Forecasts of catastrophe often invoke the Titanic – that “unsinkable” ship that hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean back in 1912 and cost so many lives. The phrase “rearranging the furniture on the Titanic” refers to actions that have the appearance of doing something productive, but are actually pointless and futile in the face of the impending doom. I have heard people invoke that parallel in discussions about changing the direction of our country.
After much prayer, research and consultation with wise counselors, I firmly believe we are headed for not only a “breech in the hull,” where some people can escape disaster before the ship finally sinks, but a direct hit. The potential catastrophic economic collapse poses a greater danger than any iceberg. It is true that Christians, as well as nations, can grow stronger after shocking, devastating events including extreme persecution. Perhaps and hopefully, yes, even prayerfully, come hell or high water the church will actually become stronger and a nation can rise from the ashes. But let’s be honest and realistic.
It is one thing to be hit by an enemy or an undetected iceberg, but what if the catastrophic event comes not from an outside source, but comes by our own hand: suicidal foolishness or a captain and crew who deliberately direct the ship toward certain disaster. We are witnessing the inability to prepare for unexpected disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Just as those on the Titanic, who thought they were unsinkable, didn’t have enough lifeboats, national leadership and bureaucratic agencies have proven they can’t even handle the disaster of an oil spill. We certainly can’t count on the environmental extremists that forced us to drill at unrealistic depths to get necessary energy resources. This illustrates the type of leadership that can have disastrous consequences – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Surely no one could be so thoughtless or cruel unless, because of their misguided belief system and world view, they actually thought they had taken the best possible course. In my opinion, this is our present situation in the United States and the whole world will feel the tremors and crisis sure to come when we collide with the disastrous consequences of unwise decisions. There is no need to blame the foolish crew of the Titanic or the arrogant boasting about how the ship was unsinkable when it is all past history. But what about our present actions and direction?
I am concerned, as are many with whom I pray and consult. We have a consensus of opinion that we are headed directly for catastrophic consequences nationally and internationally in the areas of economics and morality, devastating all aspects of our lives, if we don’t make a meaningful course correction. As you pray and ask God what we are to do and who can help, please keep in mind that an incorrect course correction enabling us to avoid a collision could just delay the impending danger. Changing course and heading in a safer, saner direction would certainly help, but if it is not actually the best possible course, we may be headed for an even greater crisis.
What if we prayed together and sought the aid of Providence, as did our founders, and refused to sit in the counsel of the ungodly and ultimately discovered the best, safest, most secure course for our ship of state (our present day Titanic) and continued our journey toward the safest possible harbor. This is not only possible, it is promised by the God who will be a light to our path, a shelter from the storm, and the ultimate resting place. Our God actually invites us into His rest and assures us that His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
It is important to note that we see some things as icebergs, as problems, when in fact they are important aspects of freedom. Several months ago while in earnest prayer, I sensed a very strong impression I believe came from God – that a healthy free market was actually in harmony with His kingdom purpose. It is one of freedom’s blessings and responsibilities. Consider Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.
I had the privilege of spending two days this week in personal, prayerful discussion with Jay Richards, author of a book I highly recommend Money, Greed, and God. I was greatly inspired, enlightened and challenged by this deeply spiritual and well-informed philosopher. Here is an excerpt from his book concerning understanding and action I believe to be part of the necessary course correction. The free market isn’t an iceberg and by no means a problem when people are moved by God and not by greed. It is in fact one of the solutions we seek.
Here are ten suggestions shared in Jay’s book concerning how to alleviate poverty and create purposeful wealth:
- Establish and maintain the rule of law.
- Focus the jurisdiction of government on maintaining the rule of law, and limit its jurisdiction over the economy and the institutions of civil society.
- Implement a formal property system with consistent and accessible means for securing a clear title to property one owns.
- Encourage economic freedom: Allow people to trade goods and services unencumbered by tariffs, subsidies, price controls, undue regulation….
- Encourage stable families and other important private institutions that mediate between the individual and the state.
- Encourage belief in the truth that the universe is purposeful and makes sense.
- Encourage the right cultural mores – orientation to the future and the belief that progress but not utopia is possible in this life; willingness to save and delay gratification; willingness to risk, to respect the rights and property of others, to be diligent, to be thrifty.
- Instill a proper understanding of the nature of wealth and poverty – that wealth is created, that free trade is win-win, that risk is essential to enterprise, that trade-offs are unavoidable, that the success of others need not come at your expense, and that you can pursue legitimate self-interest and the common good at the same time.
- Focus on your competitive advantage rather than protecting what used to be your competitive advantage.
- Work hard.
There is no doubt, our nation and much of the church need a course correction. Betty and I encourage every believer and every concerned American to join us in prayer for divine direction. Pray the population will learn to trust God, not government! Ask for wisdom to know how to help the poor and suffering through compassionate love, not through forced wealth redistribution without responsibility or accountability. Pray people will learn to look and live beyond their own limited, self-centered world and actually become salt and light. Cry out to God for a spiritual awakening leading to national repentance bringing families together, inspiring churches to impact their communities with love and transforming power. Pray for leaders to become wise by understanding that the strength of our nation is the character and potential of the people, not the size and power of a controlling, all-consuming, ever-growing federal government. Remember, it takes time to turn a huge ship. It cannot be foolishly abrupt! It has to be a sure, steady adjustment and we must know what we are turning from and the direction we are turning toward.
Finally, we pray, “Dear God help us not only to change course as a nation, but to also discover the correct course for our personal lives.”