In 1933, in his inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself —.”
Currently, we fear gangs, terrorists, police, unorthodox marriages, liberals, conservatives, and members of other religious groups. The list goes on and on. Before we can forgive and relinquish judgment, we must first face our paralyzing fear. Renouncing anxiety involves three considerations.
- We cannot have it both ways. We trust God or we allow terror to dominate our lives. A story from a circus illustrates this point.
During an amazing circus trick, a performer
walked across the tent on a narrow wire high in the air.
The crowd cheered.
He then took a wheelbarrow and pushed it across the wire.
The crowd cheered even more.
The announcer asked, “Do you believe he can
push the wheelbarrow across with a person sitting in it?”
The crowd roared, “Yes!”
After quieting the commotion, the announcer asked,
“Who will get in the wheelbarrow?”
The question before us asks, can we move beyond believing in God to trusting God? Believing does not require commitment. Trusting means giving up worry and climbing into the wheelbarrow of life.
- Trusting God does not mean naively assuming nothing bad will ever happen. Life – being life, happens. People we love die. Terrorists ravage communities, fires destroy property, and floods wash away treasured items. Trusting God does not come with an insurance policy, which separates us from all harm. Trust in God guarantees one thing. No matter what life brings, God’s strength will sustain us.
- All the fear in the world will not provide protection. In fact, when we live with fear we suffer twice. We suffer with anticipation and again when the event we dread occurs. Better to live in peace knowing that when one of those events we consider negative happens, God will guide us back to the Light.
This does not suggest that we abandon common sense or give up all reasonable protections. When we have accomplished all we physically, mentally, and emotionally can do, the time has come to let go. Repetitive worry adds nothing but negative energy. Giving up fear communicates, “I’ve done my best. I trust in Divine Power to sustain me through all that life brings.”
Roosevelt, Franklin. First Inauguration of 32nd President of the United States. Washington, D.C. March 4, 1933.