Well it’s official. We’re going through bad times. When you hear CNN, Fox News, and other major networks use words like “crisis, never seen it this bad before, no one knows what to do, the bail-out isn’t working,” it’s official. These are bad times.
But remember. There is always an upside of every down time. Here are seven I’ve been pondering. Maybe you can think of more.
1. These good old bad times give us a chance for group humility. Let’s face it. We Americans pride ourselves on our ingenuity, our know-how, and our can-do spirit. We’re educated and we’re proud of it. All of our education and organization has led us to this place where we’ve lost trillions of dollars worth of value in markets across the board in a short period of time. Let’s face it. It’s time for repentance and acknowledging that we’re not as smart as we thought we were. This could be a good thing because it helps us appreciate the things that we overlook when we’re going too fast and making too much money. Humility is a thing God values and places a high priority on. He says that He raises up the humble and brings down the proud.
2. These good old bad times explode the illusion of command and control. It’s an illusion if you think you are in control of the world and that you can command things to right themselves. It’s the old illusion of power. Power is a good thing, but it’s a limited thing.
3. These good old bad times break us of the belief that more money solves all things. The 700 billion dollar bail-out was supposed to be a cure-all and the markets were bound to turn around and bounce back immediately. That hasn’t happened. Money doesn’t solve all things. The Scriptures teach us that it’s illusive, that it promises one thing and delivers another. Those who love money and depend on it are always disappointed. Surely we know this by now, but will we remember it?
4. These good old bad times provide us a great moment to start over smarter. Maybe you’ve lost your job, your company, your house, or maybe everything. And it’s a terrible thing, but it’s not the end of all things. Remember the Scriptures warn us that we come into this world with nothing and we’ll go out with nothing. So starting over smarter is not the end of the world. As a matter of fact, it gives you a chance to free yourself up of a lot of baggage that you gather over the years in building a business, a career, or just about any other thing. Starting over smarter, leaner, and with a simpler approach can be a blessing.
5. These good old bad times call us back to the basics. We have two epic struggles going on: greed and fear at war with faith and hope. There are those who believe the economy runs on greed and when it won’t run on greed, it runs on fear. And yet there are those of us who believe that God created the world to respond to two more epic important and redemptive forces: faith and hope. Faith in our God, not in our institutions, or the value of the dollar; and hope that God isn’t done with us; that He is still here working, bringing about His purposes, building His Kingdom which has as its themes, redemption, restoration, reconciliation, and renewal. These are our marching orders. These are the basics of a life well-lived. Each and every day, faith and hope always win.
6. These good old bad times give us a chance to recognize that we need each other. There aren’t enough assets, money, insurance, or securities to make us islands all to ourselves. It’s during bad times and down times, it’s at the time of loss that the tribe of the Christian faith is at its best. Christianity has always faltered in prosperity and always blossomed in tragedy. This is our opportunity as Christians, instead of forcing our way through political mandate, winning the day by standing up as a voice of sanity, love, grace, hope, and redemption. Will we seize it?
7. These good old bad times give us a chance to read what we’ve written on our money, “In God We Trust.” At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about – trust. Can you trust your institutions? No. Can you trust your government? No. Can you trust your investments? No. Can you trust your 401k, that it will be there when you need it? No. Can you trust your health? No. Can you trust the ebb and flow of financial markets? No. But can you trust God, the creator and sustainer of all things? And to that we say a resounding, “Yes.”