I realize I am member of a truly fortunate minority. Our local Ottawa and national (Canadian) economy is doing relatively well compared to many parts of the U.S. and certainly compared to the Third World. My family is healthy in spiritual, relationship and physical health. And my business, which by no means is the largest and most prosperous in the world, nevertheless, is proving to be resilient and sustainable despite changing technologies and competitive forces.
However, I realize not everyone has it so good. A visit to an online prayer site yesterday took me to dozens of stories of desperation and defeat with faint hope for recovery. What can anyone in the secular world suggest to someone whose health has gone, suffered through a divorce, and doesn’t have health insurance because the individual has lost his job?
The prayer site I visited appears to collect some advertising revenue from Google and has more than 100,000 FaceBook fans. The site allows readers of the prayer pleas to vote whether they support or the appeal or think it is misplaced. Participants can vent their angst and express their faith in an online setting and, if you’ve never been to the place and read some of the stories, you will realize how truly difficult many lives are in the current economy.
I’m certainly respectful of these difficult circumstances though wish I could teach some financial literacy to the person who thinks that he deserves his lottery number to come up as a winner and am not sure what to suggest to the person who cosigned a car loan with her pastor, who then failed to pay his bills (and so the poor person is now saddled with additional debt). Probably most of the people who post on this site would not make great clients for any contracting business. I have no way to know whether they reflect only a small sub-set of the population or a larger trend.
I sense that few of us escape our circumstances. The home life and experiences we have as children affects our world view, opportunities and attitudes when we raise our own families. Sometimes “extremes” happen and often these great successes or failures either inspire or disturb us — but generally, we make our way through life with the tools we have in hand. Economic tides rise and fall and in hard times, of course, the weak and unfortunate often fall through the cracks.
Prayer, sincere, thoughtful and respectful, is good. But I don’t think we need to co-sign our pastor’s car loans.