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Hidden in Plain Sight

It’s not unusual for me to misplace things, which is why God gave me Amy as my wife.  She always seems to have a sixth sense of where my car keys are and she’s got a great memory for the little things.  Which is why it was so odd yesterday when she was panicked over not being able to find a certain credit card that she had laid out on the counter earlier.

Work and school both got interrupted so the two of us could scour the house for the card.  We checked the normal obvious places like the “mail/to do” basket, counters and dressers; then we went for my office, under furniture, in our cars, etc.  Finally we went out and were opening and sorting through bags of garbage!

After an hour or so, Amy had the bright idea of bribing our children with five dollars to whomever could find the missing card, at which point our 14-year-old looked in that same “mail/to do” basket and found it literally within 10 seconds!  We were in a bit of disbelief as the two of us had checked that basket no less than five times.  It felt like some sort of sorcery or cruel joke; like it appeared out of thin air. I still have no idea how we didn’t see it, it’s almost hard to believe.

The Benefit of Hindsight

It’s tempting to feel that way about the markets in 2022.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  The truth is obvious when you can look back at it.  It’s also tempting to wonder why you didn’t make certain decisions, financial or otherwise, in preparation or response.

Similarly, there’s going to be a point we look back on that was the beginning of the true rebound (which may or may not have already come!).  We’ll look back at hindsight on that and know that we should have seen the signs and made some different decisions.  Of course it’s almost always obvious looking back as we have the benefit of additional information.  We also have had all of the other potential outcomes eliminated at that point and we forget that there are numerous ways that situations could have played themselves out.

Stewardship, not prophecy

My hope for us all is that we can take that pressure of reading the tea leaves off of ourselves.  That’s not what God has in mind when it comes to faithful stewardship.  A steward isn’t responsible for having a crystal ball or divine inspiration.  Nor is a steward supposed to be able to control global events or never make a mistake.

Rather, a steward is called to be faithful – full of faith.  Faith that the One who provided the resources in the beginning is good, and has limitless resources at His disposal.  Faith that our actual worth isn’t defined by a net worth statement.  And faith that one day God is going to redeem everything that is broken and that we were made for an eternal home in heaven.

The spirit of the pilgrim greatly facilitates praying.  An earth-bound, earth-satisfied spirit cannot pray.  In such a heart, the flame of spiritual desire is either gone out or smouldering in faintest glow.  The wings of its faith are clipped, its eyes are filmed, its tongue silenced.  – E.M. Bounds The Necessity of Prayer

It feels to me like when I keep my mind and heart on the things of earth, it’s a lot like rummaging through garbage in the hopes of finding what’s missing.  The reality is that 1) that’s not where I’ll find it and 2) it’s a miserable experience in general.

So, fellow steward, let’s keep our focus on what we can control, namely where our ultimate hope is and how we will respond to those situations in life that go awry.  When we focus on those, we’ll be a people more filled with joy, less bothered by a crumbling culture, and able to offer hope to those around us.