“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.”
As the US stock market has seen a climb in the last month and rumors of the economy ‘bottoming out’ have spread I have begin to see a shift in the attitudes of the citizens of this great nation. You hear it on the news, see it in the papers and it gets talked about in coffee shops. “Things just might be looking up“, they say. “Maybe this is the beginning of a brighter day” is replies the other mocha latte cappuccino with whipped cream and cinnamon drinker.
I am reminded of a story, a parable of sorts, that I often shared with people I taught back when I lived in Africa.
A man is rafting down a river when he loses both of his oars. Drifting down the river he soon hears the rushing sounds of cascading water and the realization that he is heading towards the top of a very large waterfall forces his mind to search for a solution. Unable to swim and left without a means to paddle to the shore he begins to pray to the Almighty for assistance. Just before the man and his vessel tumble over the falls the man notices a tree branch hanging out over just far enough over the river that he can jump and grasp the limb. Leaping, quite literally for his life, he grabs hold of the branch and climbs his way to the safety of dry ground. Upon reaching safety he offers another prayer, “Nevermind the previous prayer God, I figured it out on my own”.
I worry that we are doing that now. We are starting to see a little bit of light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel and we think we can get the rest of the way on our own. Like Benjamin Franklin pleaded with the Continental Congress, I beg you (and me) to remember that this branch didn’t reach out to us on it’s own, but to jump high, grab hold and climb to safety while the opportunity is before us. If this really is the bottom of the dip then it is time that we follow Jefferson’s advice and “join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.”