On January 19, 2004—almost ten years ago to the day—I found myself sitting inside of a tightly packed room in Atlanta, GA, listening intently to Mrs. Coretta Scott King and Rev. Bernice King as they talked about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As they spoke, every story shared gave me a deeper glimpse into their internal strength. But beyond just being strong, I soon discovered that they were also kind—kind enough to autograph a copy of Dr. King’s autobiography for a young, Southern, soon-to-be minister in his senior year of college at UAH. To this day, that signed copy of Dr. King’s autobiography is my most treasured book. Just two short years later, Mrs. Coretta Scott King passed and went to be with the Lord.
Perhaps out of all of the things the Kings shared with us that day, one thing in particular most captured my attention and has remained in my conscience over these past ten years—Dr. King’s commitment to remain faithful to his calling even in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.
My favorite example of this commitment is a story in his autobiography in which Dr. King talks about a quiet inner voice he once heard while in his kitchen…
Rosa Parks has been arrested and the Montgomery bus boycott has begun. The movement is beginning to pick up steam, but the threatening calls and letters to King’s family are beginning to pick up too—averaging between thirty and forty a day.
One January night, Dr. King takes a call at his home and the angry voice on the other end threatens to kill him for stirring up trouble in the city. Unable to go back to sleep, King begins pacing the room and decides to make some coffee in the kitchen. Afraid and emotionally drained, he begins to think of ways he can move out of the picture and abandon the movement.
Coming to the end of himself, he begins talking to God about his situation. As he finishes praying, King says that he heard an inner voice telling him these words:
Martin Luther, STAND UP for righteousness…
STAND UP for justice…
STAND UP for truth.
And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world.
After hearing the voice of Jesus telling him to fight on, King said his uncertainty and fear disappeared and he felt ready to face any opposition that would come.
So what about you…
Are you facing circumstances that seem to threaten what God has called you to do?
As you run towards your God-given calling, do you feel as if success is running away from you in the opposite direction?
Are the voices of self-doubt or persecution threatening to kill the God-given dream in your heart?
If so, here’s what I want you to remember.
There will be times in life when you will feel like quitting, even though you are called by God to do what it is that you’re doing.
It’s in these moments that your desire to obey God’s voice must overshadow your desire to obey the voices of others telling you to quit.
When God speaks to you, His voice will strengthen you. His voice will encourage you.
In His Word, God tells us, just as He told Dr. King, that no matter what opposition we may face, He will never leave us or forsake us.
So STAND UP! Fight for your dream.
REFUSE TO QUIT!
Once God calls you to do something, burn down the bridges and tear up plan B. There are too many people depending on the fulfillment of your calling for you to give up on your God-given dream.
Dreamers are rarely celebrated for their dreams in the beginning.
But today’s MLK holiday serves as a reminder to each of us that if we hold on to what God has spoken, our circumstances have to eventually line up with His Word—even if it means changing the laws of the world’s largest nation to do so.
What does Dr. King’s life and legacy mean to you personally? Feel free to leave a comment letting me know.