I must admit that when the stock market fell through the floor last week and has continued to falter, I was seriously concerned about my retirement funds and had some anxiety at the thought of what our monthly statement would say when it came in the mail. I know I’m not alone here. One look at the media attention given to the issue is evidence enough that the hemorrhaging market is putting hoards of people on edge about what the future holds.
Another source of anxiety for a lot of folks is the number of “end times” theories out there with many of them set to be fulfilled very soon (several of them at some point this month!) Some of these theories are very compelling and some are rather off the wall, but like it or not, they get a lot of attention and have lots of people nervous about the future.
Two big items. Truck loads of nervous people. One very unknown future. What do we do with that? I mean, seriously…everyone you talk to has a different idea about what should be done from a personal level all the way up to global economics and leadership, but which theory is right? Is “Doctor Who” right about humanity surviving for millions of years despite our fear of annihilation or is the world really going to end on the 28th of this month? If the s*** really does hit the fan, who’s idea is going to be the one that carries me safely through?
Whether you love or hate Christianity, you must admit that the Bible speaks often on the topics of money and the world’s end. Like it or not, there is a lot of wisdom to be explored there. One of the issues, however, is that it wouldn’t take you long to get really confused by the thousands of interpretations out there for the Biblical end times scriptures. Right at this very moment there are thousands of Christians (I am sure we have plenty here locally in Colorado Springs) pulling all their money from the market and putting it “under the mattress” with the belief that they are being faithful to God. Understandably, they say, “We have studied, researched, and prayed ceaselessly. All the signs are in place, my faith is strong, and taking action to ensure the safety of my family is not only right, but also responsible.” How can you argue with that? Still, I am left wondering if things are not that simple.
In his book “Good or God?”, John Bevere discusses the concept of how many good and wise things in this world might actually be wrong because they don’t line up with God’s will. An interesting concept, don’t you think? God asks his followers to put their absolute trust in Him; that obedience comes from putting our hope in Him. The idea seems simple enough, but how do we actually manifest that belief? With all the confusion, how do I know God’s true will vs. the world’s wisdom? Am I more obedient if I have faith that the end times are soon upon us and I take reasonable protective action, or if I simply have faith that God will carry me through whatever comes my way and surrender my fear of the future to him? Am I a fool for not protecting my money, retirement, and family’s future when I had the chance, or am I a fool for not trusting God to take care of it and see me though? It seems that we need to flesh out the deeper levels of trust in order to get a clear picture of what aspects of trust work and don’t work.
Try to think of someone in your life that you trust completely, who is reliable, truthful, and safe. I’m guessing you can think of at least one or two people that fit the bill most of the time, but would agree that none of them are perfectly reliable, truthful, or safe all the time. You might even think of God, whom we “should” believe is perfectly trust worthy, and admit you don’t believe he is perfectly reliable or safe either. The point is that our perception of trust is fundamentally skewed from our absolute foundation. No one in this world can look at all the people around them, even God, and say, “I have never doubted you even for a second.” How then are we supposed to put our full trust in God?
I believe the answer is found in faith. Faith is what allows a human being to engage with things they don’t understand. Faith is what opens up the possibility for light to shine on dark and strange places (like our future). Faith has the power to make fear powerless, giving us a fighting chance to see ourselves and our world rightly. Faith allows for trust that doesn’t make any sense. Seen in this light, taking corrective action on my future starts to take on a new form because I can see where I might be acting within my own power to save myself and my family, rather than trusting in God’s power to get my family and I to the other side safely.
In our relationship with God, we have three jobs: Worship Him, do His will for us as best we know how, and put in the work of having a genuine relationship with Him. If I am missing any of those aspects, my faith, my trust, and my sanity falter much worse than the Dow Jones.
Put your faith in God, accept Jesus Christ as your actual savior, and watch the fear of your future disappear. For those who have had some version of faith for a long time, this is usually the hardest for you. Refresh your faith. Break down, cry, beat your fists, get honest with God, and do what you must to gain a fresh trust and faith in God and watch Him become everything he promised to you.
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