Monday, October 13, 2008

What are the Odds?

By the end of last week, all the gloom-and-doom financial reports really started to get to me. I found myself checking my bank balances online more than once a day, although I could never quite muster the courage to review my 401k balances. I postponed a trip to the grocery store, telling myself I could make do with what food we had on hand (even though we were out of milk and bread). I turned down a dinner invitation in favor of leftovers. My family members can attest to my foul mood.

Fear quickly took control of my thoughts and actions.

Once I realized the impact the media blitz of bad news was having on me, I declared a personal weekend-long moratorium on any news broadcasts of any kind. In the absence of all those Chicken-Little cries, I made a few newsworthy observations of my own.

1. The sun still rose in the eastern sky and set in the west.
2. With the same predictable rhythm of autumns' past, the leaves are morphing from emerald to gold and scarlet. Their blue-sky backdrop are worth the price of the Ohio winter soon to come.
3. Regardless of my bank balance or 401k portfolio, I am rich in family and friends and faith.
4. No matter how bad the world's situation (or my own) may be or may become, the Lord in Whom I trust is fully capable of taking control and transforming it for good.

I heard a sermon illustration several years ago that comes to mind whenever I'm tempted to think a circumstance is all but impossible. The pastor used as his text the verses in Matthew 17: 27. There, Jesus was approached by Peter, who presented a need to pay the temple tax but didn't have the required funds. Jesus answered him: "...go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

Think about what Jesus was proposing to Peter. Out of all the thousands of fish swimming in that particular lake, what are the odds that an ordinary Joe--or Peter--would pull out his first catch of the day to find MONEY inside. And not just ANY amount of money, but the exact amount he needed to meet their obligations? By most estimates, the odds would be at least a million to one. But with Jesus, the odds were one-to-one.

I know I can't permanently avoid bad news, even if I were to throw out all the televisions and radios in the house. And I still need to use wisdom and caution in financial decisions, whatever the world economy or my personal bank balance may be. It helps, though, when I'm tempted to listen to the naysayers--with their diminishing odds of financial success--to remember that with God as Provider and Sustainer, my odds are one-to-one. He's got me covered.


CatMom said...

Wow, Susan! GREAT post...and a great reminder of keeping things in perspective and remembering WHO is in control of it all. Thanks for sharing this message today.
Patti Jo

Lynette Sowell said...

Yes, so true. Fear can sneak up on us, that's for sure. I can't remember where I came across this link, but it's a good one...

Ed J. Horton said...

Thought I'd share this quote from Oswald Chambers. I found it especially meaningful.

"Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty..."

Susan Downs said...

Ed, a wonderful quote. Thanks for sharing. I'll clip it and post it on my reminder board.

Lynette, the Lucado prayer was a powerful one as well. I've reread it several times and have had the site opened on my computer all day.

Isn't God good to send us the inspiration we need when we need it?!

CHickey said...

Thank God!

Crystal Laine Miller said...

In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. -Jesus
(John 16:33)

Like the guys in the oven when they wouldn't bow to the idol--our Lord is greater and can take us out of the fire, BUT IF NOT, He's still greater.

Amen to your post. We all needed to hear that.