Abraham Lincoln won the presidency of a divided country. There were four major candidates in 1860, and Lincoln only narrowly received his electoral majority. Among his harshest critics was Edwin Stanton of Ohio who opposed Lincoln’s election, calling him among other things the “original gorilla.” Yet Lincoln asked Stanton to serve as Secretary of War, recognizing his organizational skills were greatly needed for the war effort. When Lincoln was assassinated, Stanton said, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley brought fierce destruction to areas of Florida. During the storm, 25-year-old Danny Williams went outside to seek protection under the branches of a 55-year old banyan tree. Friends and family said that the protective branches of the spreading tree had been a favorite peaceful place for the Fort Meyers man. But on that day, his place of safety became a death trap. The tree fell on Williams and killed him.
Sometimes, the places and situations we look to for protection can ultimately be the most harmful.
Thousands of people each year visit the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California. This massive structure was built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of the gun company owner. For thirty-eight years, from 1884 until her death in 1922, the house was under constant construction. Teams of carpenters, masons and other workers were employed around the clock. Various stories have been told about the reason for this unusual practice. Most center on Mrs.
In 1555, Dr. Nicholas Ridley was sentenced to be burned at the stake in England because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas Ridley declined the offer saying, “I intend (God willing) to go to bed, and sleep as quietly tonight, as ever I did.” Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need.
Amy Carmichael, missionary to India wrote, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace…If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you know what His will is.”
A young man was eager to grow in His Christian life. He got a piece of paper and made a list of all the things he would do for God. He wrote down the things he would give up, the places he would go to minister and the areas of ministry he would enter. He was excited. He took that list to the church and put it on the altar.
He thought he would feel joy, but instead he felt empty. So he went home and started adding to his list. He wrote down more things he would do and wouldn’t do. He took the longer list and put it on the altar, but still he felt nothing.
During the French war, a train carrying dispatches to the headquarters was compelled to go over sixty miles of very rough track, and reach its destination within an hour. The engineer was the bearer of the dispatches, and his wife and child were in the coach. Every moment threatened to pitch the train over the embankment or over a bridge, and, as it rolled from side to side, leaping at times almost in the air, rushing past stations, the few people inside held their breath and often cried out with terror as they sped along.
In one Peanuts cartoon Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!”
Charlie says, “But I thought you had inner peace.”
Lucy replies, “I do have inner peace. But I still have outer obnoxiousness.”