Our nation is facing great economic turmoil for the second time in just over ten years. By all accounts this one looks to be worse than in 2008. Unease and anxiety are rampant. There is ample reason for concern; 36 million people have applied for unemployment. We face great uncertainty. The millennial generation is going through the third set of challenges in their young lives and they have doubts whether the American dream is alive at all.
There are some similarities to the fears, anxieties and uncertainty which permeated the conscience of our of our nation during the dark days near the end of the depression as the dark clouds of war loomed across Europe. During his first inaugural address in January, 1933, FDR had been elected to lead a nation gravely more dispirited than we are today. He addressed the nation and frankly assessed the crisis they faced: “…values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced with serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone…a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence….”
President Roosevelt recognized the nation had to come to grips with its fear. He knew fear was a contagion. He addressed the nation in a famous speech heard through the radios in every living room across the country as families gathered to hear him speak words of hope and belief: “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed effort to convert retreat into advance.”
The difference today is that this crisis was not the product of war or a damaged or failing economy. It was an agonizing choice made to minimize potential loss of life from a once in a century pandemic. But the consequences of a nationwide shut down have been no less dramatic and devastating. We are at a pivotal point in our history. How do we as a people respond?
There is an almost universal paradigm that our beliefs create our reality. It is present in virtually all success adherents of the power of the “universe,” as well as in the Judeo Christian beliefs in power of God. The Bible, in both the new and old testaments, clearly declares our physical world is materialized by our beliefs.
It is my firm belief we will rise from this calamity because of the same strengths and virtues upon which our past success was built. We must first have no doubt in our resolve to prevail and over come. We cannot fall victim to believing our present circumstances, regardless of how negative they may seem, represent our new reality. They do not. We are not our circumstances. All people of faith understand that God is not limited by circumstances; however, God is definitely limited by our negative belief of our circumstances.
Could it be that we, each of us regardless of our age, was born for this moment? This is our moment to create new and brighter circumstances for ourselves and those around us. Let us not shrink back or fail in our commitment to believe in and to fulfill our destiny to overcome and rise higher. In doing so, we will stand upon the broad shoulders of those who went before us and bore their own sacrifices during their time of challenge.