‘PERMACRISIS’ has been chosen by Collins this month, as their Word Of The Year for 2022. According to the publishers it ‘describes an extended period of instability and insecurity.’ For many around the world, and particularly for those who live in the UK, ‘permacrisis’ is quite an accurate description of how it feels to live in Great Britain and Northern Ireland at present. Other words highlighted by Collins include: Partygate, Kyiv, Warm Bank and Carolean; all pointing to the recent political, international and economic instability, as well as to the loss of our much-loved Queen Elizabeth II.
Even so, focussing on the negative for too long isn’t helpful. So, I wondered whether there’s an opposite to ‘permacrisis’; a word which brings hope instead of despair? How about ‘PERMAGRACE’? In spiritual terms, the word ‘grace’ describes our Creator’s constant, never-ending love and compassion for every member of His world, even though we don’t deserve it. Yes, there is much suffering – this is a broken world after all, but we have a God who knows us through and through and yet still loves us and desires to help us through the stresses and strains of life on planet Earth. Just as ‘permacrisis’ conveys a more or less permanent state of crisis, ‘permagrace’ reminds us that God’s undeserved affection for us will never diminish. If we have reached out to Jesus and put our trust in Him, we can know security through the chaos, and stability amidst the upheavals of this world.
“He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; deep respect for the Lord is the key to this treasure.”Isaiah 33:6 (NASB/NIV)
During the Second World War, when commenting on the above prophecy, the author Herbert Lockyer wrote this1:
“The bottom is falling out of things. Civilisation is crumbling. Even our own personal life suffers the disrupting influences of war. And yet the prophet tells us that stability can be ours in an unstable age. With panic around, we can be at peace. … We may not be able to read the meaning of our tears, nor understand the anguish of earth. Faith, however, rests in the only wise God who never makes mistakes.”
Permanent crisis promotes a feeling of permanent insecurity, but permanent grace causes us to feel secure, protected and at peace.
1 From “Give Us This Day: Daily Portions for Pilgrims” by Herbert Lockyer, 1942.