Devotional 2 of 10
by Randy Petersen
Dear Lord, give us strength for the work you have called us to do.
We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.
In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?
The phone rang in the King home. It was late. Coretta was asleep and Martin was just beginning to doze off. But he picked up the receiver and heard a strange voice deliver a hate-filled threat. “Before next week you’ll be sorry you ever came to Montgomery.”
This was not the first threatening phone call for Dr. King—there had been many—but this seemed more serious. The Montgomery bus boycott was in full throttle. King was leading the black residents of Alabama’s capital to exert their economic muscle in breaking some long-standing discrimination. This enraged the enemies of the fledgling civil rights movement, and it increased the severity of the threats against Martin and his family.
With the latest phone threat fresh in his mind, and now unable to sleep, Martin walked through his house, considering ways he might quietly step down from the leadership of this dangerous cause. “I decided to take my problem to God,” he wrote later in Stride Toward Freedom. He confessed his fear and weakness. “I have nothing left,” he told God.
And then he heard an inner voice assuring him: “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth, and God will be at your side forever.”
Three nights later, the threat became a reality. While Martin was out at a meeting, Coretta heard a sound on the front porch of their home. Providentially, she and a visiting friend moved to the back of the house. So when the bomb exploded, they were unharmed.
Martin got word of the bombing and rushed home, where a crowd of his supporters was already forming. Police were trying to keep order. Tensions were high. But Martin quickly quieted the angry crowd, urging them to respond with love rather than retaliation.
In Romans 8, the apostle Paul says that God works things for good, for “those whom he has called according to his purpose.” Some people use this verse to promise that everything will work out pleasantly for believers. And that’s what happened January 30, 1956—everyone emerged safely. That wasn’t the case on April 4, 1967, when an assassin’s bullet struck Martin down. For the moment, the enemy seemed to get the upper hand. But as Martin told the crowd in his front yard in Montgomery in 1956, “Remember, if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement.”
Martin Luther King had a strong awareness that he was called according to God’s purpose. And maybe God is calling you, too. What purpose is God calling you to pursue? And how are you responding?
Questions for personal thought or group discussion:
1. Is there some way in which you can carry on the calling of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or is God calling you to some other cause?
2. Have you ever had a time of opposition that caused you to question your calling? How did you deal with it?
3. How can you encourage others to continue to do the work God has called them to? How can they encourage you?
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