All over the world today, people are living in very tough, trying, demanding, hard, harsh and challenging times.
Long ago, the apostle Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1 as follows, “Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead” (The Message). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.”
It seems no one is spared the effects of the current recession. Not even the so-called economic super powers! For instance on 6 August 2011, one of the world’s leading credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s, downgraded the United States’ top-notch AAA rating for the first time ever. S&P cut the long-term US rating by one notch to AA+ with a negative outlook, citing concerns about budget deficits. The agency said the deficit reduction plan passed by the US Congress in August did not go far enough. Commentators say the downgrade could erode investors’ confidence in the world’s largest economy. It is already struggling with huge debts, unemployment of 9.1% and fears of a possible double-dip recession.
In the same way, on 7 October 2011, the true state of the British economy was revealed when 12 UK banks had their credit ratings reduced.
The UK Debt Statistics from Credit Action for October 2011 gives an idea of what people are grappling with on a daily basis:
· Average household debt in the UK is ~ £8,042 (excluding mortgages). This figure increases to £15,466 if the average is based on the number of households who actually have some form of unsecured loan.
· £55,822 average household debt (including mortgages)
· £175m personal interest paid in UK daily
· 8,910 number of new debt problems dealt with by Citizen’s Advice Bureau each working day (as at June 2011)
· 1,775 people made redundant daily
· 849,000 unemployed for 12 months
· Every 14.6 minutes a property is repossessed
· Every 4.31 minutes someone will be declared insolvent or bankrupt
· £141,370,000 is the interest the Government has to pay each day on the UK’s net debt of £2258.8bn (which includes financial interventions). This is estimated to rise to £182m a day in 2015-16.
· £1,278,000,000 total value of all purchases made using plastic cards everyday
· Total UK personal debt at the end of August 2011 stood at £1,451bn. The twelve-month growth rate remained unchanged at 0.9%. Individuals currently owe nearly as much as the entire country produced between Q2 2010 and Q1 2011.
People react to stress and pressure in different ways
· Some people run away from their problems
· Some people throw themselves into work
· Some people forget God
· Some people commit suicide
But what is God’s Expectation?
· Keep your focus on Jesus; not on the economy; not on your job or business. Remember that God is your source!!!
· Don’t give in; don’t give up!!! Remember that whatever you are going through will pass. “Tough Times Never Last but Tough People do” is the title of a popular book!!!
· God actually thinks about you. And His thoughts are for good, not evil, so as to give you a future and a hope!!!
· Learn to sow generously, because as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will not cease.
· God cares for you. He loves you. If He gave Jesus to die for you before you knew Him, know for certain that now that you have become His child, He will not withhold anything good from you!!!
· Commit your problems or challenges to God. Remember not to worry about anything, but instead to pray about everything!!! If you persevere, God will come through for you!!!The Bible is very clear that God will provide for His own. In Psalm 37:18-19, we are told that “The Lord knows the daily struggles of innocent people. Their inheritance will last forever. They will not be put to shame in trying times. Even in times of famine they will be satisfied” (GOD’S WORD Translation). The Message translation is even more forthcoming “God keeps track of the decent folk; what they do won’t soon be forgotten. In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high; when the shelves are bare, they’ll be full”.