In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He was trying to reassure a terrified nation mired in the depth of The Great Depression. Roosevelt explained that, fortunately, the common issues they faced concerned only material things: “Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income … the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.”
Five years later, I was born. Within a year, World War II erupted. Two years later, I contracted polio. My father could barely feed our family. It was at that point my parents put their trust in Jesus.
Today, over 70 years later, our country has experienced many wars and some severe recessions. We are still embroiled in struggles overseas, threatened by terrorists, plagued by national debt, led by a malfunctioning government and trapped in a steadily degrading culture. Our news and entertainment media specialize in negativity and fear mongering. Sure, it may not be The Great Depression or a Global War, but still ….
Have we any reason for hope? You bet! As I look back on my own life, I can say with King David, “Surely goodness and mercy (has followed) me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). I have had an amazing ride, with free undergraduate and graduate education, living in five countries, traveling in more than 35, and studying four languages, marrying a fantastic wife and having two wonderful sons. God has provided for all our needs. And He’s provided for yours, too!
God remains our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. He is mighty to save. And He has given us a spirit, not of fear, but of “power, love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) He has commanded us to put on the shield of faith, and to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. God urges us to acknowledge Him in all our ways. The promise? He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
So in these challenging days, let’s refuse to worry, put our trust in God, give Him the praise He deserves, and experience the joy that comes when the God of peace is with us.