The little Aussie battler, also known as the Australian dollar, reached parity last week with the greenback, the American dollar. For so long tourists and Aussies who purchased anything in US dollars have been used to paying the best part of $2 for every US dollar. Now it's one for one and who knows, with the shape of things in the USA, we soon might find ourselves in an even better situation. If you are traveling, if you are purchasing goods online, or if you are thinking about buying imported goods from the USA, things have rarely been better.
Of course there is always another side to the story. If you are a tourist operator in Australia, if you run a university or college with many overseas students, if you are a farmer who exports his crop, if you actually make things in Australia for export, and even if you are a mining company being paid in American dollars, then things are not so rosy. Many of these businesses are facing huge pressures that will seriously affect their profits and maybe even impact the viability of businesses and industries here in Australia.
But in places like the USA the reverse is just as true. Traveling to a whole lot of countries now seems outrageously expensive and imports also look rather unattractive. However the sleeping giant of American manufacturing may find that once again they can compete in international markets and farmers may experience the rare joy of actually making a return for their labour.
Like many things in life, the good news often has a corresponding negative impact. The joys of engagement and marriage are haunted by the very real flip-side of the loss of independence and freedom. The blessing and incredible joy of having children carries a cost and burden never fully appreciated until you drive home from hospital with a newborn. The pleasure of a pay rise at work often comes with the sting of added responsibility, workload and expectations. The freedoms of retirement come with the pain of aging bones. The glory of success on any field carries the insecurity of victory and the knowledge that today’s peacock is tomorrow's feather duster.
It is hardly surprising then, that contentment is a key to determining our reaction to events that are often beyond our control. The Bible does have its share of bleak prophecy and gloom brought about by human weakness and sin. But the Bible's climax is dominated by a picture of crucifixion that is defeated by the hope of resurrection. The sunshine of resurrection is our hope when the economic, social, political and relational clouds can fill us with despair.
Believing in God, trusting in His plan, accepting His will and refusing to despair are central to surviving good times and bad.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12-13