During Turmoil
written by Rev Gary Heard

The financial turmoil of recent weeks has pulled the rug out from under people of all walks of life. Old securities have quickly evaporated, as insititutions once considered impregnable have collapsed, or required significant government support in order to continue operation. People are losing houses, retirement savings, and jobs and facing uncertain futures. Whilst the worst news has emanated from other parts of the world, we have seen impacts in our own back yard. We may have lost money, but worse still, many have lost a sense of trust and of security, and now look at the future with a renewed sense of uncertainty. The old adage “as safe as money in the bank” is a good indication of the source of present insecurity. We have lived in a world in which we have been told that financial security and wealth is the source of happiness. Many believed that there was no way they could lose through investing. The hard-learned lessons of recent days have pushed an old question back in our face: “In what do you trust?” or “Where is your faith?”

The last few weeks has exposed many unspoken assumptions upon which people have sought to build lives. These assumptions give directions about where to invest our time, our energies and our wealth, and give hints about the sources of well-being and happiness. Many are finding these assumptions unwinding daily. We are unwittingly pressed into a mould by city life – absorbing messages about what it means to be successful, and beliefs about what is truly important in life. To whom do we turn when these avatars of virtue and well-being are unwound? On what can we stand when the firm foundations we have once built upon crumble beneath our feet?

There are no simple answers to these questions. Frank Crane suggested that “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough.” The answer, he suggests isn’t to trust no-one or nothing – the price is too high. Losing trust might be painful, but being unable to trust has a much higher cost. The loss of security is an invitation to a new journey of discovery – one of life’s joys.

We all live by faith – we move into the future on the basis of beliefs and trusts. Some of these are well-articulated in our minds, others held more intuitively. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” wrote an ancient author. The things that we choose to build our lives on for the future are “articles of faith” in their own way. When they don’t seem to deliver, we have good reason to re-evaluate them.

How does your faith and trust stand up in today’s world?


October 26, 2008
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