The anticipation of January 1st did not receive the blessing for a prosperous new year. Instead, it left people on the brink of a cliff, a fiscal cliff. Already in debt up to $16.5 trillion dollars which continues to climb by over one million each hour, there is not much assurance for a stable economy this coming year.
Incomes across the U.S. workforce dropped this month and it was not only the rich who were taxed. For those in the lower class or only with one income, supporting a household can become a daunting task. Income continues to go down, jobs continue to be lost, the economy continues to fail – but that doesn’t stop gas prices, food prices, insurance prices and every other cost from rising. Heaven help those who lost jobs this past year with no hopes of getting another.
Unemployment is reported as being 7.5%, but over 12 million people are still out of work. If everyone were counted – including those who gave up looking for a job – the percentage would be near 22% – almost one quarter of America out of work. Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Pacific Investment Management Company, told CNBC businesses were confronting a “new normal [of] sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment and concerns about debt and deficits.” He explains the “new normal as a stagnant economy with an overlay of political polarization and dysfunction.”
The nation’s foundational sands are slipping from under our feet, pulling us all in a downward spiral into the quicksand of debt. Yes. There is dread for this nation.
Doubt in Leadership
Super storm Sandy was the costliest natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and yet it took the government almost two months before responding. Finally, a bill was passed to provide over nine billion in recovery funds with a hopeful proposal for $51 billion more.
Meanwhile, the president enjoyed time on the beach to the tune of seven million dollars. He also issued an executive order giving each congressman a $900 per year raise. Thankfully, Congress voted it down, agreeing they didn’t deserve a raise when the country was facing unprecedented debt. It makes the one wonder what our leaders are thinking. Yes. There is doubt in leadership.
Fear of the Future
Where there is dread, there is doubt. Doubt leads to fear. Fear slithers in invisibly undermining everything we have been taught. Can we trust our leaders to get us out of this fiscal mess? Can we hope that Congress will come through? Can we hope that new jobs will be created this year, or that costs will go down? Who can we trust? Yes. There is fear for the future.
Fear is a killer. Fear can send the strongest man cowering into a corner while it marinates another in a pool of depression and despair. Fear is an invisible force that can stop one’s heart without a blow. Fear can cripple the mind and defeat the spirit without a word. Fear can be a hard enemy to fight if one -if does not know how.
Fear is a formidable, invisible foe. It must be fought with an invisible weapon: the arsenal of faith. Faith builds up. Faith encourages. Faith gives strength and courage. To have faith is to have hope. But, what should we have faith in? Our jobs? The government? Who can we trust? Does anyone tell the truth? A proverb states, “It is better to put your trust in God than to place your confidence in man.” Real faith comes by knowing truth, and then standing upon that truth no matter what circumstances say. Faith is trust in someone higher than ourselves. King Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not rely on only what you understand or what you think you know.”
Jesus taught a parable about a wise man who built his house upon a rock. When trouble came, the wise man’s house withstood the storm. The lesson to learn is as relevant today as it was then – the wise person will build his life on a firm foundation, one that cannot fail.
Though unseen, faith is an invisible shield of protection built over time. Little by little, event upon event as you put your trust in God’s providence and see Him intervene. Each time your faith is built a little more, and you dare to trust more deeply. Each layer of faith forms a more secure foundation upon which you can stand. When you are secure on that foundation, you plant your feet resolutely on what you know – on what you have seen God do. Soon, that foundation becomes a wall, and then an undefeatable tower of safety. Some trust in the job, but companies fold; some trust the government to come through, but governments collapse and nations crumble. Men will disappoint, lie, and fail, but to securing trust in God’s Word is a sure promise of safety.
Though the world seems to crumble about me, there is no need to dread, doubt or fear. In its place, I can have trust, faith, and hope; for my Heavenly Father has all the riches in the world. If He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass, won’t He be faithful to care for me? He knows my name, and he cares for me. I will put my faith in the Rock, the one who is higher, wiser, and stronger. He is, and will be my shield, a firm foundation, and a tower of strength in these unstable times.
It is not blind faith, as some may think. I do not believe in the darkness, but in the Light. We have the promise that God will light our path and show us the way. Though I may not be able to see what’s ahead, yet I know where I am planting my foot – and it will be on solid ground, on a rock of safety – even if it is only one step at a time.
– more to come.