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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : religion : religion May 30, 2020

3/15/2020 12:11:00 AM
In The Eye Of The Storm
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith
Emanuel Reformed Church

At his inauguration as a first term president on March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was facing the challenge of leading our great nation during the peak of the Great Depression, a time of great economic crisis that began in the United States, but quickly spread throughout much of the world. By 1933, the stock market had lost almost 90% of its value. 11,000 banks had failed, and many people lost all they had. In 1929, unemployment was around 3% and by 1933 it has risen to 25%. 300,000 companies had gone out of business. Hundreds of thousands of families could not pay their mortgages and were evicted from their homes. During this time, many people were out of work, hungry, and homeless. In the city, people would stand in long lines at soup kitchens to get a bite to eat. In the country, farmers struggled in the Midwest where a great drought turned the soil into dust causing huge dust storms. Our nation was in crisis on every level – who in their right mind would have wanted to be president then?

Roosevelt’s inaugural speech needed to point the way to how we would make it through the mess we were in. In perhaps one of the most well-known inaugural addresses to our nation 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. 

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Those were great words that helped our country snap out of a downward spiral of hopelessness and begin the journey back to economic recovery of the American Dream. Those words were powerful in 1933 and we need to remember them today they are relevant to our time. They speak to what we are going though now with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis that is accompanying it. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself because it can paralyze our efforts to respond to this crisis as God’s people.  

In this fourth week of Lent let us remember that Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them, and their hearts were broken. They had followed Him for three and a half years. He was their whole world. Where would they go? What would happen to them? The future was unknown, and they were afraid.

In John 14:25-27 Jesus said: 25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The storms of life are raging in our world like Hurricane Katrina headed for New Orleans, and fear paralyzes us spiritually. Every storm has an eye, a region of calm in the middle of chaos. Jesus is in the eye of the storm and this is where we need to be. Follow Him there and you will find that peace that passes all understanding. Don’t be afraid.

Rev. Smith is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and can be reached at 828-962-8196 or

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