WALKING IN MEMPHIS-
I have part of the famous speech of M.L.K. jr. written here on my wall. He gave the speech the day before his death- and he said that God permitted him to go so far along the journey- allowed him to see the beginning of ‘the end’ and he came to peace with the fact that he himself would not make it all the way.
He said ‘I have been to the mountain..and I might not make it into the Promised Land with you..but I don’t mind.. because I have seen the land- and we- as a people- are going to make it’ [paraphrase].
After King’s death we heard stories about his personal failures in life- things he struggled with- yet he also tried his best to finish the course that God destined him for.
I often wonder if this is what King saw- if he realized he had kind of passed a personal point of no return- and he came to peace with it. That he was at least privileged to see the ‘promised land’ though he himself would not make it in.
This story comes from the bible. It’s the life story of another great man of God- Moses. God called Moses [Like Rick Perry?] when he was young and gung ho- Moses initial start was rocky- he got mad and killed a man in anger.
Moses fled to the wilderness for 40 years and God showed him a burning bush- it was time to go back home. The next 40 years were really not that much better. Sure we had the Red Sea incident- and Moses had one of the great actors of all time play him- Hesston.
Yet the next 40 years were spent in the desert- with a bunch of people [who initially voted for the guy!] and they whined about the journey all the time. Moses did his best- he led them through some tough stuff- and at the end of the 40 years [the real journey should have only taken a few days- the maps show us that they walked in circles for those 40 years] God says to Moses ‘Son- you’re not going in’.
What? God told Moses that he blew it one too many times with the temper thing- and that for that reason he could not go into the promised land. However- Moses was permitted to go up ‘to the mountain’ and look in. Yes- this was the mountain that King was referring to the day before he died ‘I have been up to the mountain- I have seen the promised land- I might not make it in with you- and I’m okay with that because I know now that you guys will m make it in’.
I think King- like Moses- came to terms with his own failures- no excuses- just the reality that he went a little too long down some bad roads- and it just wouldn’t be right for him to have gone all the way.
Yet- how could King [and Moses] be okay with it? There’s a theme that runs all thru out scripture that deals with God using you thru out your life to ‘reach’ a certain generation of people. You might never see these people in the flesh- you might not have any influence in their lives for most of the journey- yet you knew from the start that this was indeed part of the mission.
So you do your best with the other parts of the mission- always hoping and praying that the future day will arrive before you ‘call it a day’. There will be many times during this ‘wandering’ that you will deal with issues- real life failures and successes- and at times- during the hard times- you fear that you might have gone too far this time- and will never ‘see the promised land’ you might never fulfill what you knew from the beginning was a big part of the plan.
Then one day [year] you see a bush- some type of sign that comes from God- and he’s saying ‘lets give it one more shot’ at that part of the journey your usually too tired to go for it- you often think ‘geez- why now?’ Yet you’ve been around long enough to know you really have no option- just do the thing.
King [and Moses] went through stages where it looked like they might never see the promised land- never mind enter in to the thing. And God did them a favor- he said ‘son- go ahead up- look over into the finished product- it’s going to happen one day- know that for sure’. They seemed to be able to be grateful that they made it far enough to look in- to see that they did indeed make it far enough down the road that after they departed- the vision would live on.
These last few weeks- as an avid news junkie- a strange thing has happened [those of you who read these posts can pick up on it]. I have come to side in a way for an underdog- a hated man- yet an underdog never the less. As I watch Gadhaffi- day after day- stand on the tower/building overlooking Green square- I see him defying the nations of the world- saying ‘bring it on- you will never kill me’ in one of the speeches he said ‘you can never kill me- I live forever in the hearts of millions of people’.
Now- whether this be true or not- I have no idea- but the principle is biblical. Ultimately your ‘promised land’ is the generation of people that you have planted Gods word into throughout your life. The privilege God gave you to affect people- for good- during the journey. Gadhaffi was saying that you might kill him- but his ideals would live on beyond his life- this is true for all of us.
After the death of King we heard a lot about his personal failures- things that some people knew about- but not everyone. When we all learned about them- then took a second look at the Memphis speech- we can see that King was grateful for the ‘Moses moment’ that God was gracious enough to let him make it up to the mountain- to a point in the journey where he now knew that his destiny was sealed.
I’m sure he felt some sadness over the reality that he alone knew- that he did indeed go too far down some wrong paths for too long- but God was gracious enough to let him make it to the mountain- I do thank God for that.