LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
by Doyle Daugherty
Professional football players were asked what the difference was between those who made the pros, and those who do did not. They mentioned positive mental attitude, muscle mass, speed, tenacity and practiced technique.
“But what is it that separates the really good, and the GREAT from each other?” the interviewer asked. The players decided that the difference between being really good and great, is that the GREAT keep on playing even when they are hurting.”
They are wrapped around their core with heavy tape because a severely bruised rib is throbbing in pain. Still, they beg, “Put me in coach.” A severely broken finger is taped tightly to one or two other good fingers. Though the pain is killing them, they can still do their three-point stance at the line.
Don't even think about keeping them off the field. It hurts like the bad place, but they want to be in the game. Therefore, they endure.
The GREAT among professionals, is willing to face the pain of the moment, day, week, month or year, to experience the possible joy of winning. His or her mind is fixed on “that which is set before” them. They endure.
“This we do by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the CHAMPION of our faith. Because of the joy set before Him, he ENDURED the Cross...” (Hebrews 12:2).
Carl grew up hurting, He was born into poverty. His Dad was a coal-miner in what was then known as “Bloody Harlan,” Kentucky. To deal with the stress of his own poverty, Carl's Dad self-medicated with alcohol. The booze oozed into his mind and soused his spirit.
The bottle throttled his relationship with his wife, and with his son Carl. The sensitive boy Carl longed to have a good relationship with his Dad. Even when his Dad was home, he was not present. A loving relationship with him was never to be.
ENDURE: It is an interesting word seldom spoken these days in secular or religious circles. The impression is that a quick prayer by someone popular on TV, will make whatever one is suffering, melt away. Absolutely, miracles can and do happen, but until the miracle comes, life may require some endurance.
FAITH HALL OF FAME
For 34 victorious verses in Hebrews Chapter 11, there is an outpouring of incredible miracles that came about BY FAITH. Read that list and it makes you feel like you just scored the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl. Wow!
“THERE WERE OTHERS...”
Hebrews 11:35, takes a different tone. “There were others...” Take a look at the text and see what God speaks to your heart about it. Possibly you have been one of those “others.” Almost all of us have seen God do some marvelous things, but we also know some of the “others.”
The miracle they are praying for has not yet come. For some mentioned in the last part of Hebrews 11, it never did come. They endured. Those in the process of enduring, need our ministry of love and hope, even more.
YOUR INPUT IS WELCOME
Feel free to look at the texts and come back on the Board with your observations. Just click “New Topic” and put in a heading of your choosing. Start a new thread of conservation. Some of our viewers, including this writer, can always use any encouragement or thoughts you may have.
TO ENDURE, can mean “”To suffer, to go through heart-breaking physical, mental or financial stresses. King David wrote, “Though I walk through the valley...” (Psalm 23). There is another meaning to “Endure.” It is, “TO REMAIN in existence,” to live on in spite of the circumstances.
KEEP ON LIVING UNTIL YOU CAN FEEL ALIVE AGAIN
In the Netflix series, “Call The Midwives,” set in a late 1950's poor London neighborhood, the boyfriend of one of the young nurses, was killed in an accident. They had discussed the possibility of getting married. Overcome with grief, she took a Leave-Of-Absence to recover.
Everyone sought to say something comforting and hopeful as she departed. As she got in the car to leave, a woman whose family was killed during the Nazi-run Jewish Holocaust, leaned into the window and said, “Keep on living until you can feel alive again.”
That is what Carl Richardson’s petite Mother Nettie did. She was the poverty-stricken, and physically-struck wife of a man who punched her in the face when he was drunk. Yet her faith in God never wavered. Neither did her attendance at church.
Unable to afford a car, Carl and Nettie started early. They walked together the five-mile round-trip trek to church. When they got back to the coal-miner shack, Sunday afternoon, their feet hurt, but they endured.
EXCELLED WHILE ENDURING
So it was for many thousands of Christians throughout the centuries. They loved God, lived for Him, taught about Him, sang about Him, and worshiped Him as Lord and Master. Not one of them had the luxury of a car. Nor could they even imagine the concept of what a car was or would look like.
For example, Mary and Joseph did not have electricity or running water in their house. There was no Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, 401K’s, cars, buses, trains, fast food restaurants, refrigeration, automatic dishwashers or washing machines for clothes.
There were no telephones, radios, cameras, movies, computers, internet, Twitter, Facebook etc. Their lives were filled with uncertainty, pain and fear. And yet, while enduring whatever hardship they faced, the excelled while enduring.
LEAVE IT THERE
In 1916, the Christian song “Leave It There,” sometimes known as “Take Your Burden To The Lord and Leave It There,” was written and composed by Charles A Tindley, Jr. He was an African American Methodist minister. The song became so popular it has been featured in twelve hymnals including the one used where Nettie and Carl went to church:
“If the world from you withholds of its silver and its gold,
And you have to get along on meager fare.
Just remember in His Word, how God feeds the little bird.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
After walking two and a half miles to church with her son Carl, he and Nettie stood with the congregation to sing. There were times when the little boy would glance up at his Mom's face. Her tears were streaming down. Though she sometimes did not know where the next meal would come from to feed Carl or herself, her soft voice sang:
If your body suffers pain and your health you can't regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
Along with others in similar situations, she clung to the last words of the chorus. “If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Nettie hurt, but she endured,
Though he had attended church all his life, Carl remembered a time at the altar when he was nine, that he “Got Saved.” He said, “I not only knew I was saved, I felt saved. I didn’t feel ‘lost’ anymore,” he said.
“I felt like a different person. Suddenly, a different feeling had come over me. I was not a King but I was part of the Kingdom of God. There was inside me a new sense of confidence.”
Almost immediately, Carl also had a strong desire to preach the gospel. As the days and weeks passed, he could not grasp why God had not yet Called him to preach. He was ready and impatient to get going.
His goal in life was set. He wanted to be a preacher. At times, his Mom would ask, “Carl, have you thought about what you would like to do in life? ” The answer was always the same.
SURROUNDED BY STRUGGLE
“Mom, you know what I want to do. I want to be a preacher. At nine, he began to prepare for the day God would place the “Call” on his life. All the while, he was surrounded by and inundated with struggle.
His Mom and Dad struggled to keep food on the table. They struggled to keep their marriage together. Carl was right in the middle of all that. It was incredibly disheartening.
JUST WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE his parent's marriage was over, Carl's Dad decided to give up on coal-mining. He wasn't very good at it. Because of his increased drinking, he was missing a lot of work, The coal-miner shack in which they lived, was owned by the coal company. If you did not or could not work, someone else was glad to take your place on the roster.
THE RICHARDSON FAMILY moved out of Harlan, KY (36.8431 Latitude ) to Columbus, OH (39.9612). Columbus was 335 miles North. Not only was it a move up in latitude, it was a giant leap forward in attitude. Suddenly, though still in poverty, the light of hope began to shine through.
By the time the Richardson's dragged their disheartened selves out of Harlan, their spirits felt as drab as the coal-dust-covered curtains in the mining shacks; as hollowed out as some of the played-out mine shafts.
THE ONLY PLACE in Columbus they could afford to live, has been described by Carl as a “tiny brick dump.” It was located in one of the most industrial and tough neighborhoods. The cost was $12 a month. Across the street and up the other side a bit, were massive metal manufacturing plants.
A CRAZY WAY TO LIVE
It was the kind of places where strong men wore hard hats and steel-toed boots, where the sound of grinding mental never ceased. The foundries hellish fires roared and glowed eerily all night. The deep-throated Jake-Brake rumblings, and slamming beds of giant dump trucks unloading, never ceased. It was a terrible place to raise a child
Looking out the front door, there was a loud music bar on the right. An even more clamorous Lesbian Bar was on the left. There were fights at the bar on the right, and riots at the one on the left. It was a crazy way to live.
''SMACK-DAB IN THE MIDDLE' between them, lived a quiet, petite, Christian woman who was doing everything she could to raise her boy “in the admonition of the Lord.” When they moved from Harlan to Columbus, his main desire in life was to be a preacher. She wanted to keep it that way.
THEIR HAVEN OF REST
Nettie kept Carl going in church with her. Walking out their front door located between two bars, just as in Harlan, they headed for church. The Church of God was a “Haven of Rest,” from the nest of worldly-living swirling around them. At home, they read the Bible together. Sometimes the little “dump” jumped with joyous Christian music.
GETTING READY TO LEAVE THIS WORLD
By Luther G. Pierce, Copyright 1937
Laying up my treasures in that home above,
Trusting, fully trusting in the Savior's love;
Doing what I can for heaven's Holy Dove,
I'm getting ready to leave this world.
To prepare a Mansion, Jesus said “I'll go.”
If it was not true I would have told you so.
Just a little while to linger here below.
I'm getting ready to leave this world.
GETTING READY to leave this world (of sorrow),
Getting ready for the Gates of Pearl, (tomorrow);
Keeping my record bright, watching both day and night.
I'm getting ready to leave this world.
At that time, Church of God preaching strongly emphasized 2nd Corinthians 6:17. “Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
Christians are in the world, but they are not of the world. A boat is in the water, but the water MUST be kept out of the the boat. We live around all kinds of lifestyles and activities, but our focus in on the Lord. Keep your mind “stayed” on Jesus.
BESIDE HIMSELF, INSIDE HIMSELF
Carl had waited, not so patiently, five long years for God to Call him to preach. On October 10, 1954, he was absolutely beside himself. Inside himself, he knew God had finally Called him to preach.
During that most wonderful time with God, he could also hear the uproar next door. The lesbians were in riot mode. The bar on the right was rather loud too. Neither crowd at those bars, knew 14-year-old Carl existed. They had nothing to do with him, nor he with them.
On one side of the wall, people were desperately seeking to fill the void in their life. On the other side, a young man was being touched an anointed by God while dedicating his life even further. The contrast between the two, only a wall away from each other, is amazing.
HIS INNER SPIRIT GLOWED IN THE DARKNESS
Like a single flower in a swamp pin-pointed by a laser beam, Carl's spirit glowed brightly in the darkness of his neighborhood. Carl Richardson was 14 years old. No longer did he have to wonder, “God, what is taking so long?” His dream had come true. Forever thereafter, he was and still is at the age of 80, a God-Called Preacher of the Gospel.
An invitation to preach his first sermon, would come from a SURPRISING but WISE source. More later.
The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.
12/9/20 8:48 pm