Pray, Go, Give Blog

Finding Peace in an Anxious Time.

(11 comments)

The anxiety level is pretty high these days over the state of the economy and political change.  Thankfully we are not dealing with economic and political conflicts at the scale of many countries around the world. Here many people are losing  their jobs and asset wealth but not their lives. The way people view their future and anticipate their financial state is in the process of major adjustment.  On the political front there are politicians that are taking advantage of the crisis to introduce new social order via the "Shock Doctrine".  Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said the economic crisis facing the country is "an opportunity for us". "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."  The one two punch of economic and systemic political change in the U.S. has some hopeful, others confused, and some afraid.  I would love to hear about how you are processing all this. Here are my latest musings...

I am spending a lot of time thinking about what Jesus said to Pilate...“My Kingdom is not from here (this world) it has no such origin or source.”  While recognizing that I am a citizen of the U.S.A.  I am reminded that I should have a greater allegiance to the "Kingdom of God" than I do to the country, culture, and systems that I have been born into. If Jesus Kingdom has no origin or source in this world how caught up in this world system should I be?  I want to be a responsible citizen and yet I want to make eternal efforts my focus. I want my hope and passion to be spent making a real difference. Jesus declaration that His Kingdom is not "from here" has serious implications if we consider ourselves part of that Kingdom. So; I find myself going between stressing out and trusting God and His word. I want to live more and more in His Kingdom peace and less in this worlds anxiety. My processing is leading me towards more of an emphasis on Jesus Kingdom and holding with a "loose hand" the things of this world.

How are you processing the economic and political changes in the U.S.A.? What do you put your hope, emotions and passion in? How does that affect your anxiety level regarding current issues?


11 comments so far:

From the summer of 2008 and on till 10-08. I watch a lot of TV and listened to way too much radio about the political issues. I was mad! I was allowing the worlds junk to eat me alive. I was so angry I finally ask for prayer; knowing it was not of God……. not right for me to allow my feelings of anger, and disagreement, to take over my love for people. I decided to stop watching TV news, and radio. I now pray daily that the Lord will teach me love those people I disagree with so profoundly. All my logic told me that our new president was an anti-Christ, but when I pray for him I’m sure that is just all the stuff I was listening to, and the emails I was getting and reading.

I am not as informed as I would like to be on world matters, but I have my peace, and joy back. I am able to sincerely pray for these world leaders, and love them. Wow, what a wonderful difference! Hate is an easy trap to fall into. Love is my goal.

It’s so good to know God hears my prayers, and He has a plan for me, and my country.

That’s all I need to know for now.

It is hard to hear about friends losing there homes, and life saving, but when we have a relationship with God we know He will make a way. He always has, and I know He will again, and again if I trust Him. All I can do is continue to be very close to Him, and pray for all the people that don’t know Him. He will be my guide, and light the way.

I agree with Tom in that as followers of Jesus if we get too caught up in the security of the world’s systems we put ourselves at risk for major disappointment. No wonder so many Christians are “freakin out” as we see the stock market crash. But our treasures are not to be in the perishable…where rust and moth destroy and thieves can steal.

God is sovereign and the word says that he places those in power. He has placed Obama in the role of leader of our country; and in the long run we must trust that all these things will work out. We need to remind ourselves that no leader is the exact representation of Christ…neither republican or democrat. Both sides have some elements of policy that seem to reflect the heart of God. We need to accept the good with the bad. However if we listen to a steady diet of negativism it works against the idea that God is in control. When Bush was in power I couldn’t listen to the liberal media….now that Obama is in power I can’t listen to the conservative media anymore. I am happier for it. It frees me to spend more time loving God and my neighbor.

As far as the Rahm Emanuel comment, The ideas of investing in infrastructure for the health of our economy is not a new concept. It was the basis of the Roosevelt recovery plan. I would like to give this avenue a chance. It has worked in Europe where capitalism still flourishes; they have universal health care, excellent public education, their highways and roads put ours to shame; and yet the Euro has been worth more than our dollar for a number of years now.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God

I’ve only been feeling “rich” for one year of my life; ironically the year of my life I have made the least amount of money. Thank God for wives! Seriously, I think it would be fairly easy for me right now to lose everything I “own.” I have not had much time to get used to “having” so abundantly. I sometimes pray for our financial world to crumble, if it is God’s will. It would be amazing to see how deep people’s faith really goes. Especially for Christians. We spend so much time talking about the Word and what it says, and we are provided for SOOO much! What if we lose our house? What if our stocks are worth nothing? I feel the wealthy among us, which is any of us whom are blessed enough to live in Ridgway, don’t get enough opportunity to practice what we preach. I’ve spent some time with the homeless under a bridge, but I’ve never been homeless. Of course, in ten years, if I am still “rich”…I might respond differently…

Wow… this is an interesting topic, for sure. My husband has been a mortgage broker so we hit the economic stress early on in this cycle (just after I had left my full-time position with benefits) and have for the first time in our adult married life walked a very stressful year and a half in terms of finances.

I do not believe theologically that God is obligated to provide for his children in financial (or other) ways. We cannot understand God or all that is going on outside of what we are able to percive (just read Job). There is plenty of poverty, suffering, disease, hunger and even death all over the globe. Why should we as Americans be so entitled? Having said that, God has walked us through this incredibly stressful season with so much grace and love. At every turn we have seen his fingerprints in our provision through simple gifts, community, family and steps that are offering us lessons in simplicity and gratitude. We are slightly baffled that we have made it so far and still don’t know from month to month what will happen (anxiety knocks at my door daily wanting to come in and take over). I can boldly state that God is the one in control, not us! I would love to be at the end of this lesson, but I have a hunch that God is still at work on me - even after a long 16 months of this!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned along this economic stress path is simple: Who is my God? Who do I worship and who do I find my security in? Our culture has unabashedly worshiped money and in it found a false sense of security. After years of building on this false foundation, it is showing it’s weaknesses and the foundation is cracking. Perhaps now is the time for our golden idol called Money to move aside for the true King of Kings, our Triune God.

I see what Mary Kay and David have mentioned about talk radio and the news. I can only take so much and then I get upset with the constant barrage of information that is skewed one way or another. We do need to gaurd our hearts and minds and keep them regulated by the truths of Gods word. Also; the whole thing of God’s soveriegnty in government. We need to pray for them and then get on to bigger things in His Kingdom and people’s lives. Focus on things we can do something about. Do with love and grace the things that God has put in front of us.

Joshua - I agree we are very rich and blessed. I thank God for what I have and have some really great examples of folks around Ridgway that share with others. You have to love the example that Rob and Annette and others are to us.

Tami - Having traveled I agress that we have a perverted sense of what it means for God to “provide” for us as Americans. We owe God our love and devotion. He owes us nothing. Slumdog Millionaire brought home some great images of what life is like for others in India. What makes us think that life for us should be better than it is for others around the world. Consumerism has bent our minds into thinking that we are owed a way of life that is not something God is responsible for. The golden idol does seem to be cracking. Some are stressing over that and having to repent of their devotion to it. I have known that but when assets devalue and your “retirement” plan blows up in your face there is that processing that has to take place again. Everything that can be shaken seems to be shaking. It is nice to be back to the basics. Life eternal is knowing God and nothing else.

Tom:

I was born into a different kingdom many years ago and always feel as if I’m more of an observer of America politics and economics than part of it. The King of my country commanded me to “fear not” and I don’t. However, I keep informed because, as Obama’s Chief of Staff stated “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste”and I know it is time for me to listen to my King and provide the help for the people of this other country as he directs.

“Everything is going to turn out all right” sounds a little weak just now.

Obama, Pelosi, Frank, Emanuel… Where did these misguided souls come from?

Christian love isnt cutting it with me, even though I am trying.

My sense is that we are at the early stages of the decline of our republic.

I just connot pray for the democratic agenda to succeed.

I do, however, thank God daily, sometimes hourly, for my existing blessings.

Interesting comments by everyone. I definitely agree with what Ginger said. I don’t really feel like a true citizen of any country. I just can’t think in those terms. It’s always been hard to have any kind of national pride or anything like that. I just think of humanity. I think of Christ giving himself for the world…not a specific country or culture.

But of course we all live in different countries and I believe it is our job to help in any way we can. I agree that this is an opportunity for Americans to remember that life is more than possessions and cash. I was reading in Mark the other day again about the deceitfulness of wealth being something that causes faith to die. It’s weird wanting to provide for your family and travel and help others in a time like this. All we can really do is trust and give it our best shot while we are alive I think.

I’m having a hard time feeling the same impact others may be facing. I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my adult life and have been through mini-recessions at least five times! Each time I go through one it gets a little easier. Most likely because my skin is a little thicker and I learn a little more about success and failure each time.

I guess it’s possible that things could get so bad, however, that my “never say die” attitude does me no good at all because we go through such an economic meltdown that it doesn’t matter how mentally equipped you are.

The ultimate perspective I cling to is that this life is a very small moment in the light of eternity. These momentary troubles will seem as a snapping of the finger, a batting of the eye. My hope in God as my savior is so much more significant than the status of my checking account.

People often ask “What is God’s will for my life?” My answer is always this–He wrote it down and left it with all of us. His will for me is revealed in His Word. Once understood, my role is simply to “trust & obey”. So, looking at the current world situation I’m beginning to think I may live long enough to actually see end time events. Frankly some of those seem pretty scary but we may actually be seeing God’s will and final grand plan revealed in our lifetime. He tells me “Don’t be afraid. Trust me. I’ll never leave you.” I think I’m going to take Him up on that.

I hope it's soon, but then I think of all the non- believers we pray for everyday. I do trust him to answer the prayers for them, but I would sure would love to see it happen! Since I don't watch, or listen to the news, I'm not informed about what going on in the world / politics, and stuff. But I need peace more than I need to be informed. I'm a passionate person, and all that so called "news" just makes me an angry person. That won't help anyone!

I have noticed the Lord keeps bringing people in my life that have no idea there is a better way to live. They just cry out, but don't know how to commit to Jesus. They are so confused, trying to live in this world, and just pray without even realizing they're praying. This world has very little to offer. God is showing me how to be bold and speak the truth. I'm blunt, but I know these people need that, and I praise Him for using me. Learning to worship with my whole mind, heart, and spirit is the best! That and the word of God are what make this world a hopeful place to live in.

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