Approaching 2009 With Faith And Hope
As we begin a new year we face difficult challenges ahead of us. The economic crisis in our country will certainly mean some belt tightening in churches and denominational agencies. Along with the economic problems, we may be facing a watershed political event with the swearing in of our new president, Barack Obama.
I have lived through a number of periods of challenge and change during my life, but I don’t remember such an apocalyptic mood attending any of those periods. Everywhere I go and every group I talk with seems animated with fear above and beyond the normal apprehension that comes with change.
Recently, I heard someone compare the fears over the upcoming presidency of Obama with the fears when Andrew Jackson took office. It reminded me of a quote that I used in my doctoral dissertation. Daniel Webster, the pre-eminent legislator of his day, wrote in a letter to friends: “Gen. J. will be here abt. 15 Feb.—Nobody knows what he will do when he comes . . . . My opinion is that when he comes he will bring a breeze with him. Which way it will blow, I cannot tell . . . . My fear is stronger than my home.” On the Sunday before Jackson’s inauguration, one of the pastors of Washington chose for his text, “When Christ drew near the city he wept over it.”
Besides political change, the age of Jackson was also one of acute economic distress. the banking system was failing and needed to be rescued. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it?
It may be that you feel about Obama as Webster felt about Jackson or worse. It may be that you have lost a lot of your retirement funds over the past few months (I certainly have). It is not necessarily the end of the world, however.
The political and economic struggles of Jackson’s day were accompanied by a resurgence of evangelical Christianity. It may well be that the difficult political and economic path before us will provoke a return to evangelical faith. If not, we need to remember that God is still in charge.
As we enter into this new year, let’s approach it with faith and hope looking for the activity of God. Let’s find His path in this new year and follow Him in it.
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