Can I be honest?
The past week has been a struggle. We are facing an elephant-sized amount of financial support to raise, and despite having been off campus working full-time on developing additional support, we have a net gain of around (negative) 100 bucks per month this month. It has felt insurmountable at times, and we have struggled with trusting God.
But as I was driving back from Fall Getaway (the only on-campus activity of the semester), I was confronted—no, accosted—by a strong sense of hope. See, I’m more sure than ever that I am called to be on staff with this organization. I am so excited about what God is doing on campus, and how He is continually, relentlessly, mercifully taking me to the gospel. I have a clear vision for where we are going, just not how we are getting there.
These economic times (a phrase I wish were retired, or at least made past tense) have meant a sense of panic in America. To compound that, the predominantly fiscally conservative culture in which I have most of my doings has reached fever pitch over the national transfer of power to the left-minded. People are terrified, if that’s a strong enough word. And the news media is loving it. The more they stir up the blood pressure, the more their advertisers pay to put their logo just to the left of the “Meltdown” graphic. (This segment of panicked rhetoric and over-dramatization is brought to you by Sears. “Come experience the softer side of Sears.”)
Listening to conservative talk radio is baffling to the point of humorous, as you’ll hear minor-key melodramatic advertisements urging investors to buy gold, or seed packets, or underground bunkers.
What drives the panic? Lack of perspective.
When I panic over how we are going to stay on staff in light of our current financial support, it means I’ve lost perspective on who is in charge.
When you panic because you fear the ramifications of a liberal policy (or a conservative policy), or because your 401(k) is looking more like a 200.5(k), it means the same thing: you’ve lost perspective on who is in charge.
Despite what some politicians (or marketers) might have you believe, the office of the presidency was never designed to save you. Free market capitalism governed by personal moral restraint, though I think it’s biblical, is not designed to save you.
A full bank account, and a surplus of money coming in each month is not designed to save me. As soon as we give saving power to anyone or anything in our lives, we’ve missed the gospel.
Let me be clear and say I am not suggesting a carefree, naive approach to what are certainly weighty issues. I am not suggesting that I should stop aggressively pursuing raising support, or that you should ignore the politicians and what’s going on in the country. Issues like public healthcare are worth discussing and debating. They are just not worth panicking over. Panic indicates that you are trusting in that subject to be your salvation.
As Christians, we should only panic if God is in danger of no longer being sovereign. Hope, for the believer, is not some wishful thinking where we cross our fingers and think positive thoughts. Hope (that force that accosted me on the road back from Lake Wylie) is based on who God is, and what he has done. Jesus didn’t say “it is almost finished, except for that part that will be finished once _____________ happens” (fill in the blank with things like a full bank account, your particular brand of legislation making it through congress, your kid turning out to be a preacher, or doctor, or fisherman…) He said “It is finished.” As believers, we can be assured that, no matter what happens in the meantime, it is all going to be all right in the end. This life is as close to hell as we will ever get.
When we have weeks that are a struggle to latch onto God, we can rest assured that it wasn’t his grip that loosened. He’s never let go. And praise the Lord his saving me isn’t based on my ability to keep my grasp on it.