Turning Graves Into Gardens
When the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed Mar. 10, it sent shockwaves across the nation. The waves continued as more details of this sad saga continued in the weeks that followed.
Ironically, this happened after Congress relaxed some of the safeguards put in place after the real estate debacle of 2008 plunged the country into the Great Recession. Indeed, it has sparked talk of another recession.
However, in the midst of this wave of bad news, I heard another story from a woman whose family had been forced to file bankruptcy.
This regrettable step followed years of specialized medical treatment for a child that led to a familiar story: such debt causing bankruptcy. According to this CBNC story, two-thirds of Americans who file cite medical bills as a key reason for their downfall.
The marked contrast is the hope that emerged from this family’s story. Two days after the SVB News, this woman shared at a church service how from their low point, God used it to restore their finances and show them peace and prosperity.
“We’ve lived it,” she said of overcoming despair. “Things happen. Life happens. Nothing’s perfect, but we have His perfect peace. If you feel bankrupt in any way—spiritually, emotionally, financially—that right there is what God often uses to bring abundance.
“We didn’t see it coming. We thought this is what God called us to do: to lack and praise Him in it. But He brought abundance, health and prosperity. We were into graves and just bloomed out of it. That was the soil He chose.”
She concluded her remarks with an encouragement that no matter what happens in life, turn your face toward God and say, “Nevertheless, God, I will still praise You.”
“It’s the most beautiful form of worship I’ve experienced with Him,” she said. “Don’t lose hope.”
Sharing this kind of optimistic story runs the risk of being accused of romanticizing poverty or closing one’s eyes to suffering.
I’m doing neither. Poverty is the pits. Having suffered through financial lack is the reason I can share in the joy this woman expressed after going through dire straits.
I know what it’s like to clutch at a few dollars and decide between buying a loaf of bread or some new underwear. I know what it’s like to have an empty cupboard and nothing to eat, only to be unexpectedly invited to someone’s house for sandwiches.
During the Great Recession, I watched my income start a four-year-long downward slide. It was depressing, gut-wrenching and disheartening.
Yet through all of this I kept my chin up, buoyed by faith in the same God that sustained this family through bankruptcy.
Relying on Faith
An earlier experience with calamity happened after the stock market plunge in October of 1987. My public relations business collapsed because of it. I wound up driving a delivery truck part-time, just to be sure I had some income.
But that is also how God redirected my efforts into the freelance writing and editing that still sustains us. It’s why I don’t fear another recession, as ugly as that could be for us.
The fear that grips many during fearful monetary times reminds me of the original New Living Translation’s phrasing of Ecclesiastes 5:16: “People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and empty-handed as they were on the day they were born.”
When your faith is in something stronger than the economy, it can—as the popular song declares—turn your graves into gardens.