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Be Thankful for What You Have

June 17, 2011

I was recently reading an article in World Magazine about how fantasy novels with bleak futures are all the rage among teenagers.  I have to admit that I do not have the pulse of the teenage fantasy novel market.  However, that trend does tie into a mood that I have been watching and sensing in discussions among my friends and from what I see in the media.  It should not be surprising if our teenagers pick up on our general pessimism of the future.  There is this mood that our better days are behind us.  That America is in decline.  That the die is cast.  That may be true but it may not be true.  We can be sure of one thing, which is that no one really knows.  Therefore, all this doom and gloom and general discouragement over the bleak future that our children have in front of them is entirely speculation.  I don’t know for certain and neither do you. 

We have a tendency to overreact to bleak news and be blinded by it.  As a Christian, I believe that all of the prosperity and hardship that we personally and as a nation experience are fully within the control of God’s sovereign plan.  We need to be careful about not being thankful for what we have, when we feel like we are losing something.  Since many people feel like the U.S. is in decline and that our economic futures are tied to that decline, let me use U.S. manufacturing as an example.   There is this notion that U.S. manufacturing is a thing of the past and it is just a matter of time before all of the jobs in the U.S. will be low paying service jobs.  Are you aware of the great extent to which the God has blessed the U.S., particularly in the area of manufacturing and the wealth that comes from it?  I don’t think that most people understand the scale of U.S. manufacturing.  In 2009, the U.S. ranked #1 in the world for manufacturing, and produced 14% more output than second-ranked China ($2.04 trillion) and twice as much output as third-ranked Japan ($1.15 trillion).  That is how we sit next to the #2 and #3 manufacturers in the world.  The chart below is a better help to give us an understanding of the scale of our blessings.  The perspective that we should not lose is that the U.S. produced almost as much manufactured goods as the #4 through #10 manufacturing countries in the world, combined. [1] 

That is impressive.  That is an incredible blessing.  We need to remind ourselves that God has given to our country above and beyond what we should expect.  It all is His and it may be in His sovereign plan to take it away.  However, we need to be grateful for what He has given us and what He continues to give.  We also need to remind ourselves that our security, joy, or hope is not in a strong economy.  It is in a strong and powerful God.


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