With the chaos in our culture and the racial tension we are experiencing one has to wonder what great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have done to create a more peaceful environment. Unfortunately, on April 4, 1968, one of the greatest civil rights leaders in our history was gunned down leaving millions of Americans discouraged and frustrated about the future.
Shortly after the news broke about Dr. King’s assassination, Robert F. Kennedy, who was running for President, spoke to a largely African-American crowd in Indianapolis. Most in the crowd had not heard about Dr. King’s tragic death. While appealing for a calm reaction from the crowd he recalled the pain and anguish the Kennedy family felt when his brother, President John Kennedy, was murdered.
In his address to the grieving crowd, Robert Kennedy quoted a paraphrase from an ancient poem by Aeschylus (526-456 B.C.): “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
If you haven’t yet heard or read the remarkable series by Pastor David Jeremiah titled: When Your World Falls Apart (www.davidjeremiah.org), you need to acquire this sermon series. In this work, Pastor Jeremiah reminds us that progress is impossible without some pain. Disruptive moments, if we let them, help define our character, shape our perspective, and develop our faith. His insights about how he suffered through cancer can be applied to the struggles you are facing.
When I think about the storms in my life I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and how He led me through various struggles. On April 15 I will celebrate the 35th Anniversary of my successful non-malignant brain tumor surgery. In 1981 neuro-surgeons removed a five centimeter mass from my head in a 9 ½ hour surgery that could have taken my life. While I no longer hear on my right side and lost that balance nerve, I’m very grateful to be alive and to be used of God.
During my ordeal and subsequent challenges, I read God’s word and journaled my thoughts and prayers. I discovered verses that shaped my future and defined my ultimate ministry. Much wisdom was gained through these trials and tribulations that I experienced. Each year on the anniversary week of my brain surgery I review those Bible verses that encouraged and inspired me to better understand the nature and mercy of God while experiencing the power of His healing.
Our world is falling apart, but my friends, don’t be discouraged. God has a plan for each of us and for this great country. As the Palmist reminds us: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps. 55:22
The same God who sustained the prophet Isaiah will sustain each of us: “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
What are the battles you are facing? Every time I face a new struggle or have a physical challenge I seek to rediscover God’s word. I’m often reminded what Job went through: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job: 23:10
If you are going through some struggles and would like to have a unique resource to encourage you, I have put together a collection of my favorite Bible verses in a Ready Reference Flip Guide that I believe will help you live a transformed life. I would love to send this guide to you free of charge. Simply send an email to my wife and secretary Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send one off to you at no charge.
- How has God used challenges in your life to help shape your faith?
- How can you apply Hebrews 12:7-13 to your life?
- What wisdom have you gained through your challenges? Have you shared that wisdom with others?