Monday, September 29, 2008

Why am I not so worried?

Maybe it's because I am not an economic wiz-kid, maybe it's because I never bought a house at subprime rates, or any rate for that matter.  Maybe I'm callous and live on the fringes of society just looking in and watching all the newscasters blather about the way the country and the world is teetering on the brink of disaster, and I think, "Hmmm, that's too bad.  Now what was that new recipe I just saw on Food Network?"

I know, I must sound terribly irresponsible to care so little about the impending crisis, that we all may be lined up at soup kitchens begging for crusts of bread like in the Great Depression when the stock market crashed in 1929.  I actually do care very much about the future of my country, about people who may end up suffering terribly because of greedy financial institutions and politicians.  I care that our future is so unsure, especially with the upcoming elections that could cause the US to turn an even sharper corner into who knows what territory.

But there's a part of me that knows that no matter what, I have God as my security, even in tough times.  I can just see people rolling their eyes and thinking "Yeah, right, another religious cliche like all the other fanatics," but I tell you, it's a knowledge that's been tested through time and experience.  

Sometimes it takes extreme measures to bring out the best of our faith and the best of our character.  When we're stretched to our limits, we start to realize just what is important and what is not, and I know through the many ups and downs and twists of my own journey, I have learned to throw aside a lot of junk that I once thought I could never part with, only to be so graciously blessed beyond what I deserved afterwards. 

If you've ever gone through that phase of life where you had no choice but to sacrifice - either sacrifice doing what's right to do what's comfortable, or sacrifice what's comfortable for what's right - you'll know what I mean.  Making the sacrifice to do what's right hurts like crazy, and you feel like a part of you is dying.  And in fact it is dying: that part of you that loves yourself a little too  much.  But you let it go, and you understand that the pain is as necessary as lancing a boil.  The relief and joy that comes after the pain is amazing.  All of a sudden your life is lighter, simpler, clearer.  You are made acutely aware that life is more than what you want to have, but that it's about obedience to God.  And that is more empowering than any amount of possessions can buy. 

I have the audacity to believe that a financial meltdown can turn into a real spiritual awakening.  If that's what it takes to get people to surrender their lives to God, it's worth it - even with all the pain.  I grieve for the state of the US, and I'm not talking about Wall Street, but the way that God is rapidly disappearing from a land that was once a beacon of faith generations ago.  The security and strength of any country is directly linked to the strength of it's people's relationship to God and if we have to bleed a little, that's OK.  God is bigger than global markets, and when He is given a chance to bless, He blesses.  It's up to us to give Him that room.  After all, no sacrifice, no success.