A recent Monitor article pointed out that while some signs indicate the economy has stabilized, recovery will be delayed by the reluctance, or perhaps inability, of business managers to invest ("Top economists see the recession ending by fall," May 27). The downturn in investment is due both to lower profit levels and to some uncertainty over rising unemployment, declining home values, and tight credit rules. And it seems now that it's this lack of investment that is retarding economic recovery.
Investment implies placing value in some operation and expecting a positive return. In the market, there are no guarantees, so some reluctance is, perhaps, understandable.
But there's another way to look at investment, and that's through a spiritual lens. Here, investment is not risky behavior. It's putting trust in God as the great source of all good. The return isn't measured in terms of cash, but in an increased awareness of God's presence. But can this be practical? How can it relate to the human situation, where retirement investments have dropped precipitously and experts forecast a recovery in terms of years, not weeks?
A Bible verse points me in the right direction: "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord" (James 5:7). What's significant here is not a counsel to wait for the market to right itself, but to wait for "the coming of the Lord." In other words, we are advised to turn to God, not to human planning.
This turning to God isn't fatalism, nor is it an excuse to do nothing. It's an activity of prayer, in which we can vigorously affirm the mighty actuality of God. I've found I can become fascinated, fixated even, on the daily swings of my own investments, but all that usually does is increase my level of anxiety.
On the other hand, to turn one's thought to God is to know that His will for each of us as His children is the development of infinite good. There are no downturns in God's care, because God's love for His beloved image and likeness – that's you and me – is constant. These spiritual concepts have brought me a greater sense of calm, and this calm has protected me from some precipitous financial actions that might have proved quite negative.
I'm also learning that my prayers contribute to benefiting the general atmosphere of thought around me, and that my insistence on God's ongoing development of good can help others. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, once wrote, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896," p. 307). We can invest, or trust, our hope in this promise.
Knowing that God, who is divine Love, constantly supplies good to all His creation can stimulate hope and recovery in the economy.