The year is 1955 and Martin Luther King is 25 years old, he has just graduated from Boston University with a Doctorate, married to Coretta and their first child is born. King will realize his goal of becoming a Pastor when he accepts the position of head Pastor at Dexter Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama. They move into a beautiful home provided by the Church and King settles down to enjoy preparing a sermon each week and being the good Pastor. King is articulate, well educated, Pastor of the largest Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and within a year gains the respect of the black and white leadership of Montgomery. Because of this respect for his leadership he asked to head up the local chapter of the NAACP and several other high profile leadership roles, he declines sighting his work and responsibilities at the Church.
And then all HELL breaks loose when Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery. The black leadership immediately assembled, they made the decision to organize a boycott of the city’s buses and they all knew who would lead it, Reverend Martin Luther King! And what did he say when presented with this request, NO! It took the black leadership weeks to convince him and then the reluctant leader finally under duress, agreed. Now stick with me…….
Fast forward just one year, King is sitting at his dining room table at midnight, family in bed and king is exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. His home has been bombed, he has had death threats and phone calls every hour of the day and finally a call from the Ku Klux Klan that evening with a threat of murdering his family! The fear has now overwhelmed him and he begins to cry and begging God for help, confessing that he is weak, faltering and losing courage. He prays relentlessly asking God for direction, help and courage and in that moment of solitude and prayer, Martin Luther King began to feel an overwhelming sense of peace, calm and his fears began to go away.
As King retold this story many times he also profoundly new from this moment on that he would fight with every ounce of energy for 3 things,
Stand up for righteousness
Stand up for injustice
Stand up for truth
This story has always stuck with me for several reasons. I can’t imagine at the young age of 25 having to make the decisions he had to make and accept leadership roles that clearly he was reluctant to do. Knowing how debilitating fear and self-doubt can be and then finding yourself at the brink of an emotional breakdown is something none of us want to experience.
What I have learned from this story is this……..
- HOPE…. you never, ever give up Hope, there is a God and there is always Hope!
- We have to allow ourselves the opportunity to unplug the technology and recalibrate, reconnect, reenergize and those answers will come.
- Life is NOT a Linear path as King found out! We may have to jump on to a new path and be open to it!
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King