Child hiding in couch

I’ve had to attempt to relearn factoring polynomial quadratic equations. I say attempt because, after watching hours of YouTube videos, I still couldn’t help my son with his math homework. Of course, my not remembering freshman algebra served as fodder to prove his argument that this kind of math isn’t useful. If mom hasn’t had to use polynomial quadric equations since high school, what’s the point? Why should he?

My boys complain the same about history, “Why learn about the past? It isn’t going to help me in the future.” While I can’t make a great case for factoring equations, I wholeheartedly am a proponent of history. Winston Churchill’s adaptation of George Santayana’s quote says it best:

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

My eldest son, along with quadradic equations, is also studying the effects of WWI and the rise of communism. Of course, I geeked out while quizzing him for tests and wanted to know if he saw any similarities between then and now. My wise-for-his-years son says, “Yes, fear.”

It was one of those heart-sinking moments. He was right.

Museum of Victoria Unsplash photo of people watching soliders pass

Fear was a huge proponent for allowing Stalin and also Hitler to come into power. After the massive death tolls and financial costs of WWI, Russia and Germany were left dangling in uncertainty and economic decline. People sought change and relief from their financial worries. In fear, they fell subject to propaganda and skillful orators who appealed to their sense of helplessness. (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC.,, Vladimir Lenin, and Encyclopedia Britannica, The Civil War and War Communism.)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

We must stay alert and be vigilant. Fear is a sneaky foe. Phrases like, Do not be afraid and Fear not are written in the Bible approximately 365 times. Whether God had to repeat Himself that many times in order to get through to us or merely to drive home His point, I don’t know, but we might want to take note.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cripple us. I’ve seen Covid-19 turn normal, happy people into paranoid hermits. The longer they remain secluded behind locked doors, the more their fear grows, and the more helpless they become. Fear wants us to lead small lives, but we have a choice whether to listen to the voice of less, the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, or to listen to the voice of more, Jesus, who came that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). 

I’m not condoning licking microphones or toilet seats like the crazy Coronavirus challenge (an idiotic stunt on the internet to which my boys have alerted me). I’m not even saying take off your masks or gather in groups. We need to be cautious because God wants us to be good stewards of our lives and the lives of others. However, we need to remember we are in a battle. Fear believes God won’t make it right. Fear convinces us to depend upon sources of man-made protection. Fear allows evil to get a foothold as witnessed in history with Stalin and Hitler.

Faith, on the other hand, seeks and trusts God.

Focus on fear, and it will grow.  Focus on God, and faith grows.

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