When I was girl, my family took an old blue bedspread to the Capitol lawn, where we listened to military bands play music that hung in the air with the summer humidity. We ate fried chicken with the marble dome looming behind us. Pillared porticos lined the green Mall of our National Capitol in front of us. Reliability. Longevity. Security. I felt so sure.
Today, I work for an agency funded, in large part, by a federal grant. From under the Dome above the green Mall, decisions made more than fifty years ago allow me to serve children and families in the State of Oregon. No matter the nation you call home, earthly governments impact our daily lives. We know, “the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes,” (Daniel 5:21b). God lets governments rule over and for us.
But it still surprised me when my government just decided to “shut down” on Friday night, January 19. Maybe you’re wondering what happens when the government shuts down. Sadly, leaders blame each other. The last time it happened in 2013, it lasted 16 days. It’s hard to believe in a caretaker who will just stop providing. We talk about “consumer confidence” and “national security” because leadership impacts TRUST. People stop feeling “sure.” Don’t you want to know who won’t let you down?
Who can I trust in a shutdown?
The Bible tells us how God relates to us as caretaker and leader. He is quoted in Malachi 3:6, saying He doesn’t change. That takes reliability to a whole new level! His Son Jesus is “the same yesterday and today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8). God is unchanging and legitimately offers certainty and security.
As wealthy as governments may be, God has more. His riches are too much to measure. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19). He isn’t reluctant to provide; He loves to provide for those He made. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
Before this shutdown, three continuing resolutions supplied national needs until the budget issue could be solved. What can we be sure of in a shutdown? After all, while my Nation is spending, our debt is growing. I can’t wrap my mind around the size of the numbers, but it seems like the money has to run out. The sum will someday fail. How can we trust in that?
But God is anything but earthly and His supply anything but doomed. We are reassured that, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God’s love for us will not fail, and His compassion is resupplied and freshly stocked daily. God’s resources and faithfulness to us are “great.”
I will never wake up and find out God has “shutdown.” He issued a “continuing resolution” by delivering His love and provision through His Son Jesus, and it doesn’t need to be reissued. It’s secure and reliable. We can trust God not to shutdown as our leader and provider.
But how about this earthly “government shutdown” business? Are you worried? Do you need a passport? Are you a federal worker? In a military family? Have a trip planned to a national park? Or just hoping for confidence in the national government God allowed to rule in your nation? Me too.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)
I’m a long way from the marble dome where the US government is hashing out a way to better days. But I’m not worried. God will not shutdown His care for us. Of this, I’m sure.
I think I’ll celebrate with fried chicken.