After finishing his doctoral classes, Rev. King accepted the pastorate of a church in Montgomery, AL. His plans were to pastor the church while he finished his doctoral dissertation, with the goal of one day becoming a college or university president. Noble plans, without a doubt.
But God had other plans.
While in Montgomery, AL, a black lady in her 40s decided not to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. As a result, a boycott ensued, one thing led to another, and the young Martin Luther King Jr. found himself in the national spotlight.
Here is my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. story:
Early in the civil rights struggle, Rev. King was arrested and put in jail for driving 5 miles above the posted speed limit. After he was released, he and his family started receiving death threats.
One night, Rev. King was awakened by a phone call. The person on the other end said, “Listen, nigger, we’ve taken all we want from you. Before next week you’ll be sorry you ever came to Montgomery.”
Unable to go back to sleep, Rev. King went into the kitchen, fixed himself a cup of coffee, and sat at the kitchen table to have a conversation with God. Here is what he would later write about that night and that conversation with God:
“I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. Finally, I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of coffee. I was ready to give up. I tried to think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing to be a coward. In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had almost gone, I determined to take my problem to God. My head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.
At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never before experienced him. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice, saying, “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth. God will be at your side forever.” Almost at once my fears began to pass from me. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything. The outer situation remained the same, but God had given me inner calm.”
Three days later, Rev. King’s home was bombed; but he had come to terms with the plan God had for his life. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, as we remember and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, reflect on these questions:
What are your plans for your life?
Are your plans for your life noble plans?
Are you willing to let God change your noble plans, for His, even bigger and more noble plans?