About four years ago, I finished school and began to work…. Ever since then, I have not been able to control myself with regard to the money I have… because of wanting to have now what I could have obtained with patience (now I realize this when it is too late). I decided to start taking out loans and apply for credit cards…. as a means to begin buying myself things that I had always wanted….
I want to stress that, not realizing the consequences, I went overboard, and today… I am drowning in debt and don’t know how to get out of it. I would like for you to share this with people who have never gotten themselves into debt so they will be very careful with money because, believe me, it has robbed me of peace today….
While we are very sorry to hear that debt has robbed you of peace in your life, we are glad that you chose to tell us your story in the middle of your anguish in order to warn other people that it can happen to them too.
It is interesting that you didn’t even tell us what you bought with your money. Did you buy new clothes and a computer? Or maybe a new car or even a house? The things that you couldn’t wait to purchase you don’t even mention now because of the consequences you have suffered. The joy you felt wearing the new clothes or using the computer has faded away and been replaced by despair and a lack of peace. You only wish that you could go back and start over, knowing what you know now: that material possessions do not make up for the misery that is brought on by debt.
Jesus told the story of a young man who couldn’t wait to have all that he wanted.1 He convinced his father to give him his inheritance early so that he could go and enjoy it all immediately. He didn’t want to wait until his father died or until he himself was older and wiser. He had gotten into his head that he wanted his inheritance, and he wanted it all right now! So his father gave it to him and, within a short time, he had wasted it all. The young man was so poor and hungry that he found himself longing to fill his stomach with the food he fed the pigs he had to care for. More than anything else, he wanted to be able to start over again, as you do. And like you, it was not until it was too late that he realized it is not wise to be so impatient.
Patience is a virtue that is not very popular today. Easy credit has lured many people into buying now, with little or no concern about how they will pay it back later. The governments of countries operate that way, so why shouldn’t their citizens? Consequently countries are in deep debt, citizens are in deep debt, and inner peace is hard to find. The worldwide financial crisis that we are all experiencing today stems from the same problem that you have confessed. You are not alone!
It is no wonder Solomon, the man who asked God for wisdom, said, “Better a patient man than a warrior.”2 A warrior has physical strength, and uses it to fight for what he thinks is right. A patient man, on the other hand, has strength of character, and uses it to fight for a more secure future. Those who have learned the secret of patience, along with hard work, are usually the ones who are better off in the end.
For now, cut up your credit cards and close all your credit accounts. Determine to live on less than what you earn and to pay your credit down no matter how long it takes. This process alone will teach you patience.
As for peace, true peace comes only when you have turned it all over to God and asked Him to take control of your life. He will help you in the long trial that you have ahead.
We wish you true peace,
Linda and Charles
1 Lk 15
2 Pr 16:32