Financial reports around the world, spurred on by the downgrade of the United States’ bond rating, have not been encouraging in the last few days. Fear, anger, and frustration seem to have driven out hope and intelligent action. It’s time to call them back.
As I was praying about the financial situation today, I thought about a battle won against seemingly impossible odds. It came by trusting the inspiration of God (see Judges 7:2-8, 19-25). The Hebrew leader Gideon and his people were being oppressed by the Midianites. When it finally came to war, the enemy army pretty much surrounded Gideon’s troops. Then God inspired Gideon to tell anyone who was afraid to go home. He was left with 10,000 men. God guided him to reduce the number even further – because He didn’t want people to think that they had gotten the victory by their own hands. He wanted them to know that He had saved them.
The message I get from this is the importance of trusting in a power higher than the best market analysts. A passage from the Bible confirms this point: “Thus saith the Lord God …; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15).
Gideon must have felt something of that confidence, because he went up against the massive Midianite army with only 300 men. Rather than overwhelming the Midianites with great numbers, he used great intelligence, drawing very close to the army before they attacked. Each soldier carried a trumpet in one hand and a pitcher containing a lamp with the other. The 300 men ran at different parts of the enemy camp, blowing their trumpets and breaking the pitchers so that the light inside would shine.
The enemy army was so shocked, and so convinced they faced an overwhelming force, that they began to run away and were easily defeated.
In our prayers about the world’s markets, it’s important to perceive the light of Love, God, which will drive away fear, doubt, anger, frustration. These elements of thought are the enemy army to be defeated, and Love empowers us to gain the victory. Divine Love can speak to each heart, removing fear and filling it with courage that includes not just us but also our fellow men and women.
We can have confidence in God’s goodness and His ability to reveal what needs to be corrected, and what next steps should be taken. This conviction is totally apart from the ups and downs of stock markets and other financial agencies. It rests on a certainty that divine intelligence can lead the nations to workable and reliable answers.
One other thing about Gideon’s army is that its soldiers were united in their intent to save their people. A prominent characteristic of the current economic scene is disunity and self-justification. While it may be satisfying to dwell on the “should have/could have” form of Monday-morning quarterbacking, the real need is to move on to the work of winning the battle.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, offered some valuable observations after the death of President McKinley in 1901, which marked another sensitive time in the nation’s history. She wrote, “All good that ever was written, taught, or wrought comes from God and human faith in the right. Through divine Love the right government is assimilated, the way pointed out, the process shortened, and the joy of acquiescence consummated” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 292).
Our prayers, when based on these and other spiritual truths, can support national and international leaders in their quest to find practical answers to the world’s financial problems. God, divine Love, is just as much with them as He was with Gideon, and with Christ Jesus, who proved countless times that God’s power is infinite and always good. Divine Love is also with you and me, and with each individual, family, and institution. And if we have God, then we have wisdom, strength, and hope. We can be confident of that and let it carry us forward toward the good that lies ahead.