God Is In Control During the Financial Crisis
Most of us have been badly shaken by the tumultuous events on Wall Street in recent weeks. If you have an IRA or some kind of retirement plan, no doubt you are licking your wounds. You may even be fearful. I understand. I have experienced those apprehensions myself.
But we need to remember that fear is always the enemy of faith. The financial markets are his. The world is his.
Here is something else to remember: God often uses adversity for his greatest blessings — in several ways in this case. Christians are called to do the best things in the worst of times.
Above all, remember this: God is on his throne. Maybe the "eat, drink, and be merry" attitude of Americans needed a little adjustment — as does the spiritually casual attitude of the church.
Accounting for disaster
The near collapse and buyout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prime examples of Washington corruption. For at least a decade, a few brave politicians have sought to reform these quasi-governmental behemoths, only to be beaten back by political powerbrokers. Why? Because, as they say, money talks.
So while the politicians were busy padding their cozy little nests, the chickens have come home to roost.
The first step in the cleanup is the massive $700 billion plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and passed by the Senate Wednesday night. Of course the people who are steering this plan through Congress are the very characters who brought us this crisis. And they are already looking for political and financial goodies they can hang on to the plan.
I have got a better idea. Those who steered Fannie and Freddie into the ground should return to the taxpayers their ridiculous compensation. And if there was criminality involved—either with corrupt executives or elected leaders—then let's have some indictments.
Cost and opportunity
Meanwhile, across America folks are outraged by the government's rescue plan for the nation's financial system. I understand — $700 billion is a lot of money.
Call it sticker shock. But let's get some perspective. Some estimate that the United States will spend more than $400 billion this year alone on foreign oil. So $700 billion is less than what we will be spending on foreign oil this year and next, putting money in the pockets of the likes of Saudi Arabia (which is an exporter of extremist Wahhabi Islam) and Venezuela (whose volatile leader, Hugo Chavez, makes no bones about hating the U.S.).
As this financial crisis spreads uncertainty throughout the markets and across Main Street, there's another opportunity on the table: the opportunity we Christians have to witness to our neighbors.
How you react to this crisis — in conversations with friends, in helping a family in trouble, in how you live within your means — will speak volumes about the confidence you have in Christ and in the sovereignty of God.
What's in it for me?
On Monday, the House of Representatives surprised its leaders, the administration, and, most of all, the financial community by rejecting the agreed-upon financial rescue plan.
Two-thirds of all Republicans and two-fifths of all Democrats voted against the plan, with predictable results. The markets tanked around the world.
Now to be sure, some opposed the rescue measure on principle. But many who voted against the bill merely reflected the will of their constituencies, who wondered why their money should be used to take other people off the hook.
I can't help but think this illustrates how far we have gone down the path of viewing all politics and all of life as "what's in it for me."