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Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

DOES A BAD STOCK MARKET CHANGE OUR FAITH?

Over the last few weeks I have talked with a number of friends who have grown despondent over the size of their savings. Which have become significantly reduced by another round of stock losses. In some cases dropping more than ten percent in a month. Their normally happy disposition has become subdued by the knowledge of what they have saved is less than what they expected. They now worry about their future and ability to be free to pursue life.

Many are stuck watching the stock market hoping for a change, only to be left with a weakened sense of hope. They are glued to CNBC looking for hope or some clue that it is almost done going down. Optimism has flown from their minds, replaced with dread.

Panic and fear have set in. But the stock market is cyclical and never permanently sits still. It mostly goes up, but at times it goes down. Since that last major shudder to the stock market in 2008, the market has rebounded by over 300%. Each down is replaced by a higher up. But sitting in this moment of down it is hard to believe it will go up. They have no control of the cycle and that makes it worse.

Today, eighty percent of the stock market trades are made by computers. Guided by algorithms that are unaware of the emotional effect of their computer generated decisions. Large behemoths that are insensitive to the human emotions they create. There is no sensitivity to the human drama that they create.

A worldly function that impacts our outlook and faith. But should it? Should we put our sense of well-being on a petulant and uncaring machine. Eventually, the market will return to where it was, like it has so many times before. But for the moment this is a period of anxiety.

Like all anxieties that we can not control, our task is to not change our view of life. It is not the time to lose faith. We may have to cutback a little, but has our life really changed? Does it mean we become more miserly with our charity? Does it mean that our hopefulness needs to be abated?

Jesus answered these questions, while talking to the Samaritan person at the well. He simply said, when we allow the things of this world control us, we will thirst again. When we put our faith in his Living Water we will never thirst. The Living Water replaces gloom with a hopeful Christian attitude of joy.

It is a hard road to cross, what should we thirst for? It is hard when we see what we work for is diminished. It is hard when our human efforts don’t bear fruit, despite our earnestness.

What we can control is our faith. A faith that does not worry. Faith in Jesus gives us a future. The past is only history and doesn’t define the future.

Valleys are a part of life that are followed by mountain tops. It is here in these valleys our faith is refined and we become better prepared for the next valley.

Maybe it’s not the stock market that makes us despondent. Perhaps it’s a lost job opportunity. Perhaps the loss of a close friend. Many things in life are out of our control. Through Jesus what we can control is a spirit of optimism. A faith that believes all will be right. It is not being defeated that defines us, it is whether we get up and try again that defines us.

Turning our eyes to Jesus, dims the a world that can be wildly unresponsive. Drinking the Living Water of our faith calms our thirst and worries.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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