Another year is upon us and this is the month where we celebrate the lives of past and present African American heroes. There will be a plethora of plays, festivals, musicals, and exhibits to celebrate the lives of those who have paved the way for freedom. As a people, we have endured so much and still experience daily struggles because of the color of our skin. It saddens me to know the generation of today attend schools that do not expound upon the deep roots of black history and all that has been accomplished. With each passing day, the fight against injustice in the black community is higher than ever. However, there are people who faced a far greater fight than the one you may be experiencing today. What is your fight? Are you equipped to overcome the battle you currently face?
Jackie Robinson is the historical black figure that comes to mind and the fight he endured in 1947 breaking the color barrier in baseball. It has been noted that Robinson’s faith in God impacted how he responded during the tough times. The 2013 biopic of Robinson’s life, 42, was a great depiction of his journey as the first black major league baseball player. If you haven’t seen the movie, I greatly recommend it. When Robinson first took the field in a Dodger’s uniform, the test began immediately. Insults were hurled at him, entire teams threatened not to show up to play, his own teammates wanted to boycott playing with him, and he and his family received threats. Despite the derision, Robinson always chose to turn the other cheek. This is not the usual way to win fights, although perhaps it’s the most successful way. Matthew 5:39 says,
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
This verse came to life during the movie in a scene between Jackie and Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford.
“Echo a curse with a curse, and they’ll hear only yours,” Rickey points out, steering Robinson away from the “eye for an eye” concept, just as Jesus does in the book of Matthew. “Your enemy will be in full force,” Rickey goes on to say, “And you cannot meet him on his own low ground.” Jackie Robinson believed that it was the strength of God that got him though his fight against racism. How many of you could have responded the same way he did? In all the research I’ve done on the life of Jackie Robinson, it’s clear that God was the steadying force through the tumultuous first years of Jackie’s time as a Dodger. God built him to last and He has done the same thing for you and me.
The same grace and spirit that was on the inside of Jackie Robinson resides on the inside of you. The day you lifted your eyes to heaven and accepted Christ into your heart, you were given the equipment to last. There is nothing you’ll face in life that you and Jesus can’t handle together.
Exodus 14:14 says,
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
So again, I ask what your fight is.
Is it the HOT SIGN at Krispy Kreme?
Is it the number one at Chic-fil-A you get upsized every time you order?
Is it the 30 pounds you just can’t seem to lose or your unwillingness to stay with a committed exercise routine longer than three weeks?
Maybe it’s the stressful job or unhealthy relationship you’re in. Your fight may be dealing with racism or sexism. Whatever, the fight is, remember the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s. None of us is void of the trials and struggles life brings. The way in which you handle them will determine your level of victory. Be encouraged, GOD BUILT YOU TO LAST!
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. (I Peter 1:6 NLT)