Opportunities of Financial Hardship

This message is different than anything I have ever written. I’m sure some will be irritated that I have crossed some kind of boundary, but it is a message I strongly feel I need to write. In fact, it is a message my conscience is requiring me to write. And though the focus of this message is directed toward the economy in the United States, it is definitely applicable to all our friends around the world. We need to get ready!

On Wednesday the US National debt went over 15 trillion dollars. The news made a few headlines, a few commentaries, and then faded away. And though the debt continues to climb, we really don’t hear much about it or the alarming dangers it is sure to cause. A few months ago, with the debates about raising the debt ceiling, the topic of US debt was daily discussed. But now, the average person probably thinks the need for concern has passed. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

It’s true that the number 15 trillion does not carry any special significance. In order to put debt in perspective, it must be compared to the ability to repay. A good, but not perfect, measure of this ability is to compare the US debt to the total amount of stuff produced in the US – the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. Within two weeks the ratio of debt to GDP will exceed 100%. And, again, though this number is not especially significant, it should make for at least a few days worth of news. It’s worth noting that the only other time our debt to GDP ratio exceeded 100% was during World War II when Defense spending was on the level of 42% of the GDP. The debt was rapidly paid down after the conclusion of the war.

In a few days, the Congress faces a “deadline” for making budgetary changes. If they miss the deadline there will be concern around the world. If they make the deadline and reach an agreement, the world will sigh with relief and believe the need for concern has passed. Once again, this is unfortunately not the case.

Things to consider…..

The budgetary changes (spending cuts and/or tax increases) being debated are to be distributed over the next ten years. And though any changes will be painful, the amounts being discussed will not alter our economic course. The proposed changes are simply not large enough.

We may have lost the ability to make the necessary changes.

The three largest government expenditures are Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense. The sum of these three expenses is slightly more than ALL the money the US receives in tax revenue. This means that even if we cut everything out of every other government program, we still could not balance our budget.

We may have lost our will to make the necessary changes.

If you have followed any of the discussions related to the economy over the past several months, you must agree that there are no simple answers. Some want to protect every social program and some want to make sure that taxes are not increased. I’m not sure that either side has the right answer, but one thing I know for certain: If we don’t do something extremely fast, the only possible result is disaster.

Why do I feel this is so critically important?

The world has fundamentally changed. The economic chaos we see today is the result of decisions made over the last thirty years. We have been immersed in a system of unbridled greed along with a growing philosophy of entitlement. The combination was destined to crash. And even if we are able to make corrections, the solution will be long and very painful. We need to be ready.

How can we be ready?

We first need to check our heart: Do we have an entitlement attitude? Do we have a lifestyle which we feel we are owed? If we do, we may be in for a great deal of unnecessary pain. Things are going to change. Families need to begin having discussions about priorities. We need to learn once again to keep our eyes focused on God and maintain an attitude of thankfulness.

Next, as we consider our lifestyle, we need to place everything on the table and see where personal cuts can be made. These may or may not be immediately necessary, but the time for discussion is now. If we have open discussions now we will be much more prepared to face the coming changes with a heart of contentment, and be prepared for our real opportunity.

Our future economy will either be bad…or really bad. As I have already stated, if our country does not make some drastic changes soon, we could face disaster. This would mean high inflation with more investment losses, unemployment, and foreclosures. Many will find it difficult to adjust their priorities and will feel hopeless. We must be prepared to give a reason for hope.

But even if we do not face a disaster – even if we are able to make the necessary changes – the results are going to be painful and will last for many, many years. There will be less money available for government programs, which means less money for spending and stimulating the economy. No matter where these cuts come from, real people will be impacted. Many will be hurting, and many will also be open to hope in ways they have not been before. But we must be ready with a life of consistent faith, in ways we have not yet had to face.

1 Peter 3:15
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

There are many people around the world who NEED to trust God every single day with the basic necessities of life. There is no question as to their source of hope. But many of us, though we have faith, have not really experienced daily testing. Well, the time may be coming and we must be ready. God will sustain us! He WILL prove faithful. This does not mean we will be protected from an economic struggle, but it does mean we do NOT need to fear or lose hope. Our hope must now and forevermore be in Christ and Christ alone.

Are you ready? In the last year I have gone from despair to a strange kind of excitement. Things are getting ready to be shaken. And if we are ready, we will have the ability to be a light in a way not seen for a long, long time. It will mean sacrifice; it will mean giving of ourselves like we have never felt possible; it will mean living Christian! Let’s not be caught unprepared. Let’s begin right now to consider where we place our trust and who provides our security. Let’s hold onto Christ like never before and be ready to minister during the coming opportunities of financial hardship.

Have a Christ Centered Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries

One response to “Opportunities of Financial Hardship”

  1. Anonymous

    I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work…I read your message daily. I'm by no means a 'strong Christian' but I am a believer and many of your messages touch me. Thank you!

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