By 1932, the United States
found itself in the depths of the greatest depression it had ever
witnessed. People struggled to find
meaningful work, farmers had no market for their produce, and most people had
spent their life’s savings trying to survive.
Bread lines and soup kitchens were in abundance while jobs were
scarce. That same year, Franklin D.
Roosevelt campaigned against incumbent, Herbert Hoover, for the presidency of
the United States. He used charm, whit,
and optimism as his primary campaigning tools saying very little about what he
would actually do if he were elected.
Despite this, he won; he was elected to be our 32nd
president. His inauguration was on March
4, 1933. In his first address to the
nation he said these immortal words:
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” At a time when people feared for their basic
survival, FDR instilled hope in the nation’s and our individual ability to
overcome current circumstances and thrive.
We simply had to get past our fears.
At the beginning of the
first century in Palestine, eleven men plus unnumbered women put their hopes,
dreams, and trust in a man named Jesus.
They witnessed his miracles, listened to his teachings, and heard him
preach about a kingdom unlike any other of their time. He pointed them toward a future that they
believed in and had confidence that it would come into being – until he was
crucified, died, and buried. That
unnerved his followers; it caused the men to scatter in fear, and left the
women to tend to the ritual of watching the tomb to ensure he was really
dead. But on resurrection morning, the
grave could not hold Jesus. The tomb was
opened for the women to see that Jesus was not there and because of this, they
were afraid. But they weren’t alone –
the guards were afraid and so were the religious leaders. After an earthquake and an encounter with an
angel, the women ran from the graveyard only to encounter Jesus who again
reminded them to not be afraid. Instead,
he told them to go and be his witnesses telling the men disciples that he would
meet them in Galilee. It seems that to
do anything in life you have to first conquer your fears.
I invite you to take time
and read each of the scriptures above as you move to reflect on the questions
below. Take a moment and reflect on your
fears and how they impede your everyday life and your faithful witness. Lastly, I pray that God bless the reading of
God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.