigned purpose and value to your life, and He takes seriously your needs and the needs of your family.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:3-7 NIV).