This past weekend was something of a vacation for my family, if you count attending two meetings and making four presentations as vacation. Jan and I both had the opportunity to speak at the Three Forks Baptist Association‘s fall Woman’s Missionary Union meeting on Saturday. On Sunday, we attended homecoming at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Boone, which has two worship services, giving me a chance to speak twice. Samuel had multiple opportunities to nap.
The upside is that both meetings were in Boone, one of our favorite places in all the world. The downside was our lodgings — I had arranged to exchange an unused time share week at a local resort, of sorts, even though we could stay for only three days. I hadn’t worried too much when it was described as a “studio.” Most studios include a separate living and sleeping area, usually separated by a small kitchen.
This one was, shall we say, smaller than that. So small, in fact, that the bed was built into the wall. I don’t recall actually encountering a spring-loaded Murphy bed before, though I’ve often seen them used for comedic effect on old TV shows, where Lucy or one of the Three Stooges inevitably got folded into the wall. Apparently, however, they are still around. We didn’t get folded into the wall, but we didn’t sleep very well, either.
One would think that we could still enjoy the view. We could, except that our unit was on the ground floor, and the Mountain Laurels planted around the front stoop have all grown so large that they hide all but a few glimpes of the mountains. When standing, however, we could see an ugly gouge where Vulcan Minerals is mining gravel from one of the ridges.
Despite the less-than-ideal accommodations, we had many blessings to count: though we suffered a bit of the pain in rising gas prices, we weren’t in Galveston or Houston, where Ike left many people with nowhere to sleep at all.
And, when I checked out the online New York Times this morning, I realized that lots of people in the financial world had had sleepless weekends, as Wall Street giants Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers revealed how badly they’ve been humbled by the greed-based credit crisis, to which they contributed.
The text I used on Sunday was from 2 Samuel 22, which is almost identical to Psalm 18. Credited to David, the psalm describes a time of utter despair and distress, which inspired some serious prayer and led to what the psalmist described was an earth-shaking episode of divine deliverance.
I don’t know if the top bankers — who make more in a week than many of us will in a lifetime — can expect God to deliver them from their bad judgments, and it’s hard to have a lot of sympathy for executives who have already amassed ill-gotten fortunes that won’t help their companies return to solvency. They’ll walk away rich, while investors, taxpayers, and lower-level employees of soon-to-be defunct companies will suffer the most.
For the sake of all the small shareholders and college investments and pension funds that could feel the greatest pain, I hope there’s a lot of praying on Wall Street this week.
Sincere prayer may not result in a heavenly bailout, but it may change the perspective of some previously proud and greedy hearts, and that, at least, would be for the better.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.