Torch, Spring/Summer 2009

24 TORCH | Spring–Summer 2009 I n an episode of Star Trek titled “Spectre of the Gun,” the crew of the starship Enterprise is transported to a re-creation of the Wild West era. Finding themselves in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, they are about to face off against Wyatt Earp and his men in the shoot-out at the OK Corral. Unfortunately, only Spock recognizes that what they are experiencing is not real. He decides he must do a mind-meld to help the crew reject the illusions surrounding them. A mind-meld allows Spock to impose his thoughts on their minds. In doing so, the crew is able to see that the bullets cannot harm them, and as a result they are saved. In our world, we are facing bullets of a different kind: job loss, falling home prices, and eroding portfolio values. Still, in light of eternity, even these “bullets” cannot do us any harm. But unless we do a mind-meld with Scripture, asking God to impose His thoughts on our minds, we will be like the crew of the Enterprise — fearful and anxious. How do we, as believers, find the balance between what Scripture affirms is real and what is real in the here and now? How can we keep our eyes fixed on the future and yet honor our stewardship responsibilities in the present? This is the tension we face in a world that does not always go according to our plans. We may feel like the man who got a piece of limburger cheese caught in his beard and exclaimed, “The whole world stinks!” God would have us maintain our sense of wonder, beauty, and hope even in the midst of harsh realities. To hold on to hope in a recession, we must first understand what God is doing and accept the fact that He may be able to accomplish more through economic adversity than He can through economic prosperity. Second, we must have a practical, God-honoring plan for how we should respond in a recession. What Is God Up To? Through the years, I have observed that God brings about spiritual growth in two primary ways: through adversity and through blessing. The life of Peter is a great example of how God uses both of these elements to break a stubborn and prideful heart. Early in Peter’s life, we find that God used prosperity to humble him. In one story, recorded in Luke 5, Peter and his companions had been fishing all night Holding On to Hope During tough economic times, God is more focused on developing our character than on maintaining our financial stability. by Dr. Galen Smith IMAGE GRAB FROM STARTREK ©PARAMOUNT PICTURES; OPPOSITE: DIANE DIEDERICH / ISTOCKPHOTO