On Economically-Induced Anxiety

Brothers and Sisters,

This week, mortgage rates crossed 7% for the first time since 1998. This came on the heels of aggressive intervention from the Fed to try and control inflation. You may not care too much about mortgage rates, but for a guy (read: this guy) with a contract on a house and a loan to secure, the past few weeks have been nothing short of agonizing.

I share this not to elicit sympathy (though, I’ll gladly take your prayers) but to acknowledge the turbulent times in which we live. Pandemics, wars, recessions, a softening labor market—we have all been confronted with plenty of reasons to be anxious. Where can we stand when we feel like the ground is eroding under our feet? On Christ the Solid Rock, of course. Did Jesus not say that everyone who hears and keeps His words is like the wise man who built his house upon the rock (Matt 7:24-27)?

An occupational hazard for pastors like me is that we would accidentally trade in cliches and platitudes that hurt more than they help. So, when I encourage you (really, myself) to draw closer to Jesus in these times of uncertainty, I’m fully aware that some things are easier said than done.*

Just know that I’m praying for you in this struggle.

We don’t like it, but it’s in these times of uncertainty that God reveals the fickle nature of our hearts. When our IRAs take it on the chin, we realize that God is our Sustainer. When our job security begins to fade, we realize that God is our provider. When rates go through the roof, we remember that the One who, for a time, had no place to lay His head laid down His life so that we would live forever with Him.

The waters are rising, and the parts of our house that we’ve built on shoddy foundations are sure to wash away. That hurts, but it’s also the Lord’s grace. If we might change up the metaphor, it’s how He refines and fits us for glory. 1 Pet 1:3-9 says it best,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

We are grieved but guarded, tried by the turbulent circumstances in which we find ourselves yet cherished in the Father’s sight and upheld by the Spirit of His only begotten Son.

May we all remember that when our rates go up and the stock market goes down.

Your brother in Christ, Kenny

* For the hyper-Reformed theo-nerds (like me) who were looking for this… Yes, Jesus draws near to us first. Yes, the Spirit has united us to Christ by grace through faith and, therefore, we can’t get any closer to Jesus than we already are right now. Nevertheless, we’re engaged in a daily struggle to apprehend subjectively that which is objectively ours. This, from one angle, is what sanctification is all about.