I was struck by several things today. Today we swore in our new President. Although I will probably agree with very few of his decisions, I am reminded how lucky we are in America. Rick Warren's prayer hit on so many good issues today at the Inauguration but one thing stood out.
"We are blessed enough to witness the peaceful exchange of power for the 44th time in our nation's history." (paraphrase)
Simple saying however, on this day when I worry about some of my values being threatened by the new admistration, I see how we are still so blessed. For over 200 years we have lived in relative peace (with the exception of the Civil War) in our lands with no fear of forceful take overs in our government.
My daily worry is not over what I will find to eat or if another ethnicity will rise to power that will attempt to annhiliate mine. I don't worry about a warm home or even hot water. We have so much in this country!!!
We are in the midst of a series of financial sermons at our church and something Pastor Daniel said a couple weeks ago really resonated with me. He was talking about the passages in Scripture that address riches and people who are rich. We have a tendency to assume that the Scriptures are not speaking to us in this section. Because being rich is a moving target. He showed us that we are the ones that God is speaking to as the rich.
Pastor Daniel also brought up a very shocking statistic. If you make $37,000 a year, you are in the world's top 4% of all income earners. If you make $45,000 a year, you are in the world's top 1% of all income earners. Wow! Talk about a change of perspective. I live my life based on how many clothes I can buy....
So for most of the majority of the US, and yes, even those who live on significantly less that $37,000 a year, we are extremely wealthy. God has blessed this country with monetary wealth and looking back, so much relative peace!
I was driving today thinking about these things and my thoughts turned to a couple that I went to high school with. They have a son born with heart problems. He has had 4 open heart surgeries in the past 2 years. They have faced significant financial difficulties resulting from many medical bills. They are concerned about the well-being of their son. The mother/wife just had an accident were she was injured and incurred more medical bills. To top it off, the husband/father was laid off from his job on Friday. And yet, they continue to walk in faith.
As we face these changes and trying economic times, we do have a constant. God is still in control. It did not surprise Him that 9/11/01 occurred. It did not surprise Him that Obama was elected our 44th President. It did not surprise Him that bad things would happen to good people. However, nothing is allowed to happen without His express allowance. Sure, we make our own decisions and sometimes choose the wrong ones, however, He does make all things good and He does have a plan and it's a good one.
So today, a day that leads to all of our futures, I have a different feeling than I thought I would. And that is one of thankfulness for all He has entrusted us with in this country. We are so blessed!