I’ve never had so much feedback about one of my talks as I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. My message that It’s Not all Gloom and Doom is, I believe, a prophetic message from Jeremiah 32 for us at The Belfrey and for the wider church and society.

Most of us are fed up of the doom and gloom in the nation. The negativity. The overly-critical nature of so much of society and the cynicism that often goes with it. It’s a cynicism that discourages rather than encourages. That tears down rather than builds up. That breeds hopelessness rather than hopefulness.

That’s at the heart of The Rolling Stones’ latest video that I played in full at the start of my talk at The 7, because it speaks so poignantly into the issue. You can watch it below.

There’s got to be something better! Something more positive. Something different. And there is. And it’s the message that’s actually at the heart of this season. That in the midst of darkness a light is coming. And the light has a name. And his name is Jesus! And he comes to turn things upside down. He comes to encourage. His purpose is to build up. The light of his presence brings hope.

I think God is saying: ‘if our nation seems all doom and gloom, don’t stand for it. Do something about it!’ And that’s why I went on to look at the economic health, and then the spiritual health of our nation, calling those listening not to be passive, but to actively do something to bring change.

I ended by describing some research done about light and darkness. It involved an experiment performed a few years ago with laboratory rats aiming to measure their ability to live in difficult times. First, they put a rat into a tank of water, placed it in total darkness and timed how long it could continue swimming before it gave up. It lasted for just 3 minutes. Later, they put it back in the tank, but instead of placing it in total darkness they allowed a single ray of light to shine in. This time the rat kept swimming for 36 hours! 720 times longer!!! Why? Because the light brought hope. The light encouraged the rat that it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

If all we hear is doom and gloom, people give up. They give up on life. And they give up on God. The Lord doesn’t want that. And he’s calling us to stand up. To be counted. To make a difference. This Advent. This Christmas. And do it in Jesus’ name.

I suspect many of us need to hear the message of this talk. If that’s you, click here.