The news is filled with the coronavirus and questions about our nation’s economic future. Who could’ve imagined that such a long-time stable country could be in such an uncertain state? With most all of us directly or at least indirectly affected by the struggling economy, it is critical to think rightly about the situation.
It is not my purpose to analyze the causes of the current crisis. I am well aware of the variety of opinions about who’s responsible for all of the uncertainty. My purpose is to offer counsel about how you can respond to the uncertain future of the country.
A good place to begin is humility. Life is not nearly as certain as you thought it was. Less than ten weeks ago the money was pouring in and the nation was a bedrock of security. Thousands and thousands of employers and employees had all of their lives mapped out. Now those plans aren’t so secure.
One response to the uncertainty is often to play the blame game. “If only, he or she had been elected or done this or that….” “It’s all so and so’s fault.” But remember, all of life is in the hands of a great big sovereign God. Assuming that you’ve ever got your entire future figured out is foolishness and pride according to the Bible.
Jesus told the story of a very rich man, with big plans for the future. “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
James also offers potent warnings against presumption and pride. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).
It is not just about having a job, your very life is in God’s hands. If you have been living without consideration of God’s larger will, you should repent of your arrogance right now.
Another good response to the future of the United States is to trust God. He is powerful, wise, and good. Behind every decision of every dollar in our economy and every virus microbe lies God’s master plan. While you can’t know the future, you can rest in the one who does.
A tapestry is beautiful to look at. But when you turn the tapestry over, you find chaotic cords of color and knots flying every direction. From our perspective our economy and our nation’s future may look like that chaos of cords. From God’s perspective all of life is countless strands being masterfully woven together into a beautiful work of art. Even the ugly knots are part of his larger beautiful plan.
God cares about you. He promises to provide for all those that look to him. Anxiety gives you nothing but knots in your stomach, and it is a sin against God. Trusting God leads to peace in the midst of the chaos.
Jesus said, “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:30-33).
Mix in prayer along with your trust. Yes, God already knows all about it, but he tells you to pray anyway. I think that’s partially because he wants you to know that he knows all about it, and that he is at work in the midst of it.
Philippians 4:6-7 offers one of my favorite promises in the Bible. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God wants you to roll your burdens off of your heart onto his. Peter charges you to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Pray for your concerns. Pray for the decision makers in our government. Pray for the grocery store product availabilities and prices. Pray for a better job, if you need. Be sure to include thanksgivings in your prayers. But by all means pray. Don’t be so proud as to think you have everything all figured out. The uncertainty of our country’s future is pretty clear. Let’s humble ourselves and seek God’s help.
Even if you have not been directly affected by the downturn, I hope you will also pray for those who are being affected. We are all in this together.
God can change any nation in a day. He is working in millions of different ways in the lives of all those affected by the economy and the coronavirus. He could easily turn your life upside down tomorrow. Right now, please stop and pray for someone you know impacted by the virus, job loss, or underemployment.
I have great hopes that God will hear the prayers of those calling out to him on our world’s behalf. I think the future could be very bright indeed. In the meantime, however, a whole lot of people are being tempted to become proud, bitter, and worry. Be one of the ones that humbly trusts God and prays for our president, governor, and other decision makers in Washington and Atlanta. You have a wonderful opportunity to shine as a bright light in a dark circumstance.
By John Crotts