How did Miss Willie Feel Now?

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The first political opinion that I remember hearing belonged to Miss Willie. She did not like President John F. Kennedy. I was just under seven years old when President Kennedy was elected and just shy of ten when he was assassinated.

I am standing with my brother Steve. Miss Willie lived next door to us on our side of Vine Street. Our church building is in the background. It faced Cumberland Street. Naturally the name of the street is Cumberland. We Tennesseans probably use the name Cumberland for more places than any other name. Dr. Thomas Walker (physician, explorer, and guardian of young Thomas Jefferson) named Cumberland Gap for the Duke of Cumberland (son of England’s King George II) in the 1700s and we continue to be enamored with it.

People of my generation and the generations older than mine speak of remembering where they were when they heard the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated. I don’t actually remember the moment though I am sure I was at school. What I do remember is:

  • watching news reports on black and white television and
  • my wondering heart: “How did Miss Willie feel now that the president had died?”

I couldn’t imagine somebody not liking someone who had died.

It’s sad that my first memory of a political opinion is a negative one. I wonder if children now ever hear any other kind.

A friend and I recently talked about what is going on in politics at the moment. She wisely pointed out that our hope cannot be in government leaders. She’s right. As God’s Word teaches us:

Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
Psalm 146:3

Months ago when the coronavirus became the number one story in the news, Ray said that if he were an Old Testament prophet he would be telling everyone to repent. When we talked about the current political situation one day this week, he remembered what he said back then. He thinks the same now.

If every mama spent her days the way you do, devoting yourself to teaching your children and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, things would be better than they are now. But, they still wouldn’t be perfect. We are all, after all, sinners in need of God’s grace.

It would be easy to despair if we looked only for political or scientific or sociological or psychological answers to the troubles we see around us. But despair is not the appropriate response of people who believe in Jesus. I’d rather trust in God than trust in princes. Trusting in God is a sure thing.

May we obey God’s teaching in the first part of this verse and not be like the people at the end. And may we teach that to our children, too.

For thus the Lord God,
the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing . . . .
Isaiah 30:15

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