While there is a plethora of bad news that continues coming out concerning the economy, and the fog of economic uncertainty (and in some cases dire certainty) continues to creep in amongst communities all over the country, something we believers need to make sure we’re doing is responding to these trials in a way that glorifies God. And using this as an opportunity to share the Gospel to those who don’t know Him.
Though things may certainly not get as bad as many of the top economists and investment advisers in the country are saying it will get, certainly people are already being impacted by job losses, monetary loss, all kinds of loss. Yet, it is in these very times that God’s power shines its brightest in our lives. The Gospel works great power in weakness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
After saying a little more, I want to simply post some quotes, links and other commentary from various sources that speak to this very issue, that is, how believers are to respond in these times and where it is we derive our power: namely the Gospel, Christ’s work on our behalf to both save us from eternal wrath and deliver our souls with His power in the here and now, that we may delight in Him alone in the midst of loss of all kinds.
The potential for something catastrophic is real (though not certain of course), yet we have no reason to fear, for Christ is God, the ruler of all things, who controls all things by His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). Nothing escapes His grasp and He is not sitting up there wondering what is happening to everything around us. He is intimately and personally involved in all of it. It is All within His power and nothing is out of His control. While most in the world scoff at such a proposition, this is food for the souls of His people because we know that He is intimately and intentionally working All things (including economic calamity and hardship) for our eternal good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) In addition, He is using these hard times to call unbelievers to repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ – Romans 8:32-36
And those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. – Luke 13:4-5
For those in Christ, our hope lies in the promises of Romans 8:32-36. And what a hope it is! God is intentionally bringing and working trials in our lives for His eternal glory and our eternal participation in His glory. How amazing! This wonder and eternal weight of glory transcends any and every situation we find ourselves in. The world scoffs, but we see Christ and Him crucified, the source of life, from Whom, through Whom, and to Whom are all things, as the One who holds our individual lives and our entire society in the palm of His hands! And He is for us, not against us.
For those outside of Christ, hope is extended to you in the Gospel of Christ. Jesus has conquered sin, death, Satan and his works, and hell, triumphing over all of these at the cross, by giving up His life on behalf of sinners who couldn’t save themselves from the wrath of God and rising from the dead in power as a confirmation of His work. His resurrection from the dead is a picture of what will happen to all who trust in Him alone with their all. Your only hope of eternal life lies in Christ, the Creator, Sustainer and King of the universe. The cry of God to this world to repent and believe the Gospel is made the loudest in the midst of trials. They are a call from God to rouse deaf spiritual ears, as C.S. Lewis famously said, that you would rest in Christ alone and His work in the Gospel for your entire life, now and forever.
“Frequently it is when we are crushed and devastated that the cross speaks most powerfully to us. The wounds of Christ then become Christ’s credentials. The world mocks, but we are assured of God’s love by Christ’s wounds.” – D. A. Carson, How Long, O Lord?
“But God commits no crimes when he brings famine, flood, and pestilence on the earth. ‘Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?’ (Amos 3:6). The answer of the prophet is no. God’s own testimony is the same: ‘I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things’ (Isaiah 45:7). And if we ask, is there intelligent design in it all, the Bible answers: ‘You meant evil . . . but God meant it [designed it] for good’ (Genesis 50:20)” – John Piper, Was Katrina Intelligent Design?
“For since [Christ] Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18
“I believe the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. I might have said more simply that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God. That would be true. But the Bible is more specific. The glory of God shines most brightly, most fully, most beautifully in the manifestation of the glory of his grace. Therefore, this is the ultimate aim and the final explanation of all things—including suffering.” – John Piper, The Suffering of Christ and the Sovereignty of God (Highly Recommended!)
So how are we to respond this economic crisis, both believers and unbelievers? In humble submission to what the Lord has willed to take place, and repentance and faith in Christ alone who gave “His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Rest in Him alone.
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God – Desiring God Conference
Finding Peace in Life’s Storms – C.H. Spurgeon