In times of crisis and unprecedented firsts, the likes of which many of us are currently witnessing with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to keep hopes and dreams alive. However, it’s also important to guard against naivete. Admiral James Stockdale, who was an enemy prisoner during the Vietnam War, wrote a great book called “Good to Great” in which he outlined a paradox that is essential to surviving the worst of times. While he was in a prison camp for eight years, he saw many optimists die from disappointment. They would say to themselves at Christmas, “we’ll be out by Easter,” but then Easter would come and go and they were still there, or “we’ll be out by Christmas,” but then Christmas would come and go as well. After experiencing the sadness brought on by their own false hopes, they would lose heart and succumb. On the other hand, the pessimists didn’t stand a chance because they were negative from the start. The ones who did survive had a little bit of both; they had faith that they would get out of their current situation but they had no idea when. In the meantime, they were fully immersed in the gravity of the present. Today, it’s called the Stockdale Paradox, and I believe it’s what’s needed to be a responsible dreamer, especially in times like these.
My friend, Jesus offers you a peace that transcends all understanding to guard your heart and your mind during stressful times. He wants you to keep your hope alive, put your undivided trust in Him, and expect things to get better. However, you also need to live in the reality of your current situation, which means exercising wisdom and being prudent in your actions. It’s important not to deny the fear that comes with the unknown but to talk about it and deal with it accordingly. That said, I beg you not to panic or lose heart. God is on your side — He is with you and for you and He loves you more than you can ever imagine. You are precious to Him and He will take care of you through every challenge you face!