A wrinkle in time, the past and today

Published 9:10 pm Monday, January 13, 2020

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

Twenty short years ago, 1999, we were facing a new millennium, not without many fears confronting us. The primary source was what could happen in the world of automated electronics on which we had come to depend. We tried to prepare and protect ourselves against any eventuality. Batteries were selling out as fast as trucks brought them in. We stocked up on food and essentials. Some people filled bathtubs with water, all commodities we thought we could not do without. A portable burner, containers for water and other things are still stored in my garage.

We tried to make plans — some people contacted psychics, listened to prognosticators. We wanted to know what would take place after midnight. And then it was over. The new millennia dawned just like every other year. We breathed a sigh of relief.

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How could a change on the calendar have such a powerful effect on us? Is it because God has put within us an emotion of fear? There certainly is plenty to fear in this world. We daily express our feelings in simple ways. We warn our children about fire, running in the street, and threats of dangerous circumstances.

Thankfully, fears of the 1999 new millennia went off the radar screen, but January 2020 has replaced them with new fears. The current world crisis is only the latest. This world is hostile.

What have we learned about how to handle fear, anxieties, panic attacks, especially as time moves on and we age? Not much, it seems. As soon as one fear passes, another confronts us. It has been that way throughout history.

The first recorded mention of fear was when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. They “heard the sound of the Lord God, walking in the garden” and hid themselves. They were afraid. Why? They had disobeyed and something within them knew there were consequences. They had to deal with the Maker of heaven and earth, a paralyzing moment. We can learn from them.

What will happen in 2020 and how world leaders react is beyond our control, but how we personally respond is not. Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The Psalmist said fear has a sanctifying element, “clean, enduring forever,” in Psalm 19.

In Psalm 35, King David pleaded, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me. Fight against those who fight with me … rise up for my help … Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me …” During that crisis, David was wholly depending on God. Sadly, we can’t assign that to America today.

Christians need to remember God’s design for holiness in our lives, experienced by confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness. That relationship will allay our fears and place them where they should be, on the God Who is in control. It will lead us to a closer dependence on what Jesus promised us, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives it give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful…” John 14.

I am resting in that promise.

Myrtle V. Thompson, 91, is a Bible teacher, educator and writer. Contact her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.