shutterstock_238020544Friends and I who are now called “seniors” take two distinctly different approaches to risk. Some of us feel more willing than ever to try new things. Our motto might be, “What have I got to lose?” Others are so fearful of making foolish decisions that they live in a state of paralysis. If they ever dare to entertain the question, “What have I got to lose?” their immediate response is, “Everything!

These two views largely determine the outcome of our decisions, as well as the level of angst we experience when we make decisions.

I’ve seen some friends spend their “golden years” trying to save enough, insure enough, and hedge enough bets to reduce their risk to zero. By the time they cover every conceivable contingency, life has passed them by. I feel a deep sadness when I peer into their coffins.

We need to admit that risk a fact of life, even at the end of it. So let’s keep a few essential realities in mind when we make decisions now:

  • Physical death is a sure thing. Physical life is not.
  • Financial failure can be guaranteed. Financial success cannot.
  • Sorrow will come looking for you. Happiness will not.
  • Do nothing risky and you will receive the inevitable rewards of inaction.
  • But act with faith in the providence of God and–while you may lose things familiar and secure–the rewards can be far greater.

Worth remembering on this day when financial markets are in turmoil and the Dow Jones has fallen more than 600 points.

 

 

Blooming snowdrops flowers covered by snow

Photo by Guzowski

An icy mix of rain, sleet, and snow was falling when I entered my dentist’s office. The hygienist greeted me with a cheery, “April showers bring May flowers!”

“Even snow showers?” I asked.

“Well, maybe global warming will do away with the snow,” she said.

I pondered how my home state of Indiana would look without snow. Seems to me that the changing seasons bring us various kinds of beauty–including snow!–that I don’t want to be deprived of, even if I have to shovel my sidewalk now and then. I accept the fact that seasons change, as do many other aspects of our world, and I’ve learned that change can be a good thing. In fact, it can be a divinely blessed thing.

When foreign invaders crushed Jerusalem and carried God’s people into slavery, the prophet Daniel prayed:

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
             wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
             he deposes kings and raises up others (Dan. 2:20-21).

God used the years of Exile to draw his people back to himself and strengthen their faith for the future. That renewal was worthy of praise!

Some say that God does not cause change, whether it’s seasonal change or regime change. I don’t know. However, I believe the most radical change cannot thwart God’s intentions and often expedites them. Change can bring us fresh perspectives and force us to try solutions we might have ignored if everything “stayed put.”

So I don’t wish that things will never change. They will anyway—and God may bless us more as a result.