Recently, I read a stirring speech delivered by the late Mother Theresa at the 44th National Prayer Breakfast—a prestigious event that occurred while Bill Clinton served as President. In the course of her speech, delivered without pretense, the gracious nun from Calcutta spoke plainly and courageously about the evils of abortion and the devastation that dreadful lapse in morality continues to have on our already splintered culture. While she read from a carefully prepared manuscript, no one in the room moved a muscle. In fact, many of the well-dressed dignitaries smiled nervously, appearing cool and collected on their refined exteriors, but churning wildly within.
Like Paul, the frail figure of a woman spoke her words and exited the room as silently as she entered. As the ancient political officials had sat glaring at Paul, so the nobility of Washington sat silent, their consciences throbbing in their chests.
I’m convinced that many people, given the situations faced by some of the heroes we’ve mentioned, would rise to such heroic deeds. I believe you have the potential in you to stand against enemies of righteousness who defy the power of Almighty God, or to speak out boldly against blatant injustice and outright discrimination. I believe many who pick up this book would be willing to have been numbered among the brave rescue workers at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or even among those who died thwarting another air disaster on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.
The challenge comes in those private, unguarded moments when you face opposition to truth—in the halls of the university, in a company board room, at the school PTA meeting, in the athletic director’s office, or while seated on a plane. In those times, will you stand tall and speak the truth when a principle is at stake? Will you announce what you believe, graciously yet firmly?
You may never be summoned to stand before kings and queens or be invited to address the political elite or high-ranking military officers; but you will have your own opportunities to stand and deliver. As you determine in your heart to stand tall, God will lay those opportunities before you when you least expect it. You can count on it.
When He does, will you be ready?
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.