In the Midst of the Storm

Everything I have read or seen in the media the past week has just been fear, fear, fear.. It is easy to get shaken. It is easy to see fear as the big picture. But it is not. Fear is just a reaction to perception. Not a single newsman, or reporter can predict the future. They don’t know what is coming and the more unstable the events of the day, the more they fear tomorrow. The sad thing is that they have nothing else to give but fear. In an unbiased report (which seems impossible to find), they would simply give you the events instead of their constant opinions of what everything means. But regardless of where the news media fears that the economy or the war or the elections are going… the good news is that we have a hope that they just do not understand. Your life is not controlled by their fear… unless you allow it to be.

Now, I am not saying that we should walk in ignorance. The economy may continue to turn ugly. There is a lot of instability on Wall Street, and a lot is uncertainty as to where America’s financial future is heading. However, even as we take in the facts of what is happening around us, it is so important that we do not allow the world to dictate our response to those events. What happens when a storm comes? We don’t ignore the storm or pretend it isn’t happening. The storm is real, but that doesn’t mean you have to fear it.

Every time I have read anything about what is happening in the financial world, I just keep getting a picture in my heart, and I want to share it with you today. It’s the picture of another storm that happened a very long time ago. Matthew 8:23-27 tells the story of Jesus in a boat with His disciples. Having told them that they were going to the other side of the lake, Jesus then lays down in the boat and goes to sleep. A huge storm came up and the disciples were so afraid that the boat would capsize, so they woke up Jesus. And this is what Jesus says to them, “ ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’ [Then] he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

The disciples looked at the facts and feared for their boat and their lives, and I think many of us would have done the same thing. In fact, I feel like this is exactly what so many people are doing right now with the economy. They are looking at this financial storm with banks failing, the stock market shifting powers, uncertainty and even devastation in the mortgage industry, and they are afraid for their boat. People are fearing for their security, and their way of life.

But here is the truth in no uncertain terms: a decision made in fear, is a decision made in stupidity. All wisdom comes from God and if you are walking in fear then you are not walking in God’s wisdom. And if you are making decisions out of that fear, then you are making decisions apart from true wisdom. When you make decisions, especially financial decisions, based on fear, you will make stupid decisions.

For instance, most people, rather than chance their financial boat capsizing in the face of a storm, will just go ahead and jump out of the boat… really smart, huh. But when you are overwhelmed by fear you will make those kinds of decisions. A friend of mine lost nearly his entire retirement savings when he panicked after 911. He pulled it all out when the stock market plummeted because he was consumed by fear. If he had just stayed in and rode the wave, he would have seen the market rebound within a year, but fear made his decision for him and cost him a small fortune.

There will always be financial storms. This is not the first economic storm and it won’t be the last, and we very well may be in for a big storm. However, whatever happens in the storm, you can be at peace. When Jesus told His disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake,” that was actually all they needed to sit peacefully in midst of the storm. When you know that you are doing what God has told you to be doing, you can sit peacefully in your boat as well. Your boat is not your security. God telling you to go to the other side is your security, because it means that He intends for you to get there. That means that no matter what storm arises, or even what happens to your boat, you will get to the other side. This is why Jesus accused his disciples of having no faith. He had said, “Let’s go across,” which meant that no storm could stop them. If they had just realized who Jesus was then they would have know why He was able to sleep through the storm. Because even if the boat had been destroyed, they were with the One who could walk on water.

Isn’t that an amazing thought? No matter what comes, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, you can be at peace and you don’t have to be afraid. You can even sleep in the midst of the storm and just rest that you are in the right boat. And I am not talking about being in denial either. Jesus was not in denial of the storm, he recognized the storm when he spoke peace to it. However, he did not let fear of the storm dictate his decisions. That is why the disciples found him asleep in the boat in the middle of the storm.

So, as you look at the financial world around you today and read and hear the stories, I just wanted to remind you of this story. Because as a believer in Jesus, your decisions and your reaction is not based on what happens to the boat, or the storm around you. It is actually all about who is in the boat with you, and what He has told you to do. And for me, there is so much rest in that. No matter what happens with the storm on Wall Street, I know who’s in my boat 🙂