You'd be excused if you were feeling a little down lately. Switch on the news and you're bombarded. I know bad news has been around for a long time, but it seems so prevalent at the moment.
Take for instance global issues such as the spread of terrorism. The despondency you feel is real when you hear of some madman driving a truck through a crowded promenade in Nice, France. The mind goes back to other acts of terrorism in years past and you wonder whether peace will ever come to this world.
Will politicians bring us peace?
One cannot look to the political realm for assurance and stability. With a population of around 350 million in the United States of America, they currently have two of the most polarising candidates running for the future presidency of the country.
Glance over to Great Britain, and instability is the key word. The Brexit vote caused Prime Minister David Cameron to resign from his position, along with many other members of parliament. Scotland and Ireland are scrambling to discern what their next steps are. The Pound was hit hard.
Need I go on? Countries seemed riddled with economic uncertainty. Are the best days of Chinese manufacturing over? Will Australia be able to deal with the creeping debt upon its shoulders? Will Iraq ever learn to be a peaceful democracy? Will European countries on the verge of financial disaster be able to survive?
You could then look at the global issue of migration. Leaders of influence are trying to stay strong on border protection without losing their morality by valuing one human being over another. They don't always get it right. The left accuse politicians of lacking a heart for humanity. The right accuse them of being too soft. No one wins.
In the midst of uncertainty, people's faith in God can grow cold. I liken it to an open fire on a cold winter's day. You need kindling to keep that fire burning. For a person of faith, they read the Bible, they pray regularly and they attend a local church for encouragement and fellowship with others. Then they serve God in practical ways. They do these things because they want to keep the fire stoked up. They believe God still has great things in store.
What I think happens in the midst of global uncertainty and economic insecurity, is people can simply choose to be preoccupied with difficult circumstances (albeit legitimately) and lose their focus on reading the Word and prayer.
One needs to learn how to have faith in the midst of uncertainty. My simplistic answer is this: Stoke the fire up. You may have many theological and existential questions around why and how and how come certain things happen and maybe you'll find the answers. Though, maybe you won't. You need to stoke up the fire anyway. Pray all the more. Discover what God is doing in the midst of a broken society. Stoke up the fire.
In John's Gospel chapter 14, verse 16, Jesus speaks with his disciples when they are feeling despondent and disillusioned by the reality they Jesus will be leaving them soon to die and rise again (as Jesus communicated to them).
He says, 'I will send another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.' A Christian has the added comfort that in the midst of uncertainty, the Holy Spirit is with them. That is, the very presence of God is with them – through thick and thin.
This is how to have faith in the midst of uncertainty: Understand that God is with you through every situation.
You may not be able to do much about global terrorism, economic uncertainty, political instability or world-wide migration, but you can rest on the assurance that God is with you.
Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of Business and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith.
Peter Brookshaw's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/peter-brookshaw.html