In the past month, the world has become a very different place. City streets are deserted; there is little movement of planes, trains or automobiles; businesses are closed; many thousands of people are unemployed; grocery shopping is a very different experience; the stock market is nervous; and so are many people.
There is fear and uncertainty in the air and it’s probably more prevalent than the virus.
In 1933, the Great Depression was at its depth and the US President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt stepped onto the podium to deliver his inaugural address. No one knew what he might say. Contrary to his upbeat and optimistic campaign speeches, his address was sombre. His opening statement set the tone, by reminding Americans that the “common difficulties” they faced concerned only “material things.” He said, “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 efforts to convert retreat into advance.” (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/)
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and while our current difficulties are more physical and material, we will endure, we will get through this, we will revive and we will prosper.
Since the order to stay at home, Teresa and I have been working on all those home projects that kept getting put aside to make way for our busy schedule. With no excuses, many of them are now finished. In our daily walks around the neighbourhood, we have seen many “new” people and have been warmed by the fact that almost all are waving hello and sharing words of encouragement as we pass – while carefully observing the required physical spacing. I find that encouraging. Perhaps when we’ve crossed these troubled waters, people will remember how important social contact really is. Maybe we’ll stand in awe of the beauty of creation and the power of God instead of the latest witty comment on the so-called “social” media.
“When you're weary, feeling small; When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all (all). I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough. And friends just can't be found. Like a bridge over troubled water; I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water; I will lay me down.” (Paul Simon, 1970)
Whenever I hear this song, I think of Jesus. I hear him gently calling to me in my troubles and fear. I see him bridging the gap between the fears of this world and the joy of a life in him. I remember the cross; and how, through Jesus’ sacrifice, its arms created a bridge between God and mankind – a Bridge to Salvation.
There are so many uncertainties these days and there is so little we can do about them. It is so easy to feel helpless and to be overwhelmed with sadness and worry; but as the Angel said to the shepherds on that holy night in Bethlehem, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Jesus is the Bridge over troubled waters, he is on our side and he will dry our tears. He is the most steadfast friend we could possibly have, and he laid down his life that we might live. He is our Bridge to Salvation. There is no need to fear.