A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.”
– Psalm 27:14b (The Message Bible)
A few years ago on a hot summer morning, my wife Debra went from the kitchen in our house, to the garage.
She intended to get something out of her car and quickly return to the cool comfort of the house. Unfortunately, the knob to the kitchen door had been locked. She could not get back into the house.
Her cell phone, keys, shoes and other comforts were on the other side of the door. She picked up a hammer and started banging on the knob. She valiantly attempted to break the lock. We had spent well on the lock and it did not break easily for her. She gave up, climbed into her car and started to pray that I would come home. She looked for paper and a pen to scribble a note as she wasted away in the sweltering car.
I was at work, but I felt an inexplicable urge to return home. I had felt that sensation before and knew that it was a foreboding herald. When I drove up to the house and opened the garage, she was sitting, forlornly in her hot car, crying.
I was alarmed and asked what had happened. She explained and pointed to the hammer and the dents on the door. I picked up the hammer and with a single blow, broke the lock and opened the door.
She came to me later and asked me if I thought that the lock would have broken if she had hit it one more time? Rather than say yes, I spontaneously, recited the poem below:
(A poem by John Greenleaf Whittier)
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
I shared this poem with you in case you are trudging uphill, feeling exhausted, locked out or discouraged. Don’t quit. God’s delays are often preparatory or protective. Don’t quit because we can see His mercies more clearly when we are in extremis.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.