There’s no question that we’re in tough times. Businesses are failing, restaurants are closing, the stock market is struggling, churches are hurting financially, and non-profits like ours are wondering, Where do we go and how do we navigate these deep economic waters? I’m disturbed, as I have just gone through a stack of crisis letters from good Christian organizations. They’re afraid of the future; they’re imagining they’re in crises.
What bothers me about that mail is it seems like people are making decisions based on fear. They’re afraid of what’s going to happen, so they make widespread decisions that are really rooted in a deep-seated fear of the future. The Bible is clear about a spirit of fear – 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and a sound mind” (NKJV). It seems to me that in these times, it is important for us to remember that not only is God in control, but He calls us to have a spirit of love with power. We need to think through these decisions based on a firm and deep understanding that God will walk us through these times.
At AMF we have some challenges, like every other organization does. Our missionaries, who raise support, have challenges like many other missionaries do. There’s no question we will have to make difficult decisions in the coming days – that’s good stewardship – but those decisions are not going to be made through a spirit of fear. They will be made with appropriate and right thinking applied with a spirit of faith and trust and belief.
I’ve watched a number of our neighbors struggle with the housing market here in southern California. They’ve seen all of their equity disappear, and in many cases they owe more than their house is worth. They wonder, Can I just hang on? Can I just make it through? My hope and my prayer is that I will be an agent to help them understand what Isaiah 41:10 says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).
Man, that’s what I want – not a spirit of fear, but a sense that we are being held in the very hand of God.