There are no simple answers, there are no immediate cures. As is true in any question in life, there are two sides to every question. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, where our ancestors decided to pursue the Wisdom of God through disobedience, we have had the knowledge of good and evil implanted into our beings. However, there is no guarantee that we will choose good.
We have been trained by our TV shows that any problem can be resolved in 60 minutes, well, 48 minutes and many commercials. And perhaps this is where the problem lies. We are trying to solve our problems from a human perspective. Paul tells us otherwise: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Are you conformed to the world and its ways of thinking? If so, your trust in your 401(K) and your elected representatives inWashingtonDC. Those decisions will interact and not always in a positive way. First of all, many people determine their financial lives by the Dow Jones Industrial Averages (DJI) Those averages are based upon 30 stocks selected out of, literally, thousands of stocks that are on the market. There are several more indexes that may give a more balanced outlook.
Those who had their trust in the stock market are the ones who were diving out of windows in 1929.
Having spent almost 50 years in finances, I have seen all the ups and downs of each market. I have argued for and against the stock market when I was selling fixed interest life policies, then I argued for it when I was selling variable life policies. What I found was that each point of view had some really good arguments for it and some really good arguments against.
Then, Jesus, the Light of the World, came into my life and showed me where my real safety and confidence should be. When I had my conversion, I began to lose sales that I had made with ease in my early years of my career. I was using the same selling skills, better products, and had been taught motivational skills that I had not previously had. But, God had a different plan for my life.
I proceeded to go thousands of dollars into debt. I even thought of selling my house and, in the back of my mind, had even considered bankruptcy. However, being the father of five, neither option appealed to me because of the uprooting of my family and the violation of personal values I would have to suffer.
So, “when all else failed, I prayed.” Low and behold, God heard my prayers. “How bad was it?” My life situation got so bad that one morning I woke up and said to God, “Okay, you have me right where you want me. I have no money in my savings account. I have no money in my checking account. Do you know what? I do not even have any money in my pocket. I am literally broke. You have said you would not abandon me, so I am going to go to the office, and you are going to have to show me some way to get out of this mess.” I left and went to the office. About10:00 AM, a fellow worker with whom I was not particularly friendly with, poked his head into my office and said, “Do you have a luncheon appointment?” I said that I did not, but was too proud to tell him I didn’t have any money either. He said, “Let’s go get a bite to eat.”
Now, in sales, it is a cardinal sin for two salesmen to eat lunch together because neither is going to buy from the other. But, I had no choice. When the check came, I was really anxious to save face, so I was going to put my lunch on my credit card with the excuse, “I am building up frequent flyer miles.” My friend picked up both checks and said, “Tell you what, why don’t you let me buy you lunch today.” He had no idea what he had done. But, I said a silent prayer, “Okay, Lord, I think I get the message. I can trust in you to provide for me.”
If, on August 2nd, theUnited Statesdefaults on it’s payments and is embarrassed around the world, that will make me sad, but it will not affect my life. If Standard and Poor’s or any other rating system lowers the credit rating of theUnited States, it will not affect me because I do not have any debts. I obeyed God and paid them off. If my IRA or my wife’s 401(K) loses 50%, it will be disappointing, but not devastating.
You see, in 1972, I turned my will, my family, my finances and all that I have over to God and asked only for more of His love to give to other people. I do not need what the world has to offer me. The world does need what He offers to them. You see, when I pray about the things I need to do daily, I rely on Jesus’ promise, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” John 16:33.
It is difficult to listen to the Lord and not to the world. However, I have one thing the world with all its financial gurus, talking heads, and economic forecasters cannot have: peace. My God can not fail.