“Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”
If you’re an investor, you’ve read this fine print disclaimer on every glossy prospectus. It’s the boiler plate statement of the financial services sector.
So what’s it mean?
Basically, mutual fund managers use color charts of past growth in returns on investment to entice new investors while simultaneously forewarning them that market fluctuations can easily turn yesterdays gains into future losses.
Fortunately, the Kingdom of God is not Wall Street. (No, Christians aren’t promised a steady up-tick in our fortunes no matter how many TV preachers say so!) But God’s past performance is absolutely an indicator of what He is capable of doing here and now and in the future.
All the biblical repetition of His being “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” is no accident. God wants us to remember what He did in the lives of those men, the promises He made and kept, despite their human frailty and flaws. He lets the record speak for itself so that we might be encouraged to trust that He’ll do what He says He’ll do generation after generation – despite us.
What do I do with this knowledge? When I face a mega-problem with no visible solution I look back to past problems that God solved:
- I needed to quickly sell my first home in a down market while surrounded by houses that had been on the market for months. My Realtor said it would take at least 90 days to sell. I showed the house once. It sold in two weeks.
- A decade ago, I had a major health scare that could have prevented me from seeing my children grow up. It turned out to be a minor problem, and I’ve been blessed to watch my babies grow into confident young adults.
- When things fell apart, as things sometimes do, God was there to help me reassemble the pieces.
God has a track record of being trustworthy not only in the Bible but right here in my everyday life. He says: “I am the Lord, and I do not change.” (Malachi 3:6) He means it.
He isn’t saying our circumstances won’t change. He isn’t guaranteeing that everything will be rosy, any more than an honest broker would. God is simply saying that no matter what happens He will not change. Everything may turn against you. But “God is for you.”
For me, this is encouraging news. I’m at a place in life where many things are changing. I’m soon to send my eldest off to college. I’m on the verge of a career shift. Life, like investing, is unpredictable. I like knowing that my future is in the hands of the Most High performing portfolio manager.
Whether life brings bulls, bears or gentle breezes, I trust that He will be what He always has been: Faithful.