Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Consumer Confidence In Crisis?

The story was called simply, “Consumer confidence falls sharply,” a title that speaks for itself.

The Associated Press is reporting that Americans' outlook on the economy went into relapse in February. Apparently it was the rising job worries that caused a key barometer of confidence to fall to its lowest point in 10 months. The drop raises even deeper concerns about any soon-coming or meaningful financial recovery. The Consumer Confidence Index fell almost 11 points to 46 in February, down from a revised 56.5 in January. February's reading is well below the 61.4 figure in September 2008, when the financial crisis intensified with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The increasing pessimism is a large blow to hopes that consumer spending will power an economic recovery – something extremely unfortunate since job numbers don’t typically improve until after a recovery in consumer spending and confidence.

In many ways any monetary system is based on faith and confidence. The two are inseparable and are the foundation of any modern society. Remove either and trouble soon follows. Sometimes even total collapse! The same holds true in spiritual matters with one notable exception. Faith and confidence in the God of the Bible never falters. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and fully immutable, meaning He never changes from age to age as Malachi 3:6 records. "For I am the LORD, I do not change.” That same thought is echoed in Hebrews 13:8 where the writer states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today , and forever.”

Confidence is really key in practically every of area of life. It certainly comes into play for marital and other relationships. We believe that our employers will fairly compensate for work performed. We have confidence that the vehicles we drive are built safely and that others will obey the all-important rules of the road. We trust those who fly the friendly skies and who perform critical medical procedures to be fully competent in their chosen field. We never think twice about having full confidence in the labels that describe our food and medicine. And we trust our federal government and police force to protect us from outside and inner aggression by those who rebel against common decency and the laws of the land.

In reality, it is hard to find a slice of life where having confidence is not the backbone in one way of another. And yet, every area mentioned above, and some that were not, have the potential to have that sacred trust twisted or shattered all together. Toyota has admitted that some of their cars are faulty and dangerous. Thousands of needless accidents occur due to careless driving. The divorce rate is still off the chart in America and elsewhere. Malpractice suits abound when doctors misdiagnose an illness or a cure. Even our food and water is suspect at times and can cause occasional sicknesses or death. Nothing in this life is worthy of blind confidence, no matter how important or what category.

But there is a God who deserves and commands total confidence. His track record has been perfect from the foundation of the world. Verses abound that substantiate the need, logic, and striking benefits of placing full confidence in His word, ways, and will. Psalm 118:8-9 puts it like this. “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” The wisdom of Proverbs adds, “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge." (Proverbs 14:26)

The writer of Hebrews also chimed in chapter ten stating, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Confidence in Christ is the key issue in this life and the next. Nothing else matters, nothing else is secure, and nothing else give true and lasting peace. And those who would please Him need only to know and apply the simple, but life-altering, command found in 1 John 2:28. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Life is a precious and priceless gift. It is often filled with great joy and meaningful events. But life also includes certain hardships and sometimes overwhelming difficulties. But for the child of God, there is always the blessed reality and the divine benefit described in Proverbs 3:26.

"For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught."

Bill Breckenridge

No comments: