For America, this seems to be another ‘time of testing’

By Stephan Drew

There are times, in the lives of people and nations, when conditions may seem extremely difficult.
Many things can test you – family problems, emotional and financial stress, health complications, war, disease, tyranny and oppression. These are called “times of trial” or “testing times” and our nation has been through several of them before.
We have been experiencing such an episode for some time now. A little over two years ago, the world was exposed to a pandemic, the likes of which had not been seen in over a century.
Since COVID and all its variants began, we have undergone drastic changes to not only our health but also our freedom of movement, our social habits, our attitudes and emotions and our economic stability.
Yes, we were riding pretty high not so long ago. Unemployment was at an all-time low, the stock market was reporting record gains, retirement accounts were growing steadily, taxes were fairly low and, according to many sources, we were energy-independent for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Now all of that has changed. We are now importing more oil once again from foreign countries, some of which hate us tremendously. Jobs are plentiful but wages have not kept pace with inflation.
The cost of everything you buy has increased dramatically with the prices of many goods and services doubling in some cases. The stock market, although stable overall, has recently seen some shocking drops as corporations sell off some assets or shift money to minimize the damage done to their own funds and attempt to absorb the blows caused by inflation.
Many retirement accounts are not growing much at all. Those that are don’t seem to be increasing as much as they were before. Russia and China are attempting to shift the world economy away from U.S. PetroDollars, thereby ending our control over international trading.
And we are now facing the possibility of a global conflict. Yes, the past two years have caused quite a few shockwaves in many aspects of our lives. I believe we are going through another testing time.
Like all crises, these events bring out the best and worst in people. There are those who wish to throw their hands up and absolve themselves of all responsibility, giving government complete power to fix all of our problems. There are those who don’t trust our leaders at all and resist any changes at all, no matter what the issue is.
Others, with a hidden agenda to push, are willing to play all sides against the middle to achieve their goals. Like children, no matter who it hurts, they are willing to create total chaos and destruction as long as they get their way in the end.
However, even in the midst of these struggles, we have more individual luxuries and comforts than ever before. We also have more advantages and opportunities than have ever been afforded to any human beings since the beginning of time.
If you doubt it, just turn on your television or check your iPad. What is the biggest concern on people’s minds today? It’s not whether they will shelter, feed and clothe their families. It’s whether or not their team will win the playoffs or who will win the next election.
Most people aren’t concerned about whether they will be able to heat and cool their homes. They’re worried about whether their cellphone call will be dropped or if the WiFi will maintain a clear signal during the big game.
Yes, we’ve come a long way since that last pandemic – the Spanish Flu – 100 years ago. We have so many advantages now that it’s somewhat silly to hear the things we bicker about daily.
This should be a Golden Age where everyone is happy and cordial to each other. But many of us realize that our situation can become extremely fragile quite rapidly. We don’t have to go back to the old days – chopping wood, hauling water by the bucket, and killing our own food.
However, we do need to remember how quickly things could get worse and how far we might fall if we don’t recognize how far we’ve come and protect the position in which we now find ourselves.
I’m not talking about just “doing things the way we’ve always done them” without any room for adaptation. Updating our methods and modernizing our approach to problems is a fundamental necessity for progress and growth.
We always need new ideas to advance and improve ourselves in the future. But we shouldn’t accept all fresh ideas simply because they are new and different. We must recognize what got us here, take what we have achieved and make it better.
We must not cast aside our entire system just because some parts of it have serious flaws. I remember hearing my father say many times, “Make sure you always keep an open mind. But not so ‘open’ that your brains fall out.”
I think that’s advice that we may need to remember just now. As Americans, we have made tremendous world-changing advancements in less than 250 years. We have overcome obstacles and climbed mountains that others thought couldn’t be scaled.
We can’t afford to let chaos and destruction set us back or cause us to tumble. After falling and sustaining serious injuries, it’s often tougher to climb that mountain the second time.
Our future hangs in the balance. If this is truly a testing time, let’s not fail this “test.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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