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"Are you asleep?" I whispered.
"No ... I'm wide awake," my husband, Loren, said as he reached over and clutched my hand in his.
"Can you believe how much of your retirement we've lost?" I said. "What are we going to do? What if we lose everything?" We lay in the dark and wrestled with shadowy fears for our future.
Loren had spent eighteen years working sixty-hour weeks. We tried to make wise choices and had invested his retirement through a young man with an established company. But for the previous six months, we held our breath as we peeled open each financial statement. With every report, we watched our years of hard work and sacrifice dwindle away. Like the pulsing pain of an infected tooth, the unpredictable market caused us tension headaches and sleepless nights.
Exhausted from lack of rest, we prayed and turned to God's Word for an answer. We examined the noble life of Job. The Bill Gates of his day, Job possessed the epitome of the American dream in the land of Uz.
Yet, like all humans, Job was not immune to tragedy. Blinded by loss, he laments "Where then is my hope? As for my hope who can see it?" (Job 17:15 NKJV).
Now Loren and I faced the same question. We asked ourselves, does our hope lie in Loren's job and consistent paycheck at the end of the month? Do we trust in our health, retirement account, and our own abilities? Or do we trust God with our whole life, including the uncertain tomorrows?
After a lengthy talk one evening, we both agreed we could not spend our days gripped by fear. Once again we prayed together about our finances and the years ahead. We decided we had to do something. The next morning Loren and I composed a letter to our financial advisor. We wrote:
Dear Keith and office staff,
Thank you for the great job you do. We appreciate the care and hard work you put in to assist us
in building our future retirement. It's easy to give in to fear during these uncertain times. The
current economic crisis has helped remind us that our hope is not in the US government, the
stock market, or the wizards of Wall Street. Our hope is in the Lord who controls our future.
Have a great day!
Loren & Kathy
In writing that letter we committed to the Lord that we would do our part to make the most of the resources He provided. But ultimately we trusted His plan for us and our finances.
The moment we dropped that letter at the post office faith freed us from months of crushing worry. However, we had no idea the impact our personal struggle and decision to trust God with our investments would have on our financial advisor and his staff.
The secretary called first to thank us for the card; overwhelmed by emotion she said, "This is not the kind of response we've received lately from our clients. In fact no one has said anything like this to us about their accounts."
Unlike reactions he'd received from other clients, Keith was stunned. He called twice and stammered each time for words to express how much our note meant to him. A week later we received a thank-you card signed by everyone in the office.
While the stock market continued to cascade, the office staff e-mailed several more times to thank us. On difficult days our words of faith buoyed morale among the staff as they kept our card circulating throughout their office.
According to current news reports, it appears the stock market rollercoaster is plummeting downhill again. Only God knows when and where the crazy ride will stop.
As for Loren and me, we no longer question, "Where is our hope?" Instead we rest easy at night, because this time around we know who holds our future.
© 2011 Kathleen Kohler