Viewpoint from Mike Wiltshire for 6th Feb 09
The writer is regional director of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship which has 5,000 Chapters around the world, serving in 160 countries.
Ex Editor and journalist for the Financial Times
Words of hope in troubled times
By Michael Wiltshire
Yarmouth area, along with the rest of the UK, is feeling the chill winds of recession. As the leader of a gro
up of Christian business men in East Anglia, I know the trepidation that many feel.
We have just seen the biggest jump in unemployment in our region for four year. Some pundits predict that the UK is heading for three million unemployed as across the UK by next year as 78,000 jobs were lost in a single month.
Red ink is pouring over the government’s finances – and no-one knows when the economy will pick up.
As a Christian, I am not surprised that some churches are reporting an increase in attendance as people look for hope and guidance beyond ‘the natural.’ Christians in our area are also considering setting up groups such as ‘Anxious Anonymous’ in support of those who face redundancy, debt and family pressures.
Some churches in East Anglia are exploring the idea of launching a crisis food bank to offer emergency food parcels to needy families. Similar projects are already operating in 30 locations across the UK.
After all, Jesus taught that we should love our neighbours as ourselves.
However, charities are being hit by the downturn, though there optimistic Christian groups that remind their supporters that “there is no recession in heaven,” thus encouraging people step out in faith and give generously to good causes.
Back in the dark days of the 1930s, there was a popular folk song in the US, entitled “No depression in heaven.” The rather other-worldly lyrics were:
“I’m going where there’s no depression,
To a lovely land that free from care,
I’ll leave this world of toil and trouble,
My home’s in heaven. I’m going there.”
An escapist view, maybe, but the message of the Bible is that God really is the God of the here and now. He comes to us in the midst of our deepest troubles. After all, we remember that Jesus was born as a refugee in a borrowed manger. In later life, he was familiar with grief and died a terrible death on a Roman cross.
Of course, the story does not end there. Jesus rose from the dead. The fact of the resurrection offers hope for all of us.
Among his most famous words, Jesus said: “Come unto me, all you who are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus was totally real with people. He met people were they were and huge crows flocked to hear his words. In the midst of troubles, he said: “Peace I leave with you . . . trust in me.”
The timeless message of the Bible is that in our darkest moments, God asks us to reach out and trust him. “The Lord upholds all those who fall, and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14).
Today, as confidence slumps in the financial world and millions are looking for hope, this is surely a good time to reconsider the message of Jesus Christ.