In his very last speech, given in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King imagined God asking him what era he would like to live in. He goes on to survey all of human history, starting with Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery, goes through Greece and Rome, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Emancipation Proclamation, and finally the very troubled times he lived in, when his country was full of hatred, injustice, and fear. Here is his reply:

“Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.’

“Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. … But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period. … We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” 1

            Martin Luther King believed that no matter what the circumstances were, or what difficulties, setbacks, pain, and anguish he experienced, God was in control. His optimism wasn’t based only on his belief that his cause was right and would prevail, but mainly on his belief that God was right and would prevail.

In our lives as well, whatever this new year will bring, we can depend on the same certainty. “Be brave and strong! … The Lord your God will always be at your side, and he will never abandon you.” 2

God bless you with a wonderful new year filled with His love and care!

  1. Quotes taken from here
  2. Deuteronomy 31:6 CEV