The stock market has experienced wild swings in the last 18 months, and while the market has recovered significantly in recent weeks, investor fears are at an all-time high. It’s interesting for me to objectively watch investors who try and make market timing decisions. Some can’t stand to see their account values drop and go to cash at exactly the wrong moment-severely limiting their ability to recover when the market unexpectedly goes up. Others are ready to move now, thinking that since the market as recovered, they don’t want to experience that volatility any more.
I started my career as a financial advisor in 2007 – at the height of the market. Only a few months later the recession of 2008 began. Not a great time to begin a new career! I remember crying out of fear in the fall of 2008. What would happen to these clients who had just started to place their trust in me? We all thought the world had gone mad, and investing would be forever changed.
But then, the market recovered in spectacular fashion, the likes of which we had never seen. That experience gave me some perspective on how quickly things can go bad, and how quickly they can recover. I now reflect on that experience any time we have a dip in the market – and we’ve had a quite a few over these last two years!
What else has changed? I returned to my Christian faith in 2011, and realized that I am not capable of influencing the markets or making great timing decisions (no one can). Everything unfolds in God’s perfect timing. I now know that my responsibility is to help clients make wise planning and investment decisions and to educate and comfort them when the future is uncertain. The rest is in God’s hands.
I wish I had come across this article by Randy Alcorn a few months ago, but I hope you will read it today, and find peace not only in the turbulent markets we are experiencing today, but print it out or bookmark it as a reminder of God’s perfect plan and goodness whenever you need it! by: Cassandra Laymon
In this passage, Jesus says that God cares for the birds. Yet birds aren’t created in God’s image. Christ didn’t die for birds. The Holy Spirit doesn’t indwell birds. Birds won’t reign with Christ. But we will! So Christ asks his disciples, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26). If he takes care of the less valuable creatures, will he not take care of us, who are far more valuable?
Of course, the birds provide for their immediate future through labor—building nests and obtaining food for their young. But they don’t maintain one nest in the mountains and another at the beach. Neither do they fill their cellars with freeze-dried worms. Birds do the work that God created them to do; they sing when they work, they don’t hoard, and they instinctively trust their Creator to take care of them. Should we who know God’s grace do any less?
Jesus says, “Accept my sovereignty and goodness, and you won’t have to worry about tomorrow. Trust me.” All of us trust in something. The more dependable the object of our trust, the less we need to worry. The stock market isn’t God, theWall Street Journal isn’t the Bible, your asset manager isn’t your priest, and financial experts aren’t prophets. (Prophets were put to death when their prophecies didn’t come true!) That doesn’t mean the stock market is bad, but it does mean it’s not trustworthy. It may do well for a day, a month, a year, or even a few decades. But because the stock market is uncertain, it can only produce anxiety when it becomes the object of our trust. God is the only totally trustworthy object. Therefore, he’s the only one who cannot betray our trust.
Why is this truth so hard for us to accept? If we believe that God can create us, redeem us, and bring us through death to spend eternity with him, why can’t we take him at his word when he says he’ll provide for our material needs?
If God calls on you today to share your resources with another, you must not say, “I can’t, Lord, because I don’t know where my own provisions are coming from.” Yes, you do know where they’re coming from. They’re coming from God. You may not know the form this provision will take, but you do know the Source. Like the poor widow who had no cash reserves, you know that God will take care of you, even if there are no visible resources.
If God has control of everything, and God takes care of his children, and God gives everything necessary to those who walk with him; and if you are his child, and you are walking with him—why worry? Worrying never helps anything anyway—but has hurt plenty.