The United States of America is a nation built on hope – hope for a better life, hope in ideas on how to build a better nation. We were, at one time, a nation with a destiny of greatness. But something has changed and changed deeply. I first detected it in my youth when the Apollo program died of disinterest and frankly, worry. Somehow we changed from the people that were going to conquer the solar system, the galaxy and the universe into people that were worried we did not have enough resources at home and so perhaps man’s greatest technological accomplishment is now but a historical notation. Despite being the richest and most powerful nation in human history we have gone from being people without limits and boundaries (save for those of decency) to people worried about making it to the end of the day.
The host tweeted out a WSJ article this morning on the remarkable growth of Anxiety Disorder in our nation. I do not wish to belittle anyone suffering from this horrible affliction. I have witnessed its symptoms firsthand, they are beyond unpleasant and they are debilitating. But like most disorders of the mind and emotions they are not a disease in the traditional sense of that word. They arise as much from environmental factors as organic malfunction. To my mind the rise in this and related disorders that we are seeing is as much a function of the loss of hope in the nation as anything else. We teach people to worry today rather than to boldly reach. Look at our media – around every corner is something that could go wrong.
When I was a young man and we made it to the moon pretty much everybody acknowledged there was a God. For a lot of people that was a pretty amorphous concept, but there was something greater than us guiding and guarding us. We could reach for the moon because something much bigger and much greater than us had our back. Sure, there were setbacks, some of them horrific, but when you’ve got “the big guy” at you back you just know it’ll work out. But now such a presumption is greeted with derision and accused of some sort of soft bigotry. Is it really any wonder we have become a nation of worriers – even to the point where that worry has become toxic?
I have no doubt some will accuse me of trivializing something that is far from trivial. Again, I understand the pain and difficulty various anxiety related disorders bring to people’s live and to the lives of those that love them. But I cannot help but think that in the incidents of such disorders would be greatly lessened if we generally understood that we are in some fashion, even if not the strictly Christian understanding of that fashion, in God’s hands.
Just consider two wonderful words of Jesus:
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
I read stories like the one in the WSJ and I weep. Certainly I weep for (and pray for) the sufferers of this affliction. But I also weep for a nation that has lost its sense of destiny – a destiny born of hope – a hope rooted in the Almighty.