In this 20Twenty conversation, we discuss some of the impacts that lockdowns are having on a huge number of Australians.
The Anxiety Crisis
While COVID infections continue to grow the death toll remains low, anxiety is very high. The suggestion that government financial support is enough to ease the pain for businesses, families and churches is understating the level of challenge that people are facing right now. Many individuals, families, and business owners are caught in the grip of fear and uncertainty that we’re not accustomed to in Australia. There is huge pressure on so many people. Small businesses are in trouble with many closing their doors, and a stay-at-home order has a very different meaning for the 116,000 people who are currently homeless in Australia.
Then there’s the rise of self-harm and suicides. It is reported that attempted suicides among Victorian teenagers have soared by 184% since the beginning of 2021. Those figures are from Kids Helpline out of more than 13,000 calls made by suicidal children. As Christians, some of us are anxious and looking for what sustaining value our faith in God has for us and our communities.
Christians looking to God see beyond the immediate crisis, knowing that He holds the future. It’s times like these that believers need to dig a little deeper to stand firm. We need to be prepared to encourage our friends and families, holding out a message of hope to a community that doesn’t know the comfort and power of having faith in God. To talk about this, and so much more, Stu Millar from Train to Proclaim joined us to share his thoughts on the current situation in Australia.
There’s a lot of things going on that are associated with the lockdowns and anyone who knows anyone in Melbourne can understand some of the stress and anxiety that people are under. Curfews are back, children are not allowed to play in parks or go to school and families are at their wits trying to deal with these circumstances.
Light of Gospel in Dark Times
“I think the darker that the times are, the lighter the Gospel is”, says Stu. “Jesus is the light of the world. And he shines brightest when we’re in darkness. We see this with the children of Israel in the Old Testament as they went on this continuous cycle of following God and then turning away. It’s always when things were going desperately wrong that they cried out to Him. And we’re in a similar situation today. We see the places where people are suffering the most persecution and many of them are crying out to God.”
Stu believes that there is great revival happening in some nations, but in places like Australia we are so affluent that we don’t feel like we need God. As human beings we are naturally selfish, and we want control of our lives. We often have hard hearts towards God and as a society we’re either on the sideline, or we just push Him out of our minds as long as we are enjoying life.
We often talk about the Gospel as that little part of a message we might hear in church tacked onto the end of the sermon. But it’s actually a declaration of a way that you can connect with God before it’s too late. It’s not just the opportunity to respond and turn your heart towards God, it’s completely transformational. We’re a new creation in Christ. Our whole lives look different, and we see things through different eyes. We value our identity, purpose and destiny based on who Jesus is.
Be Anxious for Nothing
“When, when you know that you’re a son or a daughter of the creator of the universe, then your Dad is all powerful, all knowing and is in completely in control. He’s sovereign. What have we got to worry about?”
“That’s why the Bible says be anxious for nothing, and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We can have that peace in the midst of the storm, and we can have security and in the midst of the anxious and troubling times we are currently living in.”
To be encouraged to share the good news of Jesus with others, listen to the rest of Stu’s conversation with Neil below.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.
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