WHEN HARD TIMES ARRIVE
Occasionally, hard times arrive. Once you live past them, they serve as the well-worn guideposts of your life. However, getting through them is always difficult—especially when those around you have the emotional and economic maturity of a brick.
Let’s spend a few lines calming your fears, and getting you ready to face life as it is—not as you would ‘like’ it to be. First, economic downturns are cyclical and often arrive when people–especially those in politics--are ‘remarking’ how ‘great’ the economy is, to sucker the public and protect their friends (and themselves). Whenever you regularly—or occasionally—hear the following economic terms (among others): Margin calls. Layoffs. Bank run. Transitory inflation. Consumer spending slowdown. Credit tightening. Interest rate increases. Rest assured, the ‘hard times’ are heading for you. Also remember that the U.S. economy is, roughly, 75% controlled by consumers. IF the consumer keeps their hands in their pockets, economic progress will grind to a halt.
Second, when you see people standing in line round the block at their local bank, unemployment center, or grocery store, not only are hard times here—you are about to meet them in short order. Third, hard times usually hit when God is trying to get the attention of a nation. Remember: there were several times in the KJV Bible when God brought nations to their knees because, a) they forgot Him; b) the nations had been mistreating God’s people; c) God's people turned their backs on God, and; d) people had fallen in love with money and forgot about the poor and needy.
So, you’re a young person and this IS your first economic downturn. Or you are a ‘seasoned citizen’ and this is NOT your first time at the trough of bitter waters. What do you do? I’ve got a few suggestions on the way:
First, it is imperative that you not let what you see determine who you are. Hard times never last, but prepared people do! Do NOT let fear rule you when you see things going wrong in the economic landscape. Suicide, drinking, drugging, chasing, and hanging out with negative folk are NOT long-term solutions. They are crutches that will sap your strength and wallet. Misery loves company, and usually has someone else paying the tab for the companionship.
Second, get your spiritual priorities back in order. Time alone with the Lord in prayer; time in the KJV Bible and clearing your mental and physical decks of those things that are not pleasing to God. Take each day as it comes and look up, instead of at the problems surrounding you. Count your blessings…instead of your shortfalls. That new job, new business, or new opportunity to get training to go into a new career is only a prayer away—and God’s Word still speak! The Bible is God’s talking book. God does business with those who mean business. WORD.
Third, get your individual and family economic priorities back in order. Cut the fat out of your budget and your lifestyle. Determine what is a ‘necessity’ item and what is a ‘luxury’ item. A streaming service is a ‘luxury’ item when one is trying to make sure they have enough income to cover rent, groceries, and utilities. Having meals delivered by a third party gets expensive and is a luxury. Going to get your own groceries and cooking the same meal at home will save you money. Explain the economic problems to your kids and allow them to ‘pitch in’ to help the family (they live in the house too—even the older ones who may have returned to the nest)! Why? Simply stated, your children need to see and understand how YOU handle hard times so that, when they are grown and have husbands, wives and children of their own, they can look back at how Daddy and Mamma ‘got through’ with the Lord.
Fourth, get your paperwork in order. IF you must file for unemployment, do so. IF you must secure an attorney for wrongful termination, do so. IF you have to re-tool your resume, do so. Deep six bitterness—for, in the end analysis, you can’t find a better job until you lose the one you currently have. Sometimes a layoff is the BEST thing to happen to you (even though it hurts in the short term). IF you must reach out to your old contact network, do so—and bring something to the table that helps. Use social media to locate videos to help you sharpen new skills or obtain new training to update your old skills. YouTube—among other sources—has more available than ‘funny pet’ videos.
Lastly, keep a positive mental attitude (PMA). You NEVER know when that next opportunity will surface. You may not feel that you are equipped, but God will equip you. Help others achieve their goals by blessing them. Never forget the poor and needy. Take the time to look after your physical and mental health needs. It never hurts to take some walks, smell the roses, and look beyond the thorns of life. Trouble don’t last always.
Mike Ramey is a Retired Gospel Minister, syndicated columnist and Bible Prophecy Specialist living in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The Quick Scan” is one of a variety of columns appearing and abounding in print and cyberspace, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective since 1996. To drop him a line—or a whine—the address is still the same: email@example.com. ©2023 Barnstorm Communications International.