Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways
What an economic time it is. Fortunately, few people are talking about a depression anymore. That sort of Chicken Little talk was dangerous nonsense. That being said, we are indeed in the middle of the Great Recession.
Google “quarterly GDP growth” and you’ll get a quarterly listing of GDP growth rates going back to 1946. These last two quarters are the worst back-to-back quarters on record. Assuming this current quarter will also be down, we are indeed seeing the worst economy in many decades.
It’s not surprising. Residential housing affects everything. When this bubble popped, it was guaranteed to be bad. And it is.
Hunkering down is the only option. We spend a third of our time in recession (defined by rising unemployment), so we all better learn how to cope with it.
Personally, I have great faith in our economists today. Guys like Ben Bernanke have spent their lives learning how to carefully fine tune the national economy. Our universities have produced brilliant minds who have produced excellent research which can guide us. Have no fear.
There is a lot of fear out there, but we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Dealing with fear is a fundamental part of life.
About this time last year I had a good dose of fear. I accidentally flew into a thunderstorm in my small private plane. It was late morning and the storm arose from nowhere to envelop my plane.
When you are alone in a plane in a thunderstorm, wondering if your wings will stay on, that is fear.
Once clear, my heart was racing and it took quite a while for the panic to subside. My fear of the storm was replaced by fear of my own fear. That’s even worse. It’s taken me a year to fully regain my confidence. On several flights, I landed and vowed never to fly again. But I did.
Somewhere during this personal struggle, I realized that my anxiety about flying was an allegory to my life in its present state. My whole career has been built around the newspaper industry, an industry many think is doomed. Personally, I could be happy flipping burgers on a beach, but I have a wife and three children to feed (and put through college, God willing).
Flying, like business, is about study, preparation, diligence and reasonable assessment of risk. To fly, you must eventually sit alone on the runway and gun the motor for the first time. So too in business. There is no success without risk.
For nine years I flew without a big scare. For nine years, I’ve run my business without a big scare. Sooner or later, you get caught in a thunderstorm. That’s life.
These are character defining moments. It’s not the elimination of risk that makes us who we are. It is the overcoming of fear when the inevitable happens. I dare say my spiritual advancement has been greater in the last year than the previous 20. I have not conquered fear, but I have put it in its place.
“You must conquer fear,” my 12-year-old son John started murmuring to himself, like a mantra. This aroused my curiosity, for John had always battled fear, often hiding under a table as a small child because he was afraid to leave the house.
Later on, I was melting down because the DVD wouldn’t work while driving on a family vacation. As I yelled at John in frustration, he calmly proclaimed, “You are showing a lack of enlightenment.”
“Where are you getting these ideas?” I demanded of John. He mentioned some strange cable TV program name. I assumed it was some sort of San Francisco hippie New Age enlightenment guru.
One day, John dragged me downstairs to watch his guru, Creflo Dollar. I had to laugh when the new king of televangelism appeared on the screen. The good reverend preaches that faith will lead to abundance, as his Gulfstream jet attests. Have no fear.
“Fear comes from the devil. Faith comes from God,” Rev. Dollar stated. “Prayer is the faithful worshipping of God. Worry is the fearful worshipping of the Devil.” Can I hear an Amen? We now are regular fans.
How ironic that John and I have conquered our fears sitting side by side on our couch downstairs listening to Creflo Dollar. The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.
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