God cares in our economic depression

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 17, 2009

We are all aware that our country is in the worst economic depression we have experienced for more than 75 years. Some symptoms in our area include 13 Calera city employees laid off this week, scores having been laid off from local industries, and the State of Alabama projecting this week a billion plus budget shortfall, which will cause some school employees to lose their jobs. From retailers to carpenters, the hit is being severely felt. Our President-elect Obama has warned that our depression will worsen before there will be a turnaround and that huge and immediate government intervention is essential before conditions worsen beyond recovery. We all will be affected to some degree and for many years to come.

That’s enough, now, about the reality of our depression. I believe the Lord is leading me to write a short series of articles on the theme: “The Bible and Our Economic Depression.” I want to begin with a positive emphasis on “God Cares in Our Economic Depression.”

God cares about us as the symptoms of loss, fear, anxiety and stress relating to physical and material needs become personal and real. I summarize God’s care in two sentences. (1) The whole Bible emphasizes God’s special love for those in an economic depression crisis: widows, orphans, aliens, the poor, the needy, the hungry, the homeless, the friendless, those with income losses and other depression focus groups. (2) The Bible relates a right relationship with God to the assurance that our essential needs will be met. Now, understand what I said in that last sentence. A right relationship with God will never mean economic depression hardships will not come to you; only that essential bodily needs will be attained.

God’s care about your essential needs and his promise to provide is summarized in Matthew 6:19-34. First, Jesus reminds us that things we may be depending on like employment, income, savings, investments and material/physical things can be removed, lost, taken away from us. Then He assures us there are lasting possessions through a right relationship with God that neither depression nor whatever causes depression can touch. Next, He said it once and repeated it for emphasis that we should not worry nor be anxious about the necessities of life: food, clothes and shelter.

Rather, we are to concentrate on trust and obedience toward God, who promises to do so and will provide our necessities.

I was encouraged this week as I read again about a segment of Abraham’s journey. He named the mount on which he had his greatest trial, “God Will Provide” (See Genesis 22:14). I immediately looked back on the journey Louise and I have traveled. I remembered that we lived in an abandoned rural schoolhouse for nine months. I “toted” water from a neighbor’s house. We had to go down in the woods to the old school house pit toilet. But the name of the place was “God Will Provide.” I remembered the time with a sick wife, two little children and no employment or income. The name of that time was “God will provide.” I remembered the last great economic depression of 1931-34. I was the youngest in a family of nine on a poor sand hill farm in Houston County. While people were losing their farms and houses, the name of our hill was “God Will Provide.” Pray, be willing to do any kind of work, believe God and his promises, adjust to necessities only and God will provide.

In Psalm 37:25, the man after God’s own heart said: “I have been young and now am old; yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”