These are fearful times, though it is important to remember that times are generally fearful. Media enables us to know tragedies in part of the world as they happen and so things can even seem worse than they are. In my grandparents generation, the events on other continents might remain unknown even to the someone who read both the morning and afternoon papers like my grandparents!
Still we face a continued conflict with terrorists. Our economy is sluggish, particularly for those who also face the burden of racism.
Never make a decision based on fear.
Prudence is not fear, but fear can easily pretend to be prudence. Many cowards hide from the challenges of the day by saying “it wouldn’t be prudent.” Love is never perfectly safe, so cowards never really love . . . never give themselves totally to the beloved whether the beloved is a person, a cause, or a country.
If my decision is going to be what my fears would find comforting, then I look for a man or woman I know is courageous and check my heart with them. One way to tell the difference between cowardice and being careful is that cowardice will keep making excuses not to do the bold, good thing, while the courageous man will strain to act for the good of the community, checked by prudence.
React to fearful obstacles by running to daylight.
Vince Lombardi had his players run to where the opponent wasn’t, not to where he was. This is good advice. If something or somebody is standing in the way of what God wants, often the path forward is where they are not.
Why run through the defense if you can run by the defense? The goal is a touchdown, not hitting the other guy. In the same way, visionaries should keep their goal in mind and only “hit” the obstacle when absolutely necessary.
Too often we confuse one good method of fulfilling God’s call with God’s call. The Saint Constantine School is a new means to fulfill the call for classic, liberal arts, Christian education. The Saint Constantine School is a means and not the end. We are constantly shifting our methods, but never our vision. The confusion of “this place,” or “this way,” with what God is calling us to do is a basic cause of fearfulness.
I love the Republican Party, the Party of my ancestors, since Lincoln made our home country a state in the Union. However, the Republican Party is a means to work for liberty with virtue in this republic. If the GOP were to be hijacked by frauds, fanatics, or fascists, I would have to find another party!
Let’s run to the light, go where they aren’t, to get to the goal!
Be thankful instead of fearful.
Thankfulness and fear cannot coexist. A thankful man is focused on his blessings instead of his worries. When I look at terrorism, I forget to thank God for the first responders. When I fear the jihadist, I forget my kind Muslim neighbor.
Thankfulness is free to act while fear only reacts. Before I react, I need to stop, think about it, and find a place of thankfulness. Before cursing the darkness, and sometimes the darkness must be cursed, I need to thank God for the sun, moon, and stars.
This advice is so Hallmark, so potentially cheesy, that we forget that doing it requires courage. Saying “I am thankful” or making a schmaltzy movie is easy. Being really thankful in difficulty is hard, requires painful decisions, and hard work on my soul.
I don’t want to be thankful, I want revenge. God turns me from revenge to joyful appreciation of His goodness, to His vision, and then (oddly) vengeance comes.
The thankful man never gets his revenge, but he will always see, in this life or the life to come, the vengeance of God on wickedness. There is nothing more disconcerting to devils and devilish men, than those who are courageous, running to daylight, and thankful. Because they are fearful, grinding in the pit, and full of ingratitude, they will defeat themselves reacting to joy! Better still: often the coals of fire of kindness heaped on the head of the wicked turn them from wickedness and we can thank God for a redeemed soul!
Glory to God in all things!