A Time to Ponder
Written by Russ Crosson, EVP and Chief Mission Officer
It has been quite a year in many ways! Inflation increased to levels unseen in over forty years, while stocks and bonds retreated together for the first time since 1969, which has only happened three times in the past 100 years. Our wallets are feeling the market and economic effects at the pump and the grocery store while COVID continues to linger mutating into various strains. We once again faced a tumultuous midterm election season, and the busyness of life seems to have ramped back up to its pre-pandemic level.
However, as we move into the beloved Thanksgiving and Christmas season, it seems appropriate to stop for a moment and ponder—to weigh carefully in the mind; to think about and consider seriously; to reflect.
So, what exactly should we reflect upon this holiday season? I would propose that we begin by remembering all of God’s blessings and the joy that we have experienced this year. Whether you welcomed a new member into your family, celebrated a meaningful milestone, or lost a loved one, each day is a gift. Life is not always easy, but it is filled with blessings and memorable moments.
After you give thanks for the blessings of 2022, I would encourage you to think about the truths we find in God’s Word. It has been a difficult year for many financially and although we know misfortune may occur, it can be difficult to navigate and overcome adversity. Our firm’s foundational verse 1 Timothy 6:17‒19 tells us that wealth is uncertain, and Ecclesiastes 7:14 reminds us that we will experience joy but also adversity in this life. And finally, in John 16:33 Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Despite what is going on in the world around us, we can have courage—firmness of mind and no anxiety—because God is still on His throne, and He has overcome the world. All of our current ailments and hardships do not surprise God and He gives us encouraging truths to hold onto as we navigate difficult times.
- God promises to meet our needs. Your income may decrease and your expenses may increase, but the fact remains that God will satisfy your needs—maybe not all of your wants but He will meet your needs (Philippians 4:19). In over four decades of providing financial counsel to couples and individuals, I have seen this truth play out time and time again. It is not always easy but hold tight to the promise that God will provide for your needs.
- God cares about what you care about. Are you concerned about the future? About your children and grandchildren? About your investments? About your retirement? In a time of persecution in Psalm 57:2 the Psalmist wrote, “I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.” In Psalm 138:7 David says, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.” No matter what is concerning or worrying you, realize God has it and He is holding onto you tightly. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
- God is love. These words in 1 John 4:15-18 contain two profound truths that should encourage us. First, our future is secure in heaven. Those who believe in Christ should find solace in knowing that their eternal destiny is secure. In John 14:1‒3, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Second, we can have peace in every current situation here on Earth because God is with us and loves us. Be encouraged knowing both our future and current circumstances are under His watchful care, and He holds us securely in His hands.
In Romans 8:35 the apostle Paul rhetorically asks, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” In Romans 8:38‒39 he answers, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Perhaps today Paul would ask, “Will inflation, increasing taxes, market volatility, job loss, rising expenses, turbulent political environments, or family struggles separate us from God’s provision or love?” Together we can firmly attest “NO!” Hold onto and ponder these comforting, steadfast truths as you celebrate the blessings and beauty of this Thanksgiving season.
Watch this video and add a new perspective to sitting down for your Thanksgiving meal by learning the powerful significance of breaking bread with others and what it meant in the time of Jesus.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. 15982451-11-22