George Jackson column: God of the recession
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2 KJV).
Perhaps only Isaiah 40 can compare with this Psalm of Moses written around 1500 BC in presenting God’s grandeur and eternity in contrast to our frailty and mortality. Moses’ point, however, is that God’s eternity is the answer to our problems with time and the precarious situations it puts us in.
Currently we find ourselves in the midst of one of the most severe financial crises we have seen in half a century. Some analysts call it a Bear Market. We know it better as a recession.
Recession is when the state of the economy declines; a widespread decline in the Gross Domestic Product and high unemployment lasting from six months to two years. Recession affects people economically, mentally, physically and even spiritually.
So how did we arrive at this most unpleasant point of transition? What were some of the factors leading to the current worldwide recession?
The housing bubble burst. Investors reaped diminishing returns. There was blatant greed, ambition and vanity in the financial sector. Factories experienced massive layoffs. There was little to no federal oversight of the stock market. The banking industry was crippled by corruption and excess. The current unemployment figures are at a 30-year high; streets were littered with foreclosure signs. Bankruptcy filings in 2008 were up 31 percent over 2007 figures, while dozens of investment companies collapsed.
Recession is not a new economic trend unique only to modern western civilization. Famines (a form of natural recession) are recorded in the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.
When Joseph was in Egypt there were seven years of famine even after seven of plenty.
The story of the prodigal son told by Jesus in the form of a parable is about an ungrateful people and their personal excessiveness which led to indiscriminate wastefulness; about how a flamboyant and lavish lifestyle can lead to a recession; about how abject poverty and self-examination can lead to recovery.
In our individual and collective recessions, we must somehow retain hope. God’s people cannot let this recession lead to depression and ultimately concession to the desires of the enemy who wants to see us give up and concede defeat.
Recession or the bear market is a normal part of the economic cycle. Dry seasons are a part of the natural cycle of life. Trial and tribulation are tests we must pass in order to trigger our testimony. If we don’t go through some hell in this life, we won’t appreciate the glory yet to come. Paul declared in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
In the last 110 years, there have been 24 declared recessions, but the nation has recovered from them all. Recession is usually preceded by a period of widespread prosperity.
The events of Sept. 11 created a worldwide panic and closed global stock markets only to be followed by an unprecedented explosion in the housing market. No matter the calamity we have faced as a nation God has brought us through it all! No wonder the poet Edward Mote declared, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
The outcome of this international turmoil might be hidden to us now, but I’m going to trust God anyway. I’m going on faith and not on sight. John 20:29 says, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.”
He is the God of the recession because he contends with what we contend with. He is the God of the recession because He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. I would encourage you to stand still a little longer and see the salvation of the Lord.
We are going to emerge from this recession victorious because Jesus’ shed blood is the stimulus that already bailed us out. One Friday evening he died for a sin-cursed world, but early on Sunday morning he got up from the dead with all power in His hands.
Dr. George B. Jackson is pastor of Citadel of Faith Christian Fellowship.