Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Promise

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-- Jeremiah 29:11

For several controversial reasons, America’s banking industry has suffered like few others over the last few years. More than 150 banks closed in 2010 alone, accounting for billions of dollars in deposits and countless lost jobs. It’s a sobering and painful situation with long-term, widespread implications. And if it wasn’t for a certain promise, things could be much, much worse.

That promise is the U.S. Government’s guarantee to cover virtually all deposits if a bank fails. Unlike the infamous bank runs during the Great Depression, bank customers today can rest easy knowing that they won’t lose a penny from their FDIC-insured accounts.

This rock-solid guarantee has no doubt stabilized our society because the public knows it can literally take the government’s promise to the bank. There’s no need to panic and lose sleep – even when the worst happens. And although that’s a comforting thought during these rough economic times, perhaps Christ-followers should actually find much greater solace in a promise that’s printed on every dollar bill: In God We Trust.

Trusting in God’s promises extends much wider than just our current financial status and job prospects. His guarantees – found throughout the chapters of the Bible – are eternal. And we can take them all to the bank because of God’s proven track record. For instance, God’s promised through the Old Testament’s Book of Amos that the city of Tyre would be destroyed because of its harsh treatment of Israel. And a few centuries later, the armies of Alexander the Great indeed leveled Tyre’s impregnable fortress walls. God also promised to one day re-gather His scattered peoples from around the globe. About 2,500 years later, God did just that through 1948’s birth of the State of Israel.

It doesn’t stop there. J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy lists more than 1,800 other promises from God. And no doubt His greatest was fulfilled – again, as predicted centuries earlier – through the birth of the world’s Savior in an obscure outpost of the Roman Empire. It was that first Christmas that God came to Earth to live among His creation in the person of Jesus. This Christ-child was God’s literal Christmas gift to us all.

This fulfillment of God’s Christmas promise was much more than a historic incident. Through Jesus, the devil was defeated and Christ-followers were given the power to live victorious, Spirit-filled lives. What’s more, nearly 20 centuries after His death and Resurrection, these same promises apply to us today. And in these uncertain times, it’s nice to have some sure things we can take to the bank. A prime example of this assurance speaks to us through the tenth chapter of Matthew:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny,” Jesus asked some of His earliest followers. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

That’s our Creator’s promise -- that He cares deeply for each one of us. And what’s more, He knows each of us intimately…even before He formed us in our mother’s womb.

In God We Trust, indeed!

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