This past week was fairly quiet on the economic front worldwide. A few events were positive and few were negative, but they mostly offset each other. Volatility was lower than the recent norm.
On the positive side, the final estimate for the fourth quarter of 2015 GDP was raised to 1.4 percent, from the prior estimate of 1.0 percent. But since we are a week away from being in the second quarter of 2016, reaction was muted. New home sales were up 2 percent. The Purchasing Managers' Flash Services Index increased to 51 from 49.8.
On the negative side, U.S. stocks fell to break their five week winning streak. Fourth quarter after-tax corporate profits fell to a negative 3.6 percent from the prior estimate of a positive 1.3 percent. Existing home sales fell a surprising 7.1 percent from the previous month. February durable goods orders fell 2.8 percent from the January estimate. The MBA Home Purchase Applications Index fell 1 percent.
Many factors exist which could change the economy quickly. Unanticipated policy moves by central banks, Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit), further weakening of key economies (including Brazil, China, Southern Europe and Japan), currency instability, failure of major institutions, further terrorist activity, escalating geopolitical tensions and a host of other factors could change the economy significantly.
While waiting for changes in the economy, common sense preparations should be made. Specifically, individuals should:
- eliminate debt as much as possible
- diversify investment portfolios
- develop multiple income streams
- increase your income potential
- network with people who have different skills
- store emergency supplies
- be proactive and not fearful
Kingdom citizens are no strangers to waiting. Brothers and sisters in Christ will usually have to wait for the fullness of everything the Lord has promised to materialize. But it will be fulfilled. Not one word of His promises will fail (1 Kings 8:56b). Waiting for the Lord is a process. As we wait, we should be patiently expecting His goodness to manifest.
"I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be strong, and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord" (Psalm 27:13-14, MEV).
Our waiting should be a time of rest because our confidence is in Him. We are cautioned not to concern ourselves with the prosperity of others, not to be angry, not to worry and to avoid evil deeds. The Word tells us to hope in the Lord. We are promised the Earth as our inheritance.
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of those who prosper in their way, because of those who make wicked schemes. Let go of anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it surely leads to evil deeds. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the earth" (Ps. 37:7-9, MEV).
As we wait on the Lord, we are promised new strength. While we wait for Him, we will be lifted up like an eagle. An eagle, the most majestic of birds, can reach heights of 15,000 feet and can spot a rabbit two miles away. It can soar on updrafts for hours expending little effort. We are promised a new perspective that is nearly effortless; a bird's-eye view that will allow us to spot opportunities and threats. Lastly, we are promised supernatural endurance.
"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. The Lord Helps Israel" (Is. 40:31, MEV).
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" (Rom. 8:25, MEV).
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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