Have you ever sat down on the edge of a bench, only to realize that the seat wasn’t fastened? Without a counterweight, it quickly turns into a seesaw and you are suddenly sitting on the ground. What appeared to be a stable place to rest was more of a trap.
Many of us viewed early COVID as a teeter-totter and have been assuming that as we progress towards reopening, things will stabilize. But recent months have shown us it’s too soon to exhale. There are new factors at play that may bring fresh challenges to workers, consumers, and employers.
First, let’s rewind. We began with two months of economic disaster in April and May of 2020. Everything was on hold, markets crashed, consumers went into forced hibernation. Then by the summer of 2020 we had shifted to a nice slow, steady recovery, a recovery that was in part funded by government aid and limited in pace by pandemic restrictions. All the time the focus was on reopening, reopening, reopening.
Now we are reopening and things are changing. As people go back out and open their wallets, consumers are facing shortages of all sorts of commodities: from cars to chickens to housing. Companies are facing supply chain challenges. For instance, a massive shortage of computer chips is halting the production of new cars. Shortages drive prices up. Higher prices deplete the buying power of consumers and slow down the economy. All of this is bringing back the old teeter-totter of uncertainty. Just when we had enough!
Christ followers claim a number of anchors in the face of uncertainty:
God can use anything – even bad things – for our good (Romans 8:28).
While our circumstances may change, Jesus never does (Hebrews 13:8).
God will provide us the strength we need to get through any and every circumstance, times of plenty and times of want (Philippians 4:12-13).
If you are facing a decrease in your spending power, or an adjustment to your retirement plans, or especially a major life overhaul because your money doesn’t go as far as it used to (this is the depleting power of inflation), it may be hard to feel very good about the sentiments of these verses. But what is the alternative?
The beauty of navigating our work with Jesus is that every contingency still leads to a good end no matter how bumpy the ride or if we feel like we are on a seesaw. Let that soak into our souls in such a way that it provides emotional solace is the game-changer we need in the face of post-pandemic stress.