During the Great Depression, a businessman by the name of J. C. Penney was hit particularly hard. So hard, that it endangered his health. Anxious and desperate, because of his huge financial loss, he felt he had nothing to live for. In a hospital, demoralized, not only expecting to die, but wanting to, he got up from his bed and began to wander the halls. Passing by the hospital chapel, he heard music and singing, as he had never heard before. Stepping inside the door, he heard these words, “Be not dismayed whate’er betide; God will take care of you.” He quickly sat down in the back row, listened intently not only to the music, but also to the Scripture reading and prayer that followed.
Later, J. C. Penny wrote, “Suddenly – something happened. 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 warm, brilliant sunlight.” From that day, J. C. Penney was never plagued with worry, and he later called that moment, in the chapel that day, “the most dramatic and glorious twenty minutes of my life.”
When he died, at the ripe-old-age of 95, he left behind one thousand six hundred and sixty stores in his name.
What are you going to leave behind? What legacy have you been living for, and when your life on earth is over, what will you be known for?
I have said quite often, throughout these past sixteen weeks, that this virus is not something to endure, but actually, it has been something quite revealing – a revelation of who we’ve been, and what we’ve been living for. I contend, we may have gained more than we think we have lost? Just maybe, this time could be a moment of reset – like the chapel J. C. Penny entered that day that changed his life. Just maybe, if we could choose to listen, there’s a song coming forth, and the words are all the same – “Be not dismayed whate’er betide; God will take care of you.”
Do we believe it? And more importantly, are we living it out in our world around us?