Monday, August 13, 2012


Just a few weeks ago now, Illinois’ U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. fairly disappeared from sight.  A few days later, a carefully crafted statement came out of his office explaining that he had been admitted at an undisclosed facility to undergo treatment for a ‘medical condition,’ which was later identified as clinical depression.  His personal life has been in upheaval since he admitted to a sexual dalliance with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed hostess at a Chicago area restaurant, devastating his wife and disrupting his family.  He is also being investigated for setting in motion a plan to raise $6,000,000 to ‘buy’ the vacated senate seat of Barak Obama from, [then] Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich [now serving a 14 year prison sentence for corruption related charges – 12 years mandatory].  Early reports are that Jackson’s condition will require long-term treatment and hospitalization.

During the first part of the 20th century, J. C. Penney presided over an empire of 1700 stores nationwide, each one bearing his name.  But, although incredibly wealthy, J.C. Penney’s personal life was plagued by setbacks and troubles.  Then came the Great Depression of 1929.   Penney was exposed because he had borrowed heavily to finance many of his business ventures.  Constant and unrelenting worry began to take a toll on his health.  Eventually he checked himself into the Kellogg Sanitarium in Battle Creek, MI.  Penney would later recall ‘a rigid treatment was prescribed, but nothing helped.’  He was constantly tormented by periods of hopelessness and despair.  His will to live was rapidly eroding.  In his words, “I got weaker day by day. Nervous and physically broken, I was filled with despair, unable to see even a ray of hope.  I had nothing to live for.  I felt that I hadn’t a friend left in the world, that even my family had turned against me.”  After taking a sedative, he was sure he was living the last night of his life.  So, he got out of bed and wrote farewell letters to both his wife and son, saying that he did not expect to see the dawn.  The next morning he was surprised to find himself alive.  Making his way down the hallway of the hospital, he could hear singing coming from the little chapel where a devotional service was held each morning.  The words of the hymn he heard being sung spoke deeply to him.  Going into the chapel, he listened to the singing, the reading of the scripture lesson, and the prayers.

“Suddenly something happened,” he said.  “I can’t explain it.  I can only call it a miracle.  I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight.  I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise.  I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before.  From that day to this, my life has been free from worry and the darkness of depression.  The most dramatic and glorious 20 minutes of my life were those I spent in the chapel that morning.”  The words of the hymn that Providentially lured Penney into the chapel service that morning were these:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you;

Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

God will take care of you, through every day, o’er all the way;

He will take care of you, God will take care of you.

Pray with me… Our loving Father, we praise you for your patient love and your faithful grace that lift us out of our rebellion and our waywardness and catapult us into your comforting presence.  There is no limit to the peace which passes understanding that will fill our lives when we decide to stop, to stand still and to seek you in the stillness.   In the Name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

No comments:

Post a Comment