Many words and much ink have been spilled out in recent months about the state of our economy. And let me just add my two cents in saying that it is worse than it appears. Any nation that gives itself over to pride, power, and pleasure will eventually find the foundations crumbling beneath it. I am neither a prophet, nor an economist, nor an expert in anything useful, but I know enough of God’s recorded history to see the handwriting on the wall. These stories always end the same. Only the Sovereign One knows what is ahead of us as a nation, but as the church there are some important truths we must hold to fiercely during political and economic upheaval.
First, God is not frivolous or excessive in His dispensing of suffering. Is there anything more frustrating about our government than the waste and wantonness it displays on a regular basis? And yet it is a great comfort to know that God does not operate like we do. He is exact and efficient in how He deals with us as His people. There is no waste in God’s economy. The Psalmist David writes in Psalm 56:
8You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
9Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
Our heavenly Father will not cause one tear more than is necessary for us to accomplish His purposes in the world and in our lives. Every tear that we have cried, every scar that we have endured has been a purposeful tear, a purposeful wound. God does not bring suffering and difficulty into the world with a casual wave of His hand. He dispenses each and every difficulty with great care. Every tear is kept within the bottle of His sovereign care. Not one falls to the ground unnoticed.
Second, God takes massive, unimaginable debt and pays it in full. All the recent talk about debt ceilings and default have brought to the surface some of the real systemic problems facing us as a nation. The numbers have gotten so large that they don’t even feel real anymore. Are we really talking about money anymore? Uncontrollable debt will topple nations and families alike. It is no respecter of persons. Like Babel in ancient times, the world system is constantly working its way up and out and ruling from the top down. And like Babel, God will always topple the strong and the proud. It is both a judgment and a grace that He does so.
I know this is hard to believe, but there is no heavenly printing press up in the clouds somewhere that allows God to ignore the debt of our sin and rebellion. We come into this world inheriting Adam’s sin and very quickly begin accumulating our own offenses against God. And what do we do in response to this? At worst, we simply embrace the bankruptcy of our souls and try to outrun our debt for as long as possible. At best, we attempt to make the minimum payments of self-improvement thinking we can somehow manage to reconcile the account before we die. In the kindness and mercy of God, He brings us to the end of ourselves where we finally see that our pockets are empty and our own economy has always been in default. Then, He does the unimaginable…
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, bytriumphing over them in him.
In the economy of God the books have to be reconciled. I can remember times when my mom would endlessly pour over pages of numbers just to find a discrepancy of a few pennies. For His chosen ones, God leaves no sin unreconciled. Every sin, from the smallest thought to the unnoticed motive, has been carefully and intentionally nailed to Jesus on the cross. There is no remaining debt. We no longer live from the bankrupt position of sinners under the judgment of God but as sons and daughters who share in the inheritance of Jesus Christ. The infinite riches of His glory and righteousness have been credited to our account. When it comes to grace, God is wildly excessive and lavish and illogical.