I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I had wanted to write something about the economic situation for a long time. But inspiration has not come until now. We have all had our experience in this crisis. Most of us are directly affected by it. And I think the passage above sums it up quite clearly on how a Christian is to respond in this day and time.
My reading of why the Lord allowed all this to happen is to teach us a lesson. Undoubtedly, as expatriates, we have been living a very comfortable and even a spoiled life. We have been laughing our way to the bank when the rupiah drops because that means we will be using lesser dollars for our expenses. And I would say that we have learned “what it is to have plenty.” With the financial crisis, the Lord is teaching us “what it is to be in need.” Now is the time to live in humility and trust in the Lord. Yes, our salaries may be affected but I think the Lord is teaching us to trust that he will provide for all our needs.
A few years ago, I was a new immigrant in Canada. I was able to find a job and was settling down already. Unfortunately the country was in recession. The company I worked for had some financial problems and had to lay-off some people. I was one of them. We were quite blessed to stay with my sister. But we still had to spend money for personal needs. As our savings began to shrink, the situation became very stressful. Considering that this happened in November, was more devastating because we had to save on everything, even our Christmas celebration. The days dragged on and we saw our savings getting smaller every week. There was no one to turn to except the Lord. And praise God, he came through at the time that our funds were about to run dry. I was able to get a job in a fairly stable establishment in a very beautiful city.
The reason why I tell you this story is to show you that God is alive. He is Immanuel - God with us. And as I look at our situation then, I realize that the Lord was teaching us something: wherever we were, he was always there. The God I worshiped in Manila, is the same God I worship in Jakarta and Vancouver. He is the same everywhere and every time. He provided for me and he will continue to provide for me wherever I am. A child of God, someone committed to Christ will never, ever go hungry. (And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19) We may not have an excess but we will never lack.
We are at a very exciting moment in our lives. True, we have our obligations: our parents, brothers, sisters, people who rely on us for financial support. But then, I see this as the Lord's way of teaching us to set our priorities right. When a woman came to anoint the feet of Jesus before his passion, Judas commented that the money used to buy the perfume could have been given to the poor. Jesus answered, “The poor you will always have with you. But she did this to prepare me for my burial.” My reflection on this is that yes, it is right and good to serve the poor. But still, this is secondary to our service and love for the Lord.
I believe that the Lord is here and he is moving in our lives to teach us to trust him. Let us not waste this moment. Take hold of it. It is our chance to be one with the Lord's and the peoples sufferings. Walk in faith and we will be able to grow in love.
God bless us all.