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Times Are Tough

The editor-in-chief reflects on how you can draw strength and hope through Guideposts.

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, crisscrossing the country, and listening to people…in airports, hotels, restaurants, stores. People are scared, maybe even more scared than they really need to be, but try telling that to someone who just lost his job or just saw her kids’ college funds evaporate in the Wall Street meltdown.

Yes, people got greedy. But a lot of people who were only trying to do the right thing—save, plan for the future and ensure their independence—got hurt. As one man sitting next to me on a plane said, “It’s like every day is a fortune cookie and every fortune is bad news, day after day.” 

My parents were forever reminding me that they were children of the Depression. I never understood what they meant, and it seemed to me growing up that they used that to justify a lot of what I saw as weird behavior (excessive frugality, a tendency to hoard).

Now I’m beginning to understand. Our economic crisis is by no means as devastating as what my parents knew in the ‘30s but I can see how an event like the Depression can forever a shape a person’s outlook.

In my parents’ case they made up for what they lacked materially by enriching themselves with faith. Their church was like a bank where they could make spiritual withdrawals and deposits. And they were forever grateful to God for getting them through the hard times. Both my parents were incredibly generous to the poor.    

We don’t know what is going to happen next to the economy and that’s what scares us most. Fear is among the greatest and most primal emotions, the poison wellspring of worry and anxiety and denial. Fear can completely override reason.

The Bible says only love can cast out fear, love is stronger (and it too can override reason, which isn’t always a bad thing). People don’t stop loving because times are tough. I think they love more. Look at my parents.

For years GUIDEPOSTS has published stories about people going through tough times (our founder Dr. Norman Vincent Peale struggled himself pastoring a failing church in the Great Depression, a decade in which his foundational ideas for The Power of Positive Thinking were formed).

Starting this week we’re putting those powerful GUIDEPOSTS stories up on the site for you to draw hope and strength from every day. And if you have stories about how you are coping, please tell us. In times likes these we draw strength from many sources, including each other. 

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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