On this day in 1962 John F. Kennedy addressed the nation about a very different “quarantine.” The Russians, in retaliation for the US putting nukes in Turkey, were putting nuclear weapons in Cuba. Kennedy said:
“To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba, from whatever nation or port, will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.”
This led to what may have been the scariest 13 days in world history. It could have ended very badly indeed. One of the people who prevented the end of the world was Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov. On 27 October 1962 a group of Navy destroyers were dropping depth charges to look for Soviet subs. The Captain of the B-59, which had been out of radio contact for some time due to its depth, determined that the war had started and ordered the launch of his nuclear torpedoes. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, Arkhipov refused to authorize the captain’s use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard. Thus, quietly, in an act of reason and bravery, one man likely saved the world in a time of crisis.
Eschantophobia is fear of the end of the world, or even just the end of the world as we know it. 2020 has been rife with it.
Addding to it is a lot of fear mongering in our world right now. It is easy to see. Are you being asked to act out of rational concern or out of emotional reaction? Are threats, stated or otherwise, being used to drive you to certain conclusions? Are you afraid of an end of things you hold dear?
Yet we have no need for fear. Its a wasteful emotion.
I don’t mean the kind of fear that keeps you from a dangerous ledge or makes you take your heart medicine everyday. I am talking about irrational fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the things we cannot control. Existential fear.
What are we told instead?
2 Timothy 1: 7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Think about what the Bible tells us and think about Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov.
One man who, in a time of crisis, chose not to give into fear but to embrace hope.
One person who did not embrace fear but in the face of it did the right thing.
Do the right thing.