There are a number of financial newsletters put out by goldbugs with a survivalist bent that are busy prophesying to cyberspace about the eminent default of our financial systems and the resulting collapse of Western civilization and our present consumer/globalist life as we know it.
I don’t doubt that the incredible debt load of the United States is threatening the U.S. dollar’s continuing status as the world’s reserve currency—time is truly running out for the no-longer almighty dollar.
But it is now equally obvious that the Euro is not going to be the sweet alternative that could replace the faltering greenback. This is because the European Union’s underlying financial contradictions have become all too apparent to many currency speculators who are selling the Euro short on the market and driving its value down. They talk about the Euro being doomed.
After all, how can you have anything but a soap opera or a fairy tale of a currency when you have one central bank with its single currency acting as the exasperated, over-stretched supranational husband trying to manage a polygamous EU marriage involving 27 sovereign wives who each has deeply ingrained habits. Each of these fractious wife-states has peculiarities when it comes to running her own household’s national budget. While Sensible Hilda and Prudent Gertrude may only spend what a no-nonsense budgetary discipline allows, Impulsive Athena and Romantic Maria will beg and borrow to shop on credit till they drop from insolvency! The only solution for the EU is a scary centralizing consolidation of Brussels’ political and economic power on the one hand, and the loss of national sovereignty of the individual EU member states on the other hand.
None of the above bodes particularly well for our future financial stability not to mention our political status quo here in Canada. After all, we play but a short, walk-on, secondary role on this world’s stage. We are not a major power. But, since most of us are neither central bankers nor political heavyweights with either macro-economic or governmental clout, we go about our relatively comfortable, day-by-day routines, assuming or hoping that today’s normalcy is stable and continuing for as far as we care to see into the future. But we are probably kidding ourselves.
On a personal and family level our daily lives are most certainly nothing more than illusions of stability.
This past week reminded me of this sobering truth. One of the pillars of our local church and the mother of one of my friends had a stroke. Then one of my 40-something friends told me that his doctor had given him some very disturbing medical test results.
A few days later while driving to my local shopping centre for an errand I had to stop on a busy two-lane road while the car ahead of me made a left turn. Suddenly I heard behind me the sound of screaming brakes as that heavy-footed driver behind me tried to avoid—unsuccessfully—from crashing into me. In spite of a sore neck and jumpy nerves, I celebrated being alive one more day and enjoyed a little ice cream.
The following day, last Friday, my brother called me to say my 80ish step-dad was discovered by police 60 miles from his home driving on a bike path, not knowing where he was. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in an advanced stage. He’s now in a nursing home while his wife, my mother, who is now legally blind due to macular degeneration , is now going to have to change her whole life’s routine as it is no longer possible for her to stay in her home by herself. Everything in a status quo goes along until… one day, everything changes and can never be the same again.
Our present life in this world is inherently instable whether we’re talking about the big picture or just our mortal selves. And no matter how much we cling to the status quo with our fingernails dug in, one day it will all be ripped from you and me.
Surprisingly, the Judeo-Christian scriptures have something to say about what makes life more stable. On a big picture scale the book of Proverbs says:
When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability (Prov. 28:2 NLT trans.)
The prophet Isaiah talked of a time when everything begins to fall apart and become unstable. He made a suggestion of where we can look to preserve our balance and peace of mind in a time of sudden instability:
Look! Listen! Tough men weep openly. Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears. The roads are empty— not a soul out on the streets. The peace treaty is broken, its conditions violated, its signers reviled. The very ground under our feet mourns….
God is supremely esteemed. His center holds. Zion brims over with all that is just and right. God keeps your days stable and secure—salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus, and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.
God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! (Isaiah 33:7-8, 5-6, 2-4 The Message translation)
The bottom line for this Old Covenant prophet was that the only source of stability in a time of instability was to look to the God of the Bible. Not surprisingly, the New Covenant apostles taught much the same thing.
While focusing more on the individual who is faced with mortality, the New Covenant solution to instability is still to focus our priorities God-ward. We are encouraged to incorporate into our daily routine the spiritual wisdom and knowledge that really matters when it comes to how we live our lives.
We may be merely physical beings, depreciating assets, but there still is the possibility that we can convert instability into stability, temporary into permanent, and move away from what is transitory into what is lasting. Consider the inherent stability and permanence proclaimed by the apostle Peter that belongs to Christians who have wholeheartedly embraced the spiritual life:
23You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.
24For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off,
25But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you (1 Peter 1:23-25 Amplified version).
You have the opportunity to move from an illusion of stability to the reality of stability and permanence. Are you acting on it? Or do you believe that everything will just continue on just as it is presently without end?