Everybody has been impacted in one way or another from the recession and an economy, which despite reports that it is “improving,” continues to limp along, to say the least. We’ve all observed the price of food and gas both sky-rocketing to ridiculous levels and along with that you probably haven’t seen a decrease in your health insurance premium in several years. If you can’t remember, go back and look and I bet you’d be surprised. Though I don’t recommend it because it may leave you slightly more discouraged than you are now. But I digress. If you’re in school, you no longer have the ability to choose your bank to get the lowest interest rate possible since the government took over school loans in 2009. So while the government sticks you with whatever high interest rate they want, tuition rates – on average – go up just about every semester it seems like.
While all this is going on, many people, including myself, are finding that they’re underwater in their home loans and despite the Home American Refinance Program (HARP), instituted by President Obama, are unable to refinance or are able to refinance, but only see a slight reduction in payment. Numerous people are still without a job and despite the improving unemployment numbers, many have stopped looking. Those of us with jobs are still earning the same amount of money we were making five years ago. So while the cost of living has increased, there has been little support from companies, to their employees, to help offset that increase with an increase in pay. The reality is, you’re really making less than you were five years ago.
I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of the various discouraging situations people in this country – and around the world for that matter – are facing. And the fact is, it can be just that: discouraging. You’re constantly thinking and wondering, ‘when will life get better?’ ‘How much longer can I handle this?’ Or maybe you’re asking, ‘Where is God during this time?’ I will be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I will stand by one thing that I know if for sure and that is God is with us all the time. All we have to do is cry out to him.
I want to look back at a few scriptures just to prove that God is ever present in any situation and hopefully encourage you to continue to stand strong even in the toughest of circumstances. Take the Exodus for example. God has brought the Israelites out of Egypt, leading them by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day to a camp facing the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his army began chasing after them and when the Israelite people saw them they cried out to God and to Moses saying, “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:14)
The Israelites didn’t see any hope of escape and longed to be back in Egypt where at the very least they’d be alive, although living under a system of oppression. There was however, a leader, by the name of Moses who responded, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation. He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you…” (Exodus 14:15-16 HSBC) Sure enough, with God on their side, the pillar of fire protected the Israelites, the Red Sea parted, they crossed it and once on the other side, they worshipped the Lord (Exodus 15). Everything was now okay, but it wouldn’t be the only time the Israelite people faced difficulties on their journey. They experienced the bitter water at Marah (Exodus 15:22), hunger in the Wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16), dehydration at Rephidim (Exodus 17), impatience at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32), hardship at Taberah (Numbers 11), defeat at the hands of the Amalekites and Canaanites when they refused to enter Canaan as God commanded (Numbers 14), and I could go on. Each time the Israelites faced adversity, God provided for them and eventually they crossed the Jordan in to the land God had promised.
It’s easy in our current economic climate, our immoral society, and diseased culture to get discouraged about what the future holds and to feel like there’s no escape; that it’s better to be alive under a socialist oppression than to fight your way out, standing up for what you believe. But the next time you fill up your tank of gas, buy groceries, pay your tuition for the month, get turned down for yet another job or get less of a raise than you were expecting, remember that our God, who is able to do more than we could ever want or imagine, is there with you, on your side ready to fight for you and in the end, it all comes out in the wash.
Be strong and courageous. -God