“The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our money.” — John Henry Jowett
In the spring of 2008, Chuck and his friend Roger were enjoying a new hobby. They both loved auctions, and there was an auction house in our area that had their full attention. It was fun to see the occasional treasures that they came carrying in to show me. Then one day, Chuck pulled me aside to tell me about an “opportunity” that they’d been made aware of — the estate of a former antique store owner in Anaheim Hills was being offered “at a really reasonable price.”
At that moment in time, lots of people in our area and across the nation had money to spend. For some there was a bundle to be made in the stock market. And many — including Chuck and myself — had benefitted from the housing bubble, having sold their homes for the most ridiculous prices. Of course we all assumed that the houses we purchased with our profits were good investments.
In the wake of 9/11, President Bush could often be seen on TV reminding the country not to let the terrorists win. To accomplish that, we were told to go out and spend, spend, spend to show the enemy that we would not live in fear or be deterred from continuing to enjoy life the American way!
Before Jonathan Cahn’s “Isaiah 9:10” revelations, no one was aware that our nation’s problems are primarily spiritual and cannot be solved by throwing money at them or by sending in our military men and women to kill off the perceived masterminds of terrorism. And in spring of 2008, it seemed that purchasing the antique owner’s estate would not only be smart but a lot of fun! So Chuck and Roger handed over the money, packed up the deceased woman’s home and filled two large storage units with boxes full of items, hidden inside reams of bubble wrap and newsprint.
Roger’s wife, Debbie, and I dug in to help our husbands unwrap and take inventory of our joint venture. We had no idea what any of the stuff was worth, but as we looked up items on the Internet and browsed through antique books, it seemed like we were invested in a sure thing … traveling a road to financial freedom!
The idea had been to connect with the auctioneer whom the guys had become friends with over their repeated visits to the auction house. Clint had agreed to set up auctions for us and move the merchandise. “All we had to do” was unwrap everything — O my gosh! — and be ready to count the money as it rolled in. So we worked long hours for several weeks unpacking everything. Periodically Chuck and Roger would ask Clint when he was going to set up our first auction, and Clint would assure them, “In a few weeks … just let me get done with (fill in the blank) and I’ll get back to you.”
Summer rolled around and Clint still had “not had time” to arrange our auctions. The four of us repacked everything and moved it all to another location so we wouldn’t have to pay storage fees while we were waiting. Finally, in September, Clint’s crew began tagging our inventory. He reserved the local Elks’ Lodge as the venue, and our initial auction was set to happen the first week in October. Chuck, Roger, Debbie and I were tired, excited and more than ready to start getting rid of our valuable “stuff”!
But on September 29th, America’s financial system began to implode. The stock market experienced the largest one-day percentage drop since the crash of 1987. People instantly stopped spending. All the collectibles that could have netted us tens of thousands of dollars were suddenly nearly worthless.
One month later, DesignFluids.com summed it up this way: “We can trace the roots of the crisis back to the 9/11 attacks…. After 9/11 American people were encouraged to spend, spend, spend in the spirit of patriotism, to help restart the flailing economy…. To fuel that spending, in the extraordinary political and psychological climate of the time, U.S. policy makers actively encouraged levels of borrowing and lending that would never otherwise have been allowed.”
According to Rabbi Cahn’s “Isaiah 9:10 Effect” theory, God had given America a full seven years to recognize him as the Source of blessing, to seek Him, and to ask that He would once again swaddle the nation with His divine protection. Many individuals had been doing that all along. But the “utterance” had to come from someone with the authority to represent the nation as a whole. That was not forthcoming in 2009 from the newly elected President Barack Obama. Instead, he used his first opportunity to address the country to defiantly say: “I want every American to know this — WE WILL REBUILD…. The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.”
Our merry band of investors can only hope that things will turn around some day. But in the meantime, we will follow Job’s example and worship as he did after he lost everything that was precious to him.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
CONSIDER THIS: What have you lost during your lifetime? Material possessions? Good health? Friendships? An adored loved one? Make time to spend time with the only One who truly matters. And meditate on the wisdom of Job 1:22 — “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with any wrongdoing.”