“Has anyone else noticed that the level of stress in this country appears to be extremely high right now? Today, it seems like our federal government, our state governments and most American families live in a constant state of crisis. Everywhere you look there are major problems. Right now everyone is stressed out because of the “debt ceiling deadline”. Earlier this year everyone was freaked out about the possibility of a “government shutdown”. If by some miracle Barack Obama and the Republicans are able to reach a deal in the next few days that will not help the national stress level for long. Another gut-wrenching “national crisis” will almost certainly come along very quickly.”
Gut-wrenching is right. While most of the common people may not understand exactly all the nuances and ramifications of the debt-ceiling limit’s various amendments, we know that it is big disaster. The event itself is a disaster and also the Fed’s, Congress’s, President’s, and Corporation’s behavior around it is a disaster too.
But at the same time I’m surprised. It isn’t like no one knew it was coming. It’s been an issue for decades that we spend more than we take in. It’s been an issue for months as we knew the annual deadline was looming. And yet at the last minute there is all this scurrying and hoopla and shouting and furor. It’s like 2008, when Lehman Brothers fell and the economic crash began. Senator John McCain suspended his presidential campaign and flew back to Washington. News coverage was intense. Politicians scurried and ran and wrangled and it sure was a spectacle. In between then and now, there have been similar spectacles of our government officials running around trying to solve this problem or that one.
As with anything grandiose and major, the people who are affected by it suffer. The American citizens are vicariously subjected to the politicians’ stress as we watch our future unfold.
Prolonged stress has effects. The American people have been intensely stressed for three years now. The pinball effect of careening from one crisis to another wearies the mind, heart, psyche. It cannot be sustained for long. The ever more intense cycles of crisis tire us out mentally, physically, emotionally, and we long for peace. We begin saying ‘peace and safety! peace and safety!’ We’ll do almost anything to stop the downward cycle of crisis management.
Many of the symptoms the people enduring the fallout from the governmental stress and crises are similar to those who live with a drug addict or an alcoholic. From Web4Health.com-
They deny the truth: “Family and friends devote a lot of time and energy to hide the alcoholic’s problems. An important part of this behaviour is to express apologies to employers, fellow-workers, friends, other family members and relatives for bad behaviour.”
There are a lot of people denying the economic truth right now. The NY Times had an article today that essentially stated maybe a credit downgrade wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Acting out: “Most of the close friends and relatives of persons with serious alcohol problems get into this kind of behaviour. “Acting out” is a psychological term for the impulsive, immature and sometimes irresponsible behaviour that a person uses in order to handle internal emotional stress. To drink together with the alcoholic can be one example. In later stages, the hostility that the conflict causes may begin to express itself in more negative activities, such as loud quarrels and physical attacks.”
We see a lot of hostility in the country right now. “Road rage” seems almost a quaint term in the face of the horrific shootings last week in the US.
They demand improvement: “Most people that live with an addictive person try to change the person or try to at least get him/her to improve. They can often struggle with this for months, years, or their entire life because of the belief that “everything will be all right if I only could get him or her to quit drinking”. Unfortunately, the result is often that both become losers. The harder you try to change people with alcohol problems, the more they will fight your attempts. The alcoholic becomes furious because of all the nagging, and a common behaviour is to decide to drink even more.”
Congressional phone lines are lit up and the faxes are falling in Senate offices like snowflakes in a Montana blizzard. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t demand improvement. But they say, ‘everything will be all right this time if we just vote a different bunch in there.’
They become isolated: “As early as a few months after the arise of a serious addiction, the isolation from friends, family and society gradually takes over, although it can take years before you understand what is happening to you and your alcoholic friend. As the alcoholic’s problems increase, the contact with neighbours and relatives instinctively decreases in order to avoid shame and embarrassment.”
After Obama went on his apology tour in 2009, America has become increasingly isolated. Europe is dealing with their own problems. Creditor China becomes antagonized by our failures, and South America turns to the Middle East for ties and alliances.
They give up: “When they have lived together with a chronic alcoholic for a few years, most people get depressed. Their life has become a permanent burden with few, or none, moments of authentic joy and comfort. Apathy, aversion, physical pain and chronic fatigue may be the bodily expressions in this process.”
And it is at that point, when they seek a solution, any solution, from anyone. The antichrist will step in and offer one. Tired, depressed, apathetic, not just America, but the world will say “Yes! At last, peace and safety!”
What does living in prolonged stress do to our body? These are signs and symptoms of stress overload. They can be viewed personally, individually, and also as signs and symptoms that our nation exhibits:
Prolonged stress affects us. Living in a crisis mode is very bad for us. When I look to the following prophetic verse, I believe it may be interpreted three ways.
“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”‘
It could mean literally that people will go to and fro as busy people do, and/or widespread travel. We all know that life is more hectic, fast, rushed. In that fast pace, a close walk with the Lord often drops down on our priority list, so this satisfies satan. As knowledge increases, like science, people believe they do not need God any more.
It could mean that people do back and forth in their doctrine. For a long time it was understood that the rapture would occur before the Tribulation, now people go back and forth on that. “Yes it is! No it isn’t!” like a tennis match. For a long time people understood that hell is real and eternal, but now people go back and forth on that. Individuals also switch their position. For a long time John Stott believed in hell biblically. Then he became an annihilationist. Then he swayed from that a bit. (source). He went back and forth.
Thirdly, it could mean going back and forth in solving problems, as we have seen incessantly since the latest crisis began in 2008. Here, I also remember the prophetic verse from Luke 21:25:
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.” The sea being the roaring multitudes, ever restless and clamoring for peace, and a way out from their distress. The same metaphor of the sea being restless multitudes is used in Isaiah 8:7-8 and Rev 18:15. (Commentary here). So in the time that is referred to here- Tribulation- people will be roaring and tossing. Though the Tribulation has not begun, in these waning last days of the Church Age, we saw the Arab Spring, and now with each successive crisis in America, the multitudes grow more weary, distressed, and roaring, going back and forth, to and fro in stress.
I don’t think I’m overstating things by referring to the effects stress has upon us individually and nationally. We see it in the outward behavior of people every day. Shootings over a wrong McDonald’s order. Flash mobs robbing stores and vandalizing at will. Fistfights over cutting in movie line.
We are all affected by the national stress and current crises, whether we endure them directly or not. It’s like living with an alcoholic. I don’t think it is too overwrought to use the metaphor again, in referring to Revelation’s Mystery Babylon the Mother of Prostitutes,
“She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. … “I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.”
Share the peace of Jesus in all you say and do. As the days get more stressful it gets harder for us to do that, I know. But we have to. The rubber is hitting the road. Our peace in the midst of roaring seas, clamorous multitudes, stressed populations, will be the Light, a beacon for all to come who are weary. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)