For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.                        

II Timothy 1:7



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  This is the greeting you mainly hear during the month of December each year. This greeting shows that we have very high expectations or hope for Christmas and this hope is also for the upcoming new year. Because of the high expectations associated with this season, depression can easily surface.  This is especially true if one has suffered a setback such as the loss of a loved one or the loss of employment. Sadly, during this time suicides are unusually high.  The fear of facing another year becomes just too much. All hope is gone. 

In 2018 many at General Motors lost their jobs. Before we could get over that problem we, as a nation, experience a governmental shutdown for approximately 35 days. That ugly deed was a political tactic used by the president because he wants a wall built to help keep foreigners from entering the United States illegally. During his campaign the President stated Mexico would build the wall.  Now he is using everything possible to force congress to allocate so many billions of dollars to accomplish building that wall. He is giving the nation a 15-day period of rest from the government shutdown; otherwise this will be reinstated by using his power to declare a state of emergency.  Then he will be able to get the money needed without congress.  He says our country is under attack by people entering this country illegally.

It’s just the beginning of a new year and already there are many challenges in major areas of life and there seems to be no answers.

Because of racism in employment it was next to impossible for African Americans to get corporation jobs. The most they could obtain were factory and maintenance jobs.  As a result, most of them ended up in low-paying governmental positions working as Civil Servants. When there is a governmental shutdown our community suffers. Bills don’t get paid. That was definitely the case during the recent government 35-day shutdown. Churches and other organizations opened up their food banks to relieve the hurting and oppressed.  People started finding ways to help. One television program gave a person they interviewed $5,000.00 because her home and utilities were in jeopardy. Some applied for unemployment benefits to see if they were eligible.  Others were allowed to work but received no money for their labor.  Simply put, this is modern-day slavery. We are already living from paycheck to paycheck. With the threat of another longer government shutdown, how can one survive?  Another troubling question is: Will the next shutdown disrupt the social security checks seniors rely heavily on?

In a governmental siege all areas of life are touched creating a rippling effect.  Other companies have governmental contracts and are subsidiaries. Their livelihoods are impacted. 

It has been said that at least three to six months of income should be in savings in order to compensate for such employment interruptions. Some of us do have 401Ks to rely on; but many of these have been seriously affected by the stock market. 

How can we face the new year? How can we survive and keep home and children intact?

I firmly believe that we have a special inheritance via of our enslavement that is available to us.  The God of the universe promised to bless those who blessed the posterity of Abraham.  No one can claim this more than the African American community. The labor of our enslavement made this country powerful and fruitful enough to support the nation of Israel from its rebirth.  It also gave Jews a place to come to escape the persecution in Europe and Asia. Many of them were able to make their fortunes here in the United States because of slavery.

I can also remember the Arab community when they came here they settled in the black neighborhoods and opened up businesses such gas stations and stores. Then, too, the South Koreans have prospered through the sale of their hair products. We as African Americans have been a blessing to this entire world.

As we face the new year with all of its problems, take self-inventory and then when praying about your needs and desires, lovingly and respectfully remind the God of the Universe of His promise to bless.  Ask Him to remember His promise in connection with our enslavement.  Then ask Him to help you in your need and look for Him to respond. Thank and praise Him for His care and assistance.  What do we have to lose? Let’s add this pattern of response to our New Year.

Your comments are always welcome.

Lucy Payne