One effect of a world wide economic meltdown that hasn’t bee talked about? The suicide rates are climbing in many countries that are suffering economically. This article paints a fairly grim picture of what so many people are facing. They find themselves stuck. They can’t get jobs. They can’t pay their bills. They can’t find any reason for hope and so they are turning to suicide.
Unfortunately, this reality isn’t much of a surprise. It is sad and certainly telling, but not surprising. In a world in which we put our hope in ourselves and our ability to secure our future, or in governments, or in money, or in someone else, this is too often the unfortunate result. Often when we have turned everywhere we know to turn and have found no answers we lose hope and with that suicide can be an outcome. Additionally, the stress of economic pressure can cause short term bouts of mental illness or exacerbate already existing illness and make it unmanageable.
As the church we should simply recognize our opportunity to serve people in the midst of these struggles. We know that those under these pressures are most vulnerable. They are in dark places desperate for light and hope. We also need to become comfortable talking about mental illness. Having walked through the horrors of mental illness in those close to me and the devastating ripple effects of suicide I have become aware at how little the church seems to talk about mental illness. We too often take issues such as depression and make them conversations about sin instead of conversations about healing brokenness.
In a world with so much darkness the light of Christ shines even brighter. Governments and banks are trying to find ways to improve the economic outlook of our world, but under no circumstances do we, as the people of God, put our hope in them for bringing wholeness into this world. That is our job. We are the cultivators of God’s redemptive work. We are the participants in God’s redemptive plan. We are the bearers of light.
May we look around us, especially at those who are most vulnerable, and search for signs of hopelessness and despair. Even when we can’t offer a financial fix we can offer hope. The hope of Christ never runs out and never experiences recession.