He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)
How should God’s people respond to economic downturns? It would seem like now is a good time to ask because the investment markets and housing industry and world news has been pretty negative for several months. Sadly, it is not just a few who are losing homes and jobs and retirement accounts.
I had a unique experience years ago which gave me a little bit different perspective on hard times. My marriage was ending and the timing seemed pretty unfortunate in natural terms in light of the things I was facing. I needed to enter the job market and I would be doing so with few marketable skills. Therefore my options would be limited anyhow – even without high unemployment.
Actually I didn’t know that right away. I was too busy dealing with survival. I also had just surrendered my life to God totally and was in my infancy learning about faith and God’s promises. As we will see, that is often to the good; at least it was in my case.
I remember the day I sensed God released me to move back to my home city and start a new life. I had prayed for the right timing, not wanting to move until God said so. After all, I had made a pretty big mess of my life before by doing things my way instead of his. When “NOW” came I was terribly scared and terribly excited.
I spoke to my sister-in-law on the phone about my plan and she gave me the economic lowdown. “It’s too bad this is happening for you now with the job market so bad. There are really no jobs.” She then proceeded to tell me about several professional people she knew who couldn’t get any work at all. Even THEM – the highly skilled. Yikes!
After that I paid attention to the news reports and they weren’t positive to say the least. Still, I was not deterred. First of all, I had no choice and second I had a secret weapon. God loved me and I trusted him and my life was no longer my responsibility. If he was ready for me to move, he must have something good awaiting me.
I reasoned all that out as I drove along with my two little girls in their car seats in the back. I just knew there was a job for me even if every other person on the planet couldn’t get one. Finding it might be a little scary and I didn’t relish the process but I trusted the results.
If I would have been farther along in God’s Word I might have claimed: “I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) But though I had not yet heard of that, I knew its truth in my heart.
Just like I thought, the process was not so much fun. But miraculously I had a job offer within two weeks of my move. It wasn’t just a ho-hum job either. I could never have imagined how good a job God had prepared for me. I even got a company car.
I found myself thinking about all this again recently when bad economic reports started coming in one after another. Consumer confidence was slipping but rather than feel a tad tense, I felt a little boost of anticipation in my soul. If things were sliding downward in the natural, would God rise up for his people in supernatural ways? I believe the answer is YES.
Trust Your Source
The number one priority in recession proofing your life is to fix your heart on trusting the Lord like Psalm 112:7 says. When I first started my walk with him I was to new in it to be cynical or doubtful about God’s promises. Things were uncomplicated. If God’s Word said it I believed it. That simple trust enabled me to keep my eyes on him instead of circumstances.
Is your job in jeopardy? Your job is not your true source of income, God is.
Did the Stock Market sweep away much of what you were relying on for retirement? The Stock Market is not your source of retirement, God is.
Are you in danger of losing your house or car or other possessions? God is your shelter – he is responsible for where you lay your head if you have surrendered your life to him.
Are you without health care insurance with a health care need? Doctors and hospitals aren’t your source of health; God is. “My times are in Thy hand.” (Psalm 31:15)
I’m not being naïve or trivializing what can happen. I’m not saying that bad things can’t happen to God’s people. I’m also not saying that the process won’t be difficult. There may be things God will require of you as you navigate a tough road.
This is especially true if you foolishly played a part in the tightening of your own circumstances. Such as? Did you overspend? Make an unwise loan? Put your job in jeopardy by your work ethic? If this is true for you and you can now see your foolish ways, turn back to the Lord and repent. Lay it all at his feet and start over again, this time trusting only in HIM.
Tough Times – Best Times
In a certain way, tough times are the best times. For me it has always seemed that my direst circumstances signaled his best work. When all human resources are removed, we usually finally look up to our only real resource - God. With that in mind we do not need to be afraid of poor economic times, whether they call it recession or even depression.
Anyhow, no matter what THEY say, here is what God says which will never fail: “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
Now read Hard Times Part 2 for some practical stategies in navigating difficult economic times.