As we are in the first 15 days of the new year, doesn’t it seem like 2021 is just an extension of 2020? As if today, Jan. 15, 2021 is really Dec. 46th, 2020. The breach of our hallowed US Capitol last week, the fear that uprisings could happen again, the tension leading up to the president’s second impeachment, all combined with the problem that won’t seem to go away—the number of COVID-19 cases increasing again at alarming rates.
We are so close to having a hopeful resolution to the pandemic. The vaccine is now being dispensed, yet the delivery has been bogged down with distribution problems. We had a glimmer of excitement when we celebrated the new year’s arrival, but we have awakened to a new season of crises. And we are so tired of it. Couldn’t the new year give us a break?
This weekend we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his monumental endeavor in advancing civil rights through a policy of nonviolence. His work brought to light the plight of racial inequality in our nation, in a way that multitudes were able to embrace and spark change. The pinnacle of his noble venture was his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in 1963 – “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
As hopeful and confident were his messages, he had his days when he was tired of it all. In one of his last speeches he admitted, “I’m tired of marching, marching for something that should have been mine at birth … I don’t mind saying to you tonight that I’m tired of the tensions surrounding our days.” “Sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he cries out in another speech.
Yet Dr. King found solace, comfort and strength in the Lord that carried him through his days until his tragic death in 1968. He dreamed for the day when “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain ...” Isaiah 40:4-5 (KJV).
He proclaims, “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24 (KJV). He is comforted by the words of Psalm 30:5 (KJV), “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
We dream for a day when this pandemic is over and the unrest in our lives has settled down. But we can take encouragement in the words of Dr. King, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.” Dr. King lived his life by faith and knew the power of God’s love to support and transform humankind, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”