Roy Exum: A Friday Inspiration

Friday, June 9, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

One of the most fun things that I like to do is talk to kids I have never seen before. I get invitations to speak pretty regularly and you can’t do them all but I try really hard to do the classrooms and get children to laugh. Almost without fail I tell them the one word I want them to never forget is “yet,” and then it could be the number that will be their best friend in life is “24.”

I promise them that as they grow and venture out into the world they will hear the word “can’t” a whole lot. “You can’t be an astronaut … you can’t be a veterinarian … you can’t play football for the University of Georgia … you can’t memorize “The Sermon of the Mount” … you can’t date anybody as pretty as Peggy Sue.”

So here’s the trick: anytime anybody ever uses “can’t” in a sentence, you silently put a “yet” right before the period. Suddenly it becomes “You can’t be an astronaut YET.” So all you have to do is figure out how you get to ride in a rocket ship: Take a lot of math classes, learn how an airplane works, and find out which college has the best aeronautical engineering degree is the country. Join the Air Force or Navy ROTC.

The word “yet” confirms you can do anything in the world if you’ll turn what may be impossible to the “can’t guy” into what you can definitely achieve as a “can guy.” Then, no matter what, do not quit … not yet.

The number 24 has been my best friend forever because when bad stuff comes along, the very smartest thing in the world to do is wait 24 hours and then it will dawn on you – like magic – what is the wisest response to your newest problem. You may have to get advice from your Mom, the gym coach, a police officer or a priest.

Please, this doesn’t mean you wait 24 hours to stop the bleeding, put out the fire, or attend to the emergency part of anything. But the trick is to be still -- listen, pray and make lists of both the positive and negatives. In 24 hours you can “make sure you are right and then go ahead,” as Davey Crockett told us kids.

Sure, there will be times when how you respond simply doesn’t work. I've got the scars to prove it. But because you studied and pondered, it will become a lifelong habit and any failed effort is the best teaching lesson there is.

The reason I bring this up is because I accidentally happened on an essay that gave me the tingles during my morning readings. Joshua Rogers in a lawyer in Washington D.C. who wrote a wonderful piece that made it to some website that I happened across. He describes what can happen in a moment better than I have ever read and, trust me, I’ve waited for a lot of moments down through the years.

What a blessing this story is …

* * *

“In Just A Moment”

By Joshua Rogers

Ten years ago this month, I started the day by getting on my face before God and saying, “Lord, I’m getting down on the floor because if I get up, I’m afraid I’ll do something stupid.”

I had good reason to be concerned.

I was a single man who was making poor choices left and right. And although my closest friends were trying to help me get back on track, if they weren’t around, I started itching to make additional foolish decisions. The morning I prostrated myself on the floor before God was no exception and I felt helpless. I was my own worst enemy.

When I finally got up, I took out my journal and wrote a prayer. I told God that I knew I was living through one of the darkest hours of my life, and the scariest part was that I was starting to like the darkness. I ended the prayer by writing, “Jesus, if You ever loved me, please send help now.”

WHAT HELP LOOKED LIKE

My heart remained heavy that day, as it had been for weeks. I had always been such an optimistic person, but for the first and only time in my life, I wondered if I might be better off dead. I couldn’t trust myself. Plus, because of some of the choices I had made, I felt unworthy, unlovable, and undeserving of marriage, which I had hoped for since I was a child.

Despite my depression and an intense storm that ripped through the city, I decided to go to a hat-themed dance party at a friend’s house that night. While I appeared to be having a good time in my Panama Jack beach hat, I was aching with shame. But then, shortly after the party started, my whole life changed.

The front door opened, and an unusually attractive woman walked in. She had dark brown hair, dark skin, brown eyes; and she was wearing a red, velvet cowboy hat with white, fuzzy trim. I kept my eye on her, waiting for her to find her date. She didn't.

Instead, she moved to the edge of the dance floor and looked slightly uncomfortable standing by herself, so I came over and introduced myself. We struck up a conversation, during which I discovered that she was deeply committed to Jesus, which made me doubt she would even be interested in a damaged believer like me.

Even so, I took her number at the end of the night and wondered if anything would come of our conversation. Within a week, we went on our first date. Within six weeks, we were madly infatuated with each other. Within four months, we were engaged. Within nine months, we were married. Nine years later, we’re still happily married.

IN A MOMENT

Maybe you’re going through a dark time right now. Maybe it seems like all is lost. Maybe you’ve failed big time, and it feels like all the momentum in your life is headed in a negative direction.

It can turn around in a moment.

Maybe you feel disconnected from God. Maybe your most significant relationships lie in shambles. Maybe you’re sick and tired and hardly have the energy to pray.

It can turn around in a moment.

Maybe you’re tired of crying until your head hurts. Maybe you’re right on the verge of throwing it all away because your life seems meaningless.

I’m telling you …

It can turn around in a moment.

The Lord stands ready to answer the desperate prayer, “Jesus, if You ever loved me, please send help now.” You may be too disoriented to immediately recognize His answer in the pain, but His name is Comforter, Helper, Advocate, Friend, Counselor; and you can trust that He is responding. He is providing.

No matter how you feel right now, He is your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), and He is more than able to turn it all around for your good (Romans 8:28). Give Him a chance. Cry out to Him. You never know -- He may just turn things around … In a moment.

* * *

Joshua Rogers is an attorney and writer who lives in Washington, D.C. You can follow Joshua on Twitter @MrJoshuaRogers and Facebook, and read more of his writings at JoshuaRogers.com.

What a blessing.

royexum@aol.com


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