David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because, he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
Acts 2:25-27 (NIV)
On election night; I was glued to the TV screen. Four hours prior to the arrival of President-elect Obama, 250,000 people had gathered in and outside of Chicago’s Grant Park. I can remember the expression of hope that was firmly sealed on the faces of many Americans in the crowd. Most faces would remain nameless. However, there were two faces that I recognized and one in particular that I wondered about. The faces that I identified were Oprah Winfrey and Rev. Jesse Jackson. The other person that I was wondering about was Sam Perry from Menlo Park, California. Oprah used his shoulder to lean on during the events of this historical night.
However as the night progressed, I would admiringly remember the smiling tears of Rev. Jesse Jackson. He was the first black man to run for president of the United State in 1984 and 1988. During his time of service to our community, Rev. Jackson coined the phrase, “Keep Hope Alive!” Many Americans can remember this famous quote that was symbolic to Rev. Jackson’s campaign for the highest office in the land, “The Presidency.”
On the night of Nov. 5 in Chicago’s Grant Park, “Hope was definitely alive!” Hope was manifested on faces of Americans from all walks of life and various backgrounds.
However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14 percent between President Barack Obama’s Election and Inauguration Day. This was the largest decline ever in the stock market. The Dow Jones also made the biggest decline on Inauguration Day.
Did the Dow Jones not witness history? Did those on Wall Street not vote for change? Did not those who buy and trade stocks believe that, “Yes We Can!” I quickly learned that if I wanted hope for our present economic times then, I might need a new source. This new source is really and old source that Grand Mama used to make it through the decimation of the Jim Crow Era.
As I reflect on the many American faces that were from all walks of life, “HOPE” appeared permanently affixed upon their faces as they waited to hear from President Barak Obama. There were many faces in that crowd that would remain nameless. As I reminisce about “The Great Cloud of Witnesses” of the past, I identified with Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. I remembered one other person that I identified with, and that was Grand Mama and her generation. The shoulders of her generation were the props for Oprah, President Obama and Rev. Jesse Jackson as this historic event had come to pass.
Grand Mama did not look to man; she looked to God. Grand Mama was nameless in this “Great Cloud of Witnesses,” but God knew her intimately. Grand Mama prayed that she would live to see that historic night. Grand Mama told us that we could grow up and become president, and she believed this through the providence of God!
Providence of God
David is quoted in Acts 2:25 to give us insight to where we can find hope for a brighter tomorrow in America. We find hope in the providence of God. David says, “I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Therefore, I do not need to be shaken by the banking crisis, the housing crisis, the American automobile crisis or our present moral crisis. I do not need to look for hope for a brighter tomorrow in Washington or on Wall Street. God is my stimulus package. I, like David, can get my hope from the providence of God in my life. I can also have hope in God to heal my country. God does govern in the affairs of nations.
Benjamin Franklin said, “I have lived a long time, sir, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth is that God governs in the affairs of men.” The key to believing that God is my stimulus package is being able to perceive God in my nation’s affairs. God is America’s only hope. We can find hope like David and Grand Mama in the perception of God.
Perception of God
David says because of the providence of God, I can perceive Him. When I perceive God in my circumstances, I can be happy even if my circumstance has not changed. “Yet, I can shout right now!” David says, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices.”
I can perceive God making His presence known; I can have hope for a brighter tomorrow in America. C.S. Lewis says, “When you come to know God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him.” Can you perceive God in America? Grand Mama did! Can you perceive God in your circumstance? Grand Mama did! Can you feel God in the atmosphere? Grand Mama did!
She leaned on hope over and over again. Grand Mama believed in God when it was said that Christianity was a white man’s religion. Grand Mama believed that God was up to something great.
I feel and know that God is up to something great. This is a divine moment for the glory of God. I believe in this dark hour that, “Yes, God Can!” I will shout right now, because of the promises of God. We find hope like Grand Mama did in the promises of God.
Promises of God
Arthur W. Pink says, “The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of his promises.” David says, “My body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” What a great promise from God in this text. I remember what Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “Keep Hope Alive!” I remember what our President said, “Yes, We Can!” But, I will fondly remember what Grand Mama said, “Yes, God Can!”
God can provide a job in an unemployment crisis. God can provide money in a financial crisis. God can provide a home in a housing crisis. God can provide a car in an automobile crisis. God can provide a president in a government crisis.
God can provide holy men and women of God in a moral crisis to remind us that, “Yes God Can!” David and Grand Mama said, “My body also will live in hope.” God has not abandoned me to die! God will not let His holy ones decay! I have hope for a brighter tomorrow, because I put my hope in God.
Thank you, Grand Mama, for believing in God. Thank you, Grand Mama, for believing in me.