The ‘Permacrisis’ and Hope

Anxiety — Excess Future
March 9, 2023
Reflecting on Hope
March 17, 2023

Living in the age of 'permacrisis'

I rarely feel encouraged after watching the news. We live in the age of the ‘permacrisis’, a term the dictionary describes as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events’. (Collins Dictionary, ‘permacrisis’)

Do I really need to provide the roll call?

Let’s start with Brexit, COVID-19, Ukraine, climate change, ecological and man-made disasters, the cost-of living crisis, political instability, global insecurity, earthquakes, and now, as I write, a return to ‘cold war’ politics between the US and Russia. The ‘doomsday clock’ of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists ‘now stands at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been’. (See Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, ‘A time of unprecedented danger: it is 90 seconds to midnight’ (24 January 2023)

Seeing all this trouble – on top of your own personal trouble – why would you ever bother getting up in the morning?

Through different lens

I’ll tell you why. Look at the news and all your personal issues through the lens of Christianity and its central character, Jesus. I home in on the Person of Jesus because I believe He is the key to universal, global and personal hope.

What I like about His teaching, as recorded in the Bible, is that He is remarkably honest and kind. He’s honest in His assessment of how things are (there will be trouble ahead), and kind in the way He wants to help – in fact, to a large extent, He’s already done so. For example, consider the event we all try to avoid – death. He overcame it!

Because of His death and resurrection (the reality of which was confirmed by eyewitness testimony and historical record) there is the gift of a future life that lasts forever. Christians call it ‘eternal life’.

But that’s not all! There is also the added value of the personal presence of Christ in our lives today. I cannot begin to tell what a difference it makes to my personal well-being during the ‘permacrisis’. When I see global challenges and my own personal challenges through ‘His eyes’, I begin to see things in a different context.

This is perhaps a conversation for another time, but when Jesus said there would be trouble ahead, He knew what He was talking about!

Jesus is God who became human and visited this planet to resolve our troubles, to resolve a conflict as cosmic as it is personal: the conflict between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. It was Satan who was defeated when Christ overcame death. And guess what – a day is coming when the problem of death will be no more. That is what the resurrection is all about.

It is worth taking a deeper look at some time, but Christians have real, tangible hope because of this: Jesus came, He lived, He died, He rose, He ascended, and He will return!

Unpack every one of those ancient statements, and you will find Someone who is utterly and totally kind, gracious and trustworthy; a Teacher and Healer; Someone who knows the past, present and future, and who is more powerful than Biden, Putin and Xi Jinping and all the world leaders put together. Most of all, He not only shares good news: He is the good news.

Truly, I submit that He is the answer to every crisis, whether global, local or personal. Why do I believe that? Because His actions speak louder than words. That’s why I’m still filled with hope, even in this time of permacrisis.

David Neal is a leading Communicator.