Thursday, August 4, 2011 – Hard Times in the Economy

Are the economic troubles in the US and Europe God’s judgment for both turning their backs on God and kicking reference to anything godly out of the public square?

I don’t presume to speak for God. I don’t know what to ascribe to his judgment and what is simply due to the workings of this fallen world. Those who announce that Katrina or an earthquake or whatever are God’s judgment speak judgmentally and presumptively. Many Christians are just way too negative in what they say and they harm their witness thereby. Leave it to God. When the Day of Judgment does get here, no one will have any doubt.

With that large disclaimer, let me note this. In trouble, people often do turn to God and nothing in this universe could be more important. In the biblical book of Deuteronomy, in outlining his covenant with Israel, God did promise economic hard times if Israel turned away from God. Over and over that was the case and God constantly wooed his bride back to back to Himself, their best and highest calling.

Economically, when one pursues materialism and pleasure to an extent that he is willing to go deeply in debt, trouble nearly always follows. A little leverage can be good but the kind of indebtedness many have taken, including our government has to be painfully paid in one form or another. That can last a long time and the hangover from a 50 year credit binge likely is a giant, long-lasting headache of the kind that makes one ask, “How could I have been so stupid?”

Consider the following chart 1870-2011 that shows total US debt from consumers, businesses and all levels of government. I posted this on my investment blog earlier this week.

Without getting too technical, this is not the level of debt in dollars. One would expect a mountain chart due to compounding. No, this is the total debt relative to the size of the economy. That will take a very long time to pay down, especially since our economy is not growing much at all.

Think it’s all the government’s fault? Think again.

This shows household debt as a percentage of disposable income. This could serve as a chart of materialistic attitudes and increasing antagonism toward God. We don’t carve idols out of stone anymore. Now we can also make idols from lumber, steel, plastic, rubber, silicon and a whole host of other materials. How far we’ve come!

Some will say things will only get worse until the end. Well, they also undoubtedly said that during the Great Depression and several costly wars. Antichrist has supposedly been a long list of names.

I don’t know. My job is to pray, study my Bible and lead people to Christ, as well as to do my job in a Christian, servant-hearted manner, relying on God each day. That’s what I recommend. That’s enough for me to work on.