Archive Article: A Climate of Hope 29 March 02
January 3, 2009

We have just marked the sixth month anniversary of the September 11 tragedy in the United States and we are now in the Easter season. There is a link between the two: the need for hope.

September 11 has been billed as an “event that changed the world”. I am not so sure – the world, after all, has so many crises each year. But it has certainly changed the United States.

The object of terrorism is to terrorize. The intention is that one terrorist event will scare many other people because they fear a repeat of one sort or another.

September 11 has generated a climate of fear within the US. This is normally one of the most optimistic of countries. Over the centuries, visitors to the New World in the United States have commented that the US seemed to exude a sense of excitement and eagerness for change that was very different from the dreary, exhausted Old World back in Europe.

Now the United States is full of worry, elaborate security precautions, various false alarms and one of the largest military build-ups in peacetime history. The climate of fear has seeped into many areas of American life.

The climate of fear has resonated with the fear of people in other countries. Even in Australia, which is supposed to have one of the world’s healthiest economies and low rate of politically motivated crime, there is an underlying sense of pessimism.

For example, I am amazed at the use of the phrase “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer”. This is simply not the case. There is certainly a growing gap between rich and poor. But the poor are getting richer, albeit at a slower rate than the rich are getting richer.

There are very few people in Australia that live in worse material conditions than, say, their grandparents did at their own age. Few grandparents, for example, would have access to today’s quality of medical and dental care, transportation and entertainment. But somehow the September 11 tragedy has fuelled the pessimism and made people very troubled about the future.

There are similar concerns about crime. There have certainly been some increases in some forms of crime (notably involving property). But there has been very little politically motivated crime and the murder rate has remained constant for the past century. However, no doubt next year’s state election will again see attention to the so-called decline in law and order because voters feel so insecure.

This brings us back to the current season and its contribution in moving us from a climate of fear to a climate of hope.

The Easter story is a message of hope. Things looked very bad for the early believers. They had seen Jesus die on the cross.

But He kept His word. Jesus came back from the dead.

The world needs to move from a climate of fear to a climate of hope. The Easter story is the world’s best story of hope.

There are many things that are difficult to understand – such as why tragedies like September 11 take place. But this is still God’s world. He is in control. We humans may not be able to understand the big picture and how all the components fit together. But He does. He remains our source of hope in a troubled world.

Broadcast On Friday 29 March 2002 On Radio 2GB’s “Brian Wilshire Programme” At 9pm And On 31st March 2002 On “Sunday Night Live” At 10.30pm