President Obama has described the current recession as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. He may be right. Never in all my years (and I've lived quite a bit) have I witnessed such widespread helplessness and despair as hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs, their homes and their hope. But as Charles Dickens wrote: It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
The best of times? After the statements in the first paragraph, this sounds like a paradox, and yet, if we look at the Bible, this can be the best of times. This can be the time when we learn to depend on God and His infiite resource. It can be the time when we draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It can be the time when we reach a level of intimacy with Him that we never had before.
The Bible is full of stories of the way God dealt with people during times of scarcity or famine as it was called. Abram (Genesis 12:1); Isaac (26: 1-4); Joseph (41:27); David (2 Samuel 21:1); Elijah (1 Kings 18:2) and countless others all experienced famine at one time or another. But through it all we see God taking care of His people. Psalm 34: 17 says, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalm 34:17).
That's all well and good, you might say, but what am I going to do if I get laid off tomorrow, or if I don't find a job soon? Jesus said, "... Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficent unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6: 25, 34).
Jesus is not dismissing our cares and concerns. He understands that we have real problems and difficulties in this life, more so during a recession such as this. However, by telling us not to worry about tomorrow, He is saying to us that worry will not improve the situation. It only magnifies the problems, makes everything seem worse than it really is and clouds our vision so we cannot see our way out of the crisis. Instead we are to "cast all our cares upon him; for he careth for us" (1 Peter 5:7).