Debt limit: a manufactured crisis

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote a piece this week called: "Stress!" He asked:

"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

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)


  1. You do realize of course that the news broadcasts always only tell bad news. There are people in America who are doing amazing things all the time but you don't hear about them because it doesn't sell newspapers.
    God is still in control and it is this to which I look, not the television or newspapers. I haven't had a television for more than thirty years nor do I read the newspapers and guess what? I have peace just dealing with one day at a time. You should try it, switch off your television for one month and stop reading the newspapers for the same period and see what will happen. I do realize of course that, in order to keep updating this blog, you need to keep up with the news but if you did try letting go for just one month you would be amazed how much less stressed you would feel. Just a thought. God bless my stressed friend, from a stress free South African.

  2. Hi Geoff,

    Saying that the world isn't stressed, watching world news or not, is a little bit of a stretch for me. People are experiencing natural disasters, economic hardship, or out and out war, all over the world. We don't need the news to tell us things are stressful.

    I've shown that no matter what the circumstance, anyone who is saved by the blood of Jesus does not need to feel stressed because He has His eye on us and we are under His care.

    Your method of tuning out of the world by unplugging may work for you- (except for the internet, I see). You say you have peace one day at a time...but you didn't mention the biggest stress-buster of all, living in peaceful reconciliation with Jesus. Just a thought to you, try Him...and repent.

  3. Thank you Elizabeth for your research and warnings in terms of what is happening globally during these last days.
    What you are describing is certainly indicative of the first birth pangs. I like this analogy of living with an alcoholic, Yes, that's what I feel like, Our government is an addict and we are all supposed to be enablers or because of our own lack of self control co- addicts.
    When accountability is demanded, all the children on this playground tend to point the finger at each other, some cry and run away to hide, while others start yelling and screaming in a tantrum.
    Also we must heed the warnings in Gen. 12:31 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Barack Obama may have sealed the fate of this nation in terms of this; therefore we may be held accountable to pay for our stupidity like never before.

  4. Never Forsaken, you're welcome. I think we're starting to pay for our sins now, too. Though Christians are not judged, our sins are forgotten, we do still live on earth for the time being and we all endure the effects of the nation's sins. Reading the book of Amos you can see that we have perpetrated the same if not more of the sins they were judged for. It will happen, likely soon, if the uptick in earthquake activity this week is any indication. Another major earthquake this week, 6.8 just tonight.

  5. John Piper, Desiring God

    Elizabeth, you are correct about the back and forth belief of the Rapture and the stress that causes on Christians in the Church. Christians did not believe in a pre-trib rapture for 1800 years, and now many, but not all, do. Could you give us your opinion on why this article by John Piper is not correct? I know you've studied this in-depth from the pre-trib point of view, but do not know if you've studied it from the historical view, no-rapture, and why Christians believe that way. I'm curious about your thinking as to why God would hide the meaning of the prophecy for so many hundreds of years and then reveal it at the specific time He finally did. How does this fit in with Church History, the spread of Protestantism through-out the Catholic world, and within the spread of Christianity through-out the world today. I am curious about this because God always has a purpose for what He does and what happens here on earth. I'm not trying to be antagonistic here, I'm trying to understand your interpretation of Scripture as compared to Piper's (the Puritans, and thousands of other Christians through-out history). Thanks!

    see also:

  6. the church has believed the pre-trib rapture for 2000 years, ever since Paul revealed it. Why would he need to write a letter to the Thessalonians reassuring them they had not missed the rapture because it seemed like the Tribulation was happening to them, if the rapture is after the tribulation?

    We are not appointed to wrath, Paul said. The wrath begins in Rev 6, and in Rev 5 it shows he church already there. Why would he say 'therefore comfort one another with these words' if the comfort was actually to tell them they will be going thru the most horrific time on earth, a time of judgment that the Lord already said He saved us from when we repented?

    If you search this blog for pre-trib you will see a number of scriptures supporting this pre-trib stance, from me and others.

    Thanks for your question


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