Living in Hope Not Fear

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt stood in front of an assembled crowd at the U.S. Capitol and took the oath of office to become the 32nd president of the United States. The situation he inherited from outgoing President Herbert Hoover was overwhelming. The economy was still sputtering in the depths of the Great Depression and the stock market crash of 1929. People truly believed the country’s best days were behind it and that the country’s economic despair was the new normal.

There were a lot of reasons for people to have fear. Roosevelt, though, refused to let fear define him.

In his inaugural address, Roosevelt spoke words that would become one of the most quoted lines from his 12-year administration. He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Powerful words to speak in the midst of an economic crisis, yet words that offered an expression of hope during a time of fear. Continue reading “Living in Hope Not Fear”

Soul Prayers

One of the television episodes ever, at least in my opinion, is the second season finale of “The West Wing.” The episode was entitled “Two Cathedrals” and centered on President Jed Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, as he dealt with the presidential crisis surrounding the disclosure of his multiple sclerosis and if he would seek re-election, as well as the death of his long-time assistant, Mrs. Landingham.

Some of the episode’s most moving moments occur at the National Cathedral following Mrs. Landingham’s funeral. The part that is most interesting, for us, comes after the funeral. It is then that Bartlett talks with his chief of staff, Leo, who wants him to return to the White House. Leo wants Bartlett to focus on the final preparations for that night’s press conference where Bartlett would answer questions about his condition and possible re-election. Bartlett, instead, wants a few minutes alone in the sanctuary. Once the cathedral is cleared, Bartlett, a Catholic, begins to express his frustrations towards God. The frustrations focus on the events surrounding his life and if God was punishing him. After a few choice words spoken in Latin, Bartlett walks away from the church, in anger, and returns to the crisis at hand.

For many of us, this is a type of conversation with God we find uncomfortable. We sometimes believe that we’re not to get angry at God, even though there are plenty of examples in Scripture of saints of our faith who expressed their frustrations towards God. We want to believe that God only desires prayers of praise. Part of this is that we believe that if we have hurts, pains, or frustrations that it is an expression of “God’s will” or that we are not strong in our faith.

None of that is true. It is not God’s will for us to experience pains, frustrations, or hurts. It is not God’s will for us to experience evil. God wants us to talk to the Lord about what is going on in our soul. God can handle our pains, our hurts, and even our anger. It doesn’t make us less of a follower of Christ to share these feelings. In fact, our willingness to share and express these feelings towards God is an expression of our desire to seek after the Lord’s own heart. Continue reading “Soul Prayers”