In 2010, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, warned that monetary policies are on an “unsustainable path.” Similarly, former financial consultant for Fortune 100 companies and founder of Dent Research, Harry Dent, believes that the U.S. economy is set for a “shakeout more painful than anything we’ve seen before” with “the worst stock decline since 1930–1932” and a “fragile U.S. real estate market [that] is now ripe for an even bigger fall.” Likewise, bestselling financial author, Robert Wiedemer, has anticipated “50 percent unemployment, a 90 percent stock market drop, and 100 percent annual inflation,” while director of Marc Faber Ltd., Marc Faber, expects “massive wealth destruction.” With numerous economists warning of a looming crisis of epic proportions, where should we turn for refuge?
Even those who are generally more optimistic are concerned about the integrity of the U.S. economy. Nearly a decade after entering into the “Great Recession,” the national gross domestic product (GDP) is increasing by a meager 2%. This despite continual injections of cash into the system through quantitative easing, suppressed interest rates, and a federal budget deficit of more than half a trillion dollars annually. Moreover, the national debt has climbed to nearly $20 trillion dollars, saddling every U.S. citizen in the nation with more than $61,000 of federal debt, and every taxpayer with a debt of more than $166,000. By the year 2020, it is estimated that interest payments alone on the national debt will reach nearly $1 trillion annually, assuming that these exceptionally low interest rates do not rise. Certainly the U.S. economy is unhealthy. Regardless of whether or not we stand at the precipice of something as severe as an economic collapse, the economy remains precarious. Where then should we turn for refuge?
Careful analysis reveals that there are no traditional economic safe-havens. Precious metals, commodities, stocks, bonds, banks, and real estate are all emitting warning signals. Even such investments as 401Ks and pension plans offer no refuge. As such, the answer must rest beyond our traditional economic worldview.
Rarely will a financial advisor direct someone to the Bible, and yet the Bible is replete with financial advice. While the Bible does teach some traditional economic wisdom, it also teaches that God does not supply His people with wealth in order for them to horde it and ultimately spend it on themselves. Furthermore, God does not place a premium on personal comfort. Instead, God promises to meet our needs—not necessarily our desires—if we will faithfully invest into His kingdom. While this does not provide the kind of refuge that is certain to preserve our standard of living, this does provide a most secure sanctuary in times of extreme trials. In fact, Psalm 46 speaks of God as a safe haven when the entire world sinks into chaos at the end of this age, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. … Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when He lifts His voice. The LORD of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psalm 46:1–3 and 6–7).
Even as the earth trembles, kingdoms fall, and the nations rage in battle, God stands fast as an ever-present hope and refuge in times of trouble. Regardless of what our future may entail, God can be trusted. Precious metals, commodities, bonds, stocks, banks, and real estate may fail us, but God will never fail us. Therefore, in the midst of a precarious economy that threatens massive market swings, wealth destruction, and even the collapse of the U.S. dollar, we are driven to God as our sole place of refuge.
This article is excerpted from the paper “Seeking Refuge in a Precarious Economy.”
1. Dent, Harry Jr. The Sale of a Lifetime: How the Great Bubble Burst of 2017–2019 Can Make You Rich, 342. New York City: Penguin Random House, 2016.
2. Ibid, 169.
3. Ibid, 315.
4. “Economists Caution: Prepare for ‘Massive Wealth Destruction’.” Newsmax: Finance, n.d. Accessed January 24, 2017. http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/MKTNews/Massive-wealth-destruction-economy/2013/06/20/id/511043.
6. “United States GDP Annual Growth Rate.” Trading Economics, n.d. Accessed January 24, 2017. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth-annual.
7. U.S. Debt Clock.org. Accessed January 24, 2017. http://www.usdebtclock.org.
8. Woods, Thomas Jr. Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse, 6. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2011.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.