In these trying times, it can feel like our country is divided beyond hope. We face a relentless pandemic. Racial equality is a distant hope for many. Americans struggle to find work, pay rent and care for their families. Forests and towns are being decimated by blazing wildfires. Hurricanes are making landfall with life-threatening flooding and wind. We grieve the human loss.
How do we keep getting up every day, believing that our situation will get better? Where do we find the strength to face another battle? We turn to our faith—a force greater than fear, a power whose source has never-ending energy.
It’s faith that kept people in the past moving forward when facing the trials of their days. We can look to those who believed in impossible dreams in a hard-pressed world. People who rose above the odds, never quitting even in their weakest and hardest days. Who is that person for you? I have many. But recently the life of John Lewis has been added to my list of faith heroes.
Lewis, the son of Alabama sharecroppers, survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. He went on to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime United States congressman—regarded as “the conscience of Congress.” In July, he died at 80 following a months-long battle with cancer. Lewis devoted his life to make our country a better place not only for African Americans but for all citizens.
There was one question people asked him more than any other: How did he do it? How did he hold to nonviolence when surrounded by anger and hate during protests and sit-ins? How was it possible to be cracked on the head with a nightstick, left bleeding and unconscious, and not raise his hand one time in self-defense?
As he wrote in his book, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and A Vision For Change: “The answer is simple. Faith. Faith has the power to deliver us all, even from greatest harm. Faith…is knowing in the solid core of your soul that the work is already done, even as an idea is being conceived in your mind. It is being as sure as you are about your dreams as you are about anything you know is a hard fact. Even if you do not live to see it come to pass, you know without one doubt that it will be. That is faith.”
How do we push forward and rebuild our lives after a tragedy, when nature destroys our home, or we lose a job or face a pandemic? Faith! It can deliver us, even from the greatest harm. We can turn to God for courage and strength. These are tough times, but we know from the stories of others, and of our own, that faith has the power to lead us to a better tomorrow.